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I like writing "official thread". It makes me feel like I can now sue people wanting to use those words in combination a la Rugby World Cup or London Olympics! But no, we at SOBA don't really do evil too well. We do beer though, which brings me to:
After a lot of mucking about on my part (for which I humbly apologise) and the fact that most of you already know anyway, I'm officially announcing the SOBA NHC 2012. Head on over to the not-quite-done-yet-but-pretty-sexy website where you can log in using your SOBA login (if you're a member - that's the one you use at http://www.soba.org.nz/member/) or you can use facebook, twitter, or google+ to login. This competition is all cutting edge and social media, and other buzzwords!
One exciting thing about this year's competition is that we have no awards ceremony planned. They are always very regional, and Murphy's Law always dictates that they are as far away as possible from whoever took out Champion Brewer. Instead, we hope to offer value to our sponsors and remove stress from you, our competitors, by announcing the results live to the various social media platforms as they come in! Obviously the "big" winners will still have to wait until everything is tallied up, but medals will be announced as they are judged.
Another change (not yet on the website as we're still working on the points algorithm) is that points will be deducted from non-medal-winning beers. This won't matter to those not competing for the coveted Champion Brewer title, but to those who are, it will mean that entering twenty beers is only a good idea if you're sure they are nearly all of medal winning standard. We think this is a lot more fair to those who enter three beers, and all get gold, versus someone who enters ten beer, gets three silvers, two bronzes, and five drain-pours! ;) Good brewers, nay CHAMPION brewers are consistent brewers, and we want to reward that consistency this year.
A last point is that we've raised the entry fee. I know, I can hear the groaning! To get the top judges we need, we have to be prepared to get them to the competition. Flights ain't cheap, but we thought you'd all prefer judges who really know their beer, and we need to fund that. The good news is that if you are a SOBA member, even if you only join to enter this competition, you'll get a good chunky discount on your entry fee.
Right, that's all from me for now. Remember, you can enter your beers as soon as you like on the website, but official entries open October 13th. We can't accept delivery of beer prior to that date, so if any turns up before then, we'll just drink it! So, feel free to enter now, but don't send any bottles until the 13th!
SOBA NHC 2012
This certainly was awesomely run this year especially with live updating so big well done to all involved.
Tell you what would be really interesting is a synopsis of the specialty beer category as it appeared to be the most popular and yet most mysterious at the same time.....
I'd really love to do that, but the category was so large that it was split amongst all four tables, and with all the sheets having been sent back now, I can't use those to gain an impression.
I can tell you that on our table, we saw a lot of beers which could perhaps best be summed up with the phrase "just because you CAN do something, that doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD". That is, beers with weird things added seemingly "just to be different". They didn't really bring anything to the base beer, and in many cases, detracted seriously from it.
Due to the individual nature of category 23, I won't cite examples, as they'd most likely identify the brewers.
The other, and more pleasing, trend was a lot of extremely well brewed beers in cat. 23. I thought at the time that perhaps new brewers are drawn towards the APA/IPA and English styles, and thus they are often of very poor quality overall, and experienced brewers are trying new and different things in 23, hence the much higher quality.
That's about all I can think of other than to suggest those entering specialty beers think hard about why they are adding adjuncts, and whether they honestly think it will improve the beer.
Just wanted to pass on my thanks to all the folks who helped run the NHC a this year. While I fell short of achieving a medal, I was pleasantly surpirised at level of feedback provided on the judging sheets, which I hope will hep me produce better beers in the future.
Glad we could help. :)