On Sunday, April 13, Steph and I attended the Homebrewfest and Competition at The Brewery at Hershey in Middletown, PA. Entry was $20 with all proceeds benefiting the Mac’s Mixed Nuts Relay for Life team. Oh, and it was Steph’s birthday…Happy Birthday Steph!
The event was held in the deck area behind the brewery, overlooking vineyards, fields and farmland under a wide open sky. It was a gorgeous spring day as we perused and sampled several delicious homebrews from all over the area. Live music from JT and The Mild Heat filled the air and eats were available from a Mad Sandwiches food truck.
The first brew we sampled was a Farmhouse IPA by Grant Gaughen, who goes by Skirmish Ales. His notes declared it “DANK! & Citrusy”, and it was. And delicious. (You’ll be seeing his name again in a bit.)
Steph’s favorite quaff of the day was (unsurprisingly) Hoppin’ Jalapeno, an ale made with Columbus and Cascade hops and jalapeno peppers. This brew by Paul who brews as Half Blind Brewing Company was excellently crafted, though I preferred the cocoa brown ale he also had on tap.
We also met up with our next podcast guest, Chris Harvey of the newly-minted Sons of Alchemy homebrew club. With his tap system built into a large, wheeled Rubbermaid-esque bin, complete with a wooden vent-cover drip-drain, he was serving his Pineapple Fire Express IPA with habeneros and Lady of the Lake Heffeweizen. Both solid brews, though he admitted the IPA wasn’t as spicy as he had hoped. The Heffeweizen was fantastic.
Some of the other guys from the Sons of Alchemy were slinging an IPA run through a Randall packed with Simcoe hops…wow. It was awesome. You had me at Simcoe.
Other stand-out beers included Holy Peanut Butter by Ken Wrightstone from ReHAB homebrew club. (Another name that will come up again.) They also had a chocolate stout and a cherry stout, as well as “suicide”, which was a combo of all three and was mighty tasty.
The only sour at the party was a Sour Mango Berliner by Chris Gray which was super tart and super yummy.
I was surprised to find a clean, crisp Table Ale by Non-Existent Brewing (clever) that sat at a super-low, uber-sessionable 2.6% ABV.
Beers from the brewery were also on tap and glassware was available for purchase.
Upon entering we received, along with our tasting glasses, three green raffle tickets to vote for our favorite beers. Each brewer’s table had white paper bags for each beer they were tapping where attendees could drop their tickets.
There were three People’s Choice Award winners declared based on the number of tickets they collected, and three Judges’ Choice Award winners chosen by a panel of judges including Ryan DeLutis, head brewer at The Brewery at Hershey. And the winners were…
People’s Choice Award
- 3rd Place – Doser Drool Stout
by Matt Ludwig
- 2nd Place – Blueberry Honey Wheat
by Greg Hecksher
- 1st Place – Holy Peanut Butter
by Ken Wrightstone
Judges’ Choice Award
- 3rd Place – Oatmeal Stout
by Vince Arters
- 2nd Place – Holy Peanut Butter
by Ken Wrightstone
- 1st Place – Farmhouse IPA
by Grant Gaughen
Prizes for winners in both categories were the same. Third place got gift cards to local homebrew shops, second place scored tickets to the Merlot and Flash Gourd’n (an awesome pumpkin beer we’ve tried on the show) Release Party and first place walked away with couple’s season passes to Decked Out Live (the brewery’s live music event series) and the privilege to spend a brew day with Ryan at the brewery.
The event was a blast. The weather couldn’t have been better, $3200 was raised to fight cancer and it’s always awesome for homebrewers to have a chance to sling their suds for a thirsty crowd. I hope they host another event like this in the future. Next time, I’ll make sure Steph enters one of her homebrews…