Monday, September 28, 2009

Local Boys Shine at GABF!

I have to jump around in my coverage of the Great American Beer Festival to give you the exciting news from the awards ceremony:

First, Rio Rancho homebrewer Ben Miller has won the Samuel Adams Longshot competition with his Mile High Barleywine. Longshot pits amateur brewers across the country (over 1,000 this year)against each other in a quest to find the most talented, of which we just happen to have one of the best right here in New Mexico. For his accomplishment, Ben gets his Barleywine bottled and included in the 2010 Longshot Mixed Pack, which is available nationwide. Or should be. We were skipped over in the 2009 distribution, but we damn sure should get it in Albuquerque this time!

As great a start Ben had on the day, by the end of it all other homebrewers may have either bowed before him, or just quit entering competitions against him. This is because the GABF judges deemed Ben and Chama River brewer Jeff Erway's Herbal Joe's Columbarillo IPA the GOLD Medal winner out of the 72 entries in the Pro-Am Category! So two huge awards for Ben before 1:30 pm. All I had done by that time was spend $3.75 on a soft pretzel.

Jeff Erway wasn't finished for the day, either. Chama's Sleeping dog Stout won a BRONZE in the Oatmeal Stout category. This beer has deservedly won multiple awards over the years, including the Abqbeergeek Blackout Stout Challenge. While the prestige gained from winning our website's challenge is high on most brewers' lists, I imagine Jeff was quite proud of this achievement as well. Notice his brother Kevin(pictured in the background) holding a Gatorade bottle. I was going to make fun of him here for drinking something other than beer at a festival with the most beers in the world under one roof. I was, until I remember that I was clutching Starbucks coffee for the majority of the awards ceremony. Hey, I'll admit that the GABF separates the big and little dogs when it comes to prolonged beer drinking, but I had to cover the event with a semblance of sobriety.

Our parade of champions from New Mexico concluded with Il Vicino taking a SILVER medal in the Aged Beer category for their St. Bob's Imperial Stout. I took a picture of the projection screen at the ceremony because there was nobody from Il Vicino there to accept the award. From what I understand, Il Vicino ownership decided to let the volunteers at the GABF do all the serving without a brewery rep on hand. Though it is normal for volunteers to staff the booths and do much of the pouring, it is nice to have the opportunity to talk to the people who actually brewed the beer you are trying. It is also nice for the brewers to go to Denver, show off their wares, and hit the events going on in town. Maybe the Il Vicino guys earned a trip to next year's event with their medal here.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for not being there but my daughters birthday was the same time. Brady

ABQbeergeek said...

Well of course YOU get a pass, Brady. My contention was more with Il Vicino's decision to not send ANYBODY from Albuquerque to represent.

Although, you could have brought Elsa and had her do the pouring. She's got a beer named after her and everything...