Annie Johnson wins Homebrewer of the Year

Annie Johnson of Sacramento, Calif., won Homebrewer of the Year when results of the American Homebrewers Association National Homebrew Competition were announced Saturday in Philadelphia.

A record 3,400 attended the 35th National Homebrewers Conference, 75 percent more than last year.

Johnson won with a beer she called her Lite American Lager.

Tavish Sullivan won the Cidermaker of the Year award with his Common Cider, and Mark Tanner won the Meadmaker of the Year award with his Strawberry, Rhubarb and Blackberry Mead. Local homebrewer David Barber won the Ninkasi Award as the winningist brewer in the competition. He won gold medals in the Strong Ale and German Wheat and Rye Beer categories; his homebrew club, Lehigh Valley Homebrewers also won the Gambrinus Club Award.

“Homebrewing is growing fast and attracting a more diverse following,” said AHA director Gary Glass. “I’m pleased see a woman win the Homebrewer of the Year Award, and it’s impressive that she did so in a lager category. Lagers are difficult to brew well, which shows how homebrewers are more technically proficient than ever before.”

The National Homebrew Competition recognizes the most outstanding homemade beer, mead and cider produced by homebrewers. This year, there were 7,756 entries from 2,187 homebrewers located in 49 states and the District of Columbia, U.S. Military APO, Puerto Rico, three Canadian Provinces and Belgium, entered in the first round of the competition.

First round took place at 11 regional sites in the United States. Judges evaluated 894 entries were in the second round. For the first competition, Boulder, Colo., in 1979, there were 34 entries.

Tickets for the 2013 National Homebrewers Conference went on sale Feb. 5 and sold out within 20 hours. Next year’s event will be June 12-14 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Complete NHC results.


Samuel Adams Brewlywed Ale: One day, one place

Samuel Adams Brewlyed Ale will return Wednesday, for one day only and exclusively at its Boston’s Beer Company’s Jamaica Plain brewery.

The brewery will release only 300 cases of the beer, a Belgian-influenced “bride ale.” Last year, three three beer-loving couples tied knot during the festivities, with founder Jim Koch serving as Best Man. Koch and the wedding experts from will be on hand again this year, along with a justice of the peace, food, music and another chance for couples to exchange vows at Samuel Adam’s brewery hop garden.

The day at the brewery will include live music, beer pairing suggestions for wedding menus, local wedding vendors, on-site giveaways of Samuel Adams merchandise, and a toast from Koch. The first 50 people to line up at the brewery will also have a chance to purchase a signed bottle of Brewlywed Ale from Koch. The first who arrive in bridal attire will be allowed to go to the front of the line.


Homebrewers honor Pliny the Elder, Stone

American Homebrewers Association members have voted Russian River Brewing Company’s Pliny the Elder the “Best Commercial Beer in America” for the fifth year running. The poll is conducted annually by Zymurgy magazine.

This is the 11th year that AHA members voted for up to 20 of their favorite beers in an online poll. Members were able to choose any commercial beer available for purchase in the United States.

The top-ranked beers include:
1. Russian River Pliny the Elder
2. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
4. Bell’s Hopslam Ale
5. Ballast Point Sculpin IPA
6. Founders Breakfast Stout
7. Arrogant Bastard Ale
8. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
T9. Lagunitas Sucks
T9. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
T9. Stone Brewing Co. Ruination IPA

More than 1,100 breweries were represented in this year’s poll, and the top-ranked brewery is Stone Brewing Co., with five beers in the top 50. Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, Calif.) took second with five beers as well, followed by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., in third with four beers making the list.

Additionally, the Best Portfolio of Beers was awarded to the Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), which had 40 beers receive votes in the poll. The top contenders in the category include:
1. The Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
2. Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3. Avery Brewing Co.
4. Cigar City Brewing
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

The complete list of Zymurgy’s “Best Beers in America.”


Homebrew supply sales reflect growing hobby

The latest survey of homebrew suppply shops by the American Homebrewers Association confirms that interest in homebrewing continues to grow.

The AHA survey, its fourth, found that on average stores that responded to the survey enjoyed 26% higher revenue in 2012 compred to 2011.

“As homebrewing continues to grow, retail shops are responding accordingly, satisfying the needs of their increasing customer base,” AHA director Gary Glass said. “Homebrew supply shops serve as the heart of local homebrewing communities. The success of a local shop will ensure a thriving community of homebrewers.”

The survey also found that 80% of shops sold a larger quantity of beginner kits, another indication the hobby is expanding. The largest segment of people buying the beginner kits were individuals 30 to 39 years old.

The complete report.


Rare Beer Tasting V tickets on sale June 16

Tickets go on sale Sunday — Father’s Day (hint, hint) — for the fifth edition of the Pints for Prostrates Rare Beer Tasting. Once again, the event occurs at the same time as the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. More than 30 breweries from across the country will serve beer at the tasting, held from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 11.

Tickets are $100. Beyond the wide selection of rare beers, often poured by the brewers who made them, each attendee receives a commemorative tasting glass, t-shirt, program and pen, and a three issue trial subscription to All About Beer Magazine. A buffet lunch is included in the ticket price and guests will have the chance to bid in a silent auction that includes a variety of unique beer experiences and collectibles.

The first four Denver Rare Beer Tastings each sold out several weeks in advance.

“Our goal is to bring together America’s best craft breweries in a relaxed format where brewers and beer lovers get the chance to talk and taste a unique collection of beers,” said AABM publisher Daniel Bradford, whose magazine presents the event.

Pints for Prostates is a non-profit charity founded by beer writer and prostate cancer survivor Rick Lyke. All net proceeds from Denver Rare Beer Tasting go towards the awareness mission of Pints for Prostates and help to fund the education and support programs of the Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, and free prostates cancer screening programs provided by the Prostate Conditions Education Council.

The link to purchase tickets will be posted at the All About Beer and Pints for Prostrates web sites at the start of sales. and prior to the start of sales.


Siebel announces new Director of Education

The Siebel Institute of Technology has announced the appointment of John Hannafan as Director of Education.

Hannafan, who has assisted more than 20 start-up and established brewing facilities, is a graduate of the World Brewing Academy (WBA), a partnership between Siebel Institute of Technology and Doemens Akademie. Shortly after graduation from the WBA program, he took on the role as a brewing supervisor at City Brewing in La Crosse, Wis.

He has taught as an adjunct professor at Siebel Institute of Technology and has been a judge for professional competitions such as the World Beer Awards. He also has served as a Cicerone Certification Master Program section test grader. A member of Master Brewers Association of the Americas and Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), England, Hannafan is also frequently asked to participate in brewing industry panels.