Brew Biz: Werts and All

A BJCP/AHA homebrew competition, here? Why: yes!!! And: why not?

The Topic: Small Competitions and the Best of Mississippi


Written by Ken Carman for

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

History was made.

Yes, there have been competitions, but the first officially sanctioned: BJCP and AHA competition in Mississippi was held November 19th, 2011 in Brandon, Mississippi: a suburb of Jackson. A competition in a state where homebrewing is still illegal. In fact I think Ole Miss. is one of the last states, if not the last.


Usually I just do a more news reporter-like  competition story for The Professor when I cover my judging adventures, and save Brew Biz for reviews of brew businesses, interviews with important brewers  and other facets of the biz. But I feel this column covers two important topics in beer world.

1. That history was made: Mississippi has taken another important step in not just legitimizing homebrew with their first sanctioned competition, but blazing a path that hopefully will be taken many, many more times.

2. Most sanctioned competitions I have judged at are blow out affairs with hundreds to close to a thousand entries, over 6,000 bottles at one. (3 bottles were required.) This was a very small competition with just two categories and a small stipend was offered to judges who traveled to the competition… and as those of who judge often know: judges frequently travel many miles at their own expense. But I would never decide against judging at a competition because it is small. In fact I find small competitions are like small towns and small churches: more intimate, more focused on the reasons why people gather together. Less on the pub crawl, less on competing with other big towns, or the huge coffee hour after the church service.

Big, more often than not, is not better: it’s worse.

That doesn’t mean I’ll stop judging at competitions like Bluebonnet where they had close to 6,000 bottles. It does mean, as a boy who lived near New York City when I was real young, but also a boy who loved it when he moved and started going to a K-12 school with only 500 students, I think I instinctively knew that small competitions like this would have as much, or more, to offer than brew-extravaganzas.

Not unlike the difference between being just one bottle of Bud amongst many on a mega-brewer’s bottling line or all the bottles in one special one off batch. A judge in a small competition might feel like one very special brew amongst a very small number of one off batches for an up and coming nano-brewery.

A lot more care and consideration is give when you’re not one of many.

But the object of my reverie awaits. Let’s move on to the main event: the first sanctioned homebrew competition held near Jackson, Mississippi: Brandon, actually.

Brad Lovejoy, "Welcome to our home!"

Competition Organizer Brad Lovejoy: yeah, that’s him, was a gracious host and a grand organizer. We spent a lot of time on the web planning; E-mailing back and forth, about how judging was to be handled in this small, two category, competition. We had 4 judges: split into two teams of two for American Pale: category 10: then a mini Best of Show (BOS), and three judges for Stouts: 13. They had breakfast both days and we stayed up stairs for the night. Wow! I’m not used to this much attention since I’m usually one judge amongst many.

See what I mean about big is not always better?

J.L. Thompson: yes, that’s his full name, folks, both judged and talked to the judges, and the stewards, before we started. He did a great job and had asked me to chime in with any advice. Except for a few minor things I didn’t have to say anything. I thought from the start J.L. had it handled, and handle it well he did.


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Micro-Brewery planned for Lexington’s (KY) Northside

What do you do with a building near downtown in disrepair? Here’s one brew related idea- The Professor

Written by Jeff Beach for

L-R: West Sixth Brewing Co. partners Joe Kuosman, Robin Sither, Ben Self and Brady Barlow
Lexington, Ky. – Four partners are turning a former bread factory on Lexington’s north side into a craft brewery, with the goal of surrounding it with other community-minded organizations and businesses.

The West Sixth Brewing Co. has purchased what will be The Bread Box, the mixed-used development in the former Rainbo Bread factory at the corner of Sixth Street and Jefferson Street.

The craft brewery will anchor the 90,000 square-foot development, which has three tenants already lined up:

â—¦ Cricket Press, which designs and prints posters and other products. Much of its work is for music events and arts shows.

â—¦ Food Chain, a new non-profit focusing on urban farming. It will grow greens and tilapia fish in The Bread Box as part of a “vertical farm.”

â—¦ The Broke Spoke Community Bike Shop, a non-profit bike repair organization. It will be able to take advantage of the Legacy Trail, which when extended, will run across the back of The Bread Box property. Broke Spoke will use 2,500 square feet of the building.

The brewing company will begin producing beer in the spring. While they are still in product development, founding partner Ben Self said there will be “more than a handful” of high-quality hand-crafted beer varieties from the brewery which also will have a tasting room.
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Beer Buzz: Yeast Key to Good Beer Making

The Professor held off on the other 3 columns: for any homebrewer knows without yeast there is no beer. Plus yeast could be argued to be THE most important, and the most underrated ingredient. Try a Belgian Abbey Ale vs. an American Pale, for example. Hops can vary in both, and malts. But if you switch the yeasts you may have switched the styles.-The Professor

Written by Andy Ingram for and The Republic

Yeast fermenting wort
There are four basic ingredients in beer. In previous installments of the Beer Buzz I’ve covered three: malt, hops and water.

I’ve held off on the fourth ingredient, yeast, because of the sheer scope of the topic. The amount of information on the science of fermentation is vast and, honestly, it would probably bore anyone with even a passing interest in microbiology.

So let’s take a simpler look at what yeast is and what it does for beer and brewers.

For centuries, before the invention of the microscope, yeast was a largely unknown ingredient in beer. What was known was that during each fermentation a light-colored, creamy substance was produced and was taken from the tops of fermenting beer and added to the next batch.

Some stories go that the substance, which caused the beer to ferment, was simply referred to as, “God is good.”
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Craft Beer is Still Growing Its Markets

Written by Tom Becham for Professor Goodales

Those of us who live in or near large urban centers are used to being able to purchase a fairly wide variety of craft beer.

Sure, regional or international choices can be subject to some limitations, depending upon your locale. But when you can find things like corked 750 milliliter bottles of Chimay in your local supermarket, you know that craft beer has “arrived.”

This point was greatly evident in a recent trip I made to see family in Arkansas.
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Beer Or Sugar Water? For Flies, The Choice Is Pale Ale

Written by Joe Palca for

Flies are attracted to glycerol, a chemical in beer produced during fermentation. Understanding more about the genes responsible for taste and smell in flies could help make powerful insect repellents.
Scientists in California think they’ve figure out why flies like beer. That may sound a bit trivial, but in fact it could lead to new ways of combating plant and animal pests.

That flies like beer is well known. “The attraction of flies to beer was first reported in the early 1920s,” says Anupama Dahanukar. She’s part of an inter-disciplinary program involving neuroscience and entomology at the University of California, Riverside. She’s been studying how flies recognize chemicals, so answering the question of why flies like beer is actually quite relevant to her research.

It’s not a simple question. Scientists are only just beginning to understand the basics of smell and taste in humans, so research on flies has been extremely helpful with that.

Since flies are well known to like sugar, it could just be that flies like beer because they can detect some residual sugar in beer. But Dahanukar suspected that might not be the case. So she planned an experiment. She would give the flies a choice between beer and sugar water, and see which they preferred.
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History of Homebrewing

A light hearted look at homebrewing for Thanksgiving- The Professor

From the AHA: no author mentioned

The Dawn of Beer & Civilization

In the beginning, there was beer. It was good. Well, maybe not that good, and maybe not quite at the beginning, but there are some who argue that agriculture and civilization came about because people wanted beer. In any case, people were brewing beer in small batches 12,000 years ago, at about the same time and geographic locations where people started to transition from nomadic lifestyles to agriculture.

Ancient Sumer Brew

Beer was so important to the ancient Sumerians that they actually had a goddess of beer named Ninkasi—yep, that’s right, a goddess, in Sumerian society, women were the primary brewers.

Beer in the New World

Fast forward to the year 1587 in colonial Virginia; Europeans produced the first homebrew made from corn in what would become the United States.

Thirsty Pilgrims

In 1620, pilgrims from England landed at Plymouth Rock, well north of their intended destination. Who could blame them? They were out of beer, so they had to get off the boat and brew. In fact, beer was deemed so important that one of the first buildings constructed at Plymouth was a brewery. Remember that when preparing your next Thanksgiving dinner.

The Wisdom of the Colonists

During North America’s colonial period, homebrewing was a common household task. Back then, people had a distinct distrust of water, but thankfully water could be transformed into beer, which not only tasted better, but, unlike water, beer was not hospitable to pathogens. Oh, and in colonial America, as with the ancient Sumerians, women did most of the brewing.

We Hold this Homebrew to be Self-Evident

Did you know many of the United States’ founders were homebrewers? George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were both homebrewers (although, in the case of Jefferson, his wife Martha did more brewing than he did).

When Homebrewing Is Outlawed, Homebrewers Will Be Outlaws

When the United States enacted Prohibition in 1919, making beer and wine at home became an illegal activity. Despite their new status as outlaws, few homebrewers took to wearing cowboy hats and six-shooters.

Celebrating the 21st Amendment with an Outlaw Brew

In 1933, Prohibition came to an end with the passage of the 21st Amendment. However, a clerical error resulted in the absence of the two very important words “and beer” from the statute that legalized home winemaking. Homebrewers would have to wait several more decades to shed their outlaw status.
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The Beer Nut: Hooked on Courage After a Single Sip

Written by Norman Miller for

Inspiration for the weekly Beer Nut column can come from many places.

It can be a new brewery that made its debut in Massachusetts, or it can be something I read about a particular brewery, or it can even be something that I pulled from my head.

Or, it can be a single sip of a fabulous beer that blew my mind. That is the case this week. I recently took a sip of Courage Imperial Russian Stout and immediately said I have to write about this beer.

The Courage Imperial Russian Stout is a legendary beer in England, but it had not been brewed since 1982, until this year.

The Wells & Young Brewing Company, the largest brewery in England, purchased the Courage line of beers in 2007 from Scottish & Newcastle (brewers of Newcastle Brown Ale).

Wells’ head brewer, Jim Robertson, who used to brew Courage, brewed the new version, which debuted in the United States Sept. 30.

In 1982, I was 8 years old, so I have no way to compare the 2011 version of Courage Imperial Russian Stout to the original version. But what I can tell you is it is one of the best stouts I have ever tasted.

The beer itself is dark as night, with a strong espresso-like taste. There are also hints of chocolate and smokiness. It also has a lot of fruity flavors such as berries and pears.

At 10 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), it is a big beer, but it has no alcohol burn at all. It is one of the best imperial stouts being brewed today and worth seeking out.

The only negative is the cost. An 8-ounce bottle will cost you nearly $8. I typically do not recommend a beer that costs $1 an ounce, but I will make an exception for this beer. It is too good to miss.

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Beers of France

Note: this article doesn’t mention many worthy French beers, but does mention some Americans hardly, if ever, see across the big pond.- The Professor

Posted at No author credited.

We are know that the French have very discerning palates. For decades we have enjoyed the marvelous cuisine that has come from this wonderful land. We have enjoyed the fine wines that for centuries the French have produced. In more recent times French beer too has made its mark on the world and I for one really do enjoy a glass of very cold beer on a very hot afternoon. I am very fond of a drink they call ‘panache’ which is beer or lager mixed with fizzy lemonade, it is not only a really nice drink but extremely refreshing too.
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More L.A. Craft Beer News: Enegren Brewing Company

Picture by Steven Armstrong. Joe Nascenzi and Matt Enegren at Enegren Brewing Co

Written by Steven Armstrong for

As often happens in life, collegiate eccentricities lead to post-baccalaureate vocations. For one Harvard dropout, late-night computer programming led to multi-billion dollar “facebooking.” And for three Loyola Marymount graduates, a low-tech stovetop experiment grew into a high-tech commercial brewing operation. But while Chris Enegren, Matt Enegren, and Joe Nascenzi — the three guys behind Enegren Brewing Company — may not be printing money like Mark Zuckerberg, they are producing some high quality beer. And enjoying their product doesn’t require a breach of your personal privacy, either. All it takes is a few bucks, a fifty-minute drive up to Moorpark, or a jaunt down to Library Alehouse on September 14.

It all began about eight years ago when Chris Enegren, then a sophomore studying mechanical engineering at Loyola Marymount, bought a Mr. Beer homebrewing kit and brewed his first batch of beer on a dorm room stovetop. The next year, Chris moved into a house on Fordham Street, and immediately graduated to a ten-gallon all-grain brewing system he’d built from the remains of a college keg party.
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