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Apr 19, 2014

Challenge Cup

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American Beer Month Challenge Cup 2002
The smallest competitor

The regulars at the Kaffeeklatsch Bar in Hunstville, Ala., talked owner Carole Record into competing for the Cup despite the fact that it serves only one beer on tap.

Kaffeeklatsch tap"Jerry Hand said, 'Carole, this could be a amusing,'" Record said. Record put in a draft line about 10 years ago, and Hand services it for Turner Beveral Co., an independent wholesaler who handles both domestics beers and imports.

Hand is one of several American Homebrewers Association members who frequent the "The 'Klatsch." He describes the regulars as a "rather plesant collection of as an unlikely group as one will find in a public place. Huntsville has more engineers and tech people than Nashville has musicans. Almost everyone is from somewhere else (Carol excepted). Almost everyone exhibits a casulal demeanor so condusive to the fine air publicans are known for. And even under Alabamas' Draconian Laws (homebrewing is not legal) it is easy to find a comfortable smile on anyones face at the mention of good beer."

The 'Klatsch is the nightime extension of The Kaffeeklatsch, a coffee house that been serving Huntsville for 26 years. Record opened the bar 18 years ago. "It started as jazz and wine and we somehow switched to blues and beer," she said. "We had wine and cheese boards -- that lasted about a month."

The 'Kltasch
Auggie Brewer's Bluegrass Band celebrates American Beer Month at the 'Klatsch.
The club has about 30 chairs and regularly features a variety of nationally known roots musicians. The beer selection includes both domestic beers and imports, and the imports are a major draw. Record put in a tap line 10 years ago -- before then draft beer was illegal in the county -- and served Killian's for five years before switching to Amber Bock.

The 'Klatsch sold almost a keg of beer during the three-day competition, and Hand filed this report: "Well, 'The Cup' is over, and as a nation anxiously waits for the final figures to be totaled, The Kaffeeklatsch Bar stands alone in the light as State Champions. Wiping the slate with a WHOPPING 1700 ounces (keep in mind, these are Very Large Ounces) in a mere three days, The 'Klatsch, overcoming froth and foam sailed to statewide championship. As the cheers fade, the reverie calms, and last call signals 'it's over', a tired but patriotic crowd sheds the competitive cloak seeking solace, not in glory, but in rest. Until next year....the sleeping giant waits."

Many of those who had a beer (or three) during the three-day competition, left comments when they signed on with their Challenge Cup password:

Joe Handschumacher: "Kaffeeklatsch is a neat bar, not real big but a great place to drink a cool one. American Beer Month -- an idea whose time has come."

Johnny Wyker: "The Kaffeeklatsch Bar is an Alabama orginal and supports all types of original music! WE LOVE IT and Carol The Owner!"

Kent Stanley: "The Amber Bock was great tasting and the atmosphere of the Klatsch was fun."

Peggy Pierce: "Love the Klatsch! Great music always. And the best people."

Jennie Mitchell: "The Klatsch: It's my second living room! Glad there's a month to celebrate beer!"

Joe Fittipaldi: "It's a bar in Huntsville, Alabama. It only gets but so good. But beer, oh beer, thank God for beer...through it, all things are bearable."

Bryson E. Breslin: "The Kaffee Klatsch is my favorite pub even though I live many miles away. It is a rare and wonderful place. Every month should be beer month!"

Jane: "We may not be the biggest bar drinking our way through the competition. But, I bet we're having more fun doing it than all the others!"

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2002 Highlights

Great Lost Beer trophy

Robb Tod of Allagash Brewing accepts the 2002 Challenge Cup trophy on behalf of the Great Lost Beer in his home state of Maine. The trophy was presented at the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, Colo., during the Great American Beer festival.

Most interactive
Boscos brewpubs in Memphis and Nashville. Read their intrastate comments.

Champion multi-tap bar
Great Lost Bear in Portland, Maine. Members of the Maine brewing community were in the pub every night.

Champion chain brewery-restaurant
Rock Bottom Restaurant-Brewery in Arlington, Va.

BJ's Challenges
Within BJ's family of restaurants and breweries, establishments competed with each other. BJ's in Chandler, Ariz., which won the big establishment cup and to Portland/Lloyd Center (on Weidler), the small establishment champion.

Smallest participant
Kaffeeklatsch Bar in Huntsville, Ala. Only one tap, but lots of fun.