Brew Like Big Papi

Boston Beer gives home brewers a shot at glory.

homebrewAsk almost any craft brewer how they got into the game and they’ll recount years of home brewing, akin to great chefs having mastered techniques at home before taking on the world. It’s challenging, educational, and often delicious. What if you had a chance to take a precious recipe to the big leagues and knock it out of the park, Big Papi-style?

That’s exactly the idea behind Samuel Adams annual LongShot American Homebrew competition, the winners of which are announced at GABF. More than 1,000 entries were submitted and winnowed down by pros before a small panel of judges (including Weekly Pint’s Editorial Director Christian DeBenedetti) was honored to be invited to Boston to judge this year’s finalists in person alongside Boston Beer founder Jim Koch. Two winners make into an actual six-pack to be released nationally in early spring 2014, plus one recipe from an employee of the brewery, which has over 750 employees, many of whom are active home brewers.

How ‘bout them odds? The delicious, unusual winners were Tamarac, Florida resident Russ Brunner’s American Stout, Evanston, Illinois resident Cesar Marron’s Gratzer, and Samuel Adams employee Teresa Bury’s Pineapple IPA.

What’s your favorite style to brew at home? Tell us below.

And read on for some background on the judges and tasting notes on the beer provided by Boston Beer.

(RELEASE) A panel of industry judges including Bob Townsend of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Tony Forder of Ale Street News, John Holl of All About Beer Magazine, Norman Miller “The Beer Nut” from, and beer writers Christian DeBenedetti, and Marty Nachel, joined Jim Koch in selecting the consumer winners. Together, they selected the winning brews based on the American Homebrewers Association Beer Judge Certificate Program guidelines. Each beer was carefully evaluated on the aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel according to the style category under which it was submitted.

Russ Brunner’s American Stout is a big, malty Stout with notes of chocolate and coffee that carry through to a velvety finish with notes of roasted cocoa. The richness is balanced by hints of citrus and pine from the American hops that add a subtle bitterness to this deep and satisfying brew. Russ has been brewing for three years, but this was the first recipe Russ created from scratch.

Cesar Marron’s Gratzer is a light, Polish smoked wheat beer that packs a punch of smoky sweet flavor from the heirloom, smoked malt used and spicy and herbal notes from Saaz hops. This beer draws its inspiration from Cesar’s fond interest in the unusual, yet traditional, Polish smoked style.

Teresa Bury’s Pineapple IPA is brewed with four different American hops and showcases grapefruit character mellowed and complemented by the tropical fruit notes from the pineapple. Theresa made it a personal challenge to create a beer with a strong hop flavor that was balanced with her favorite fruit, pineapple.

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