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Falconer brewing scholarship applications are open

Applications are now being accepted for Falconer Foundation Brewing Scholarships.

In co-sponsorship with the Seibel Institute of Technology, the foundation offers two full-tuition brewing education scholarships in 2008.
One scholarship is for the World Brewing Academy Concise Course in Brewing Technology held at the Siebel Institute in Chicago in October/November 2008. The Concise Course in Brewing Technology is a two-week intensive program that covers every topic critical to successful brewery operations. The program is designed for brewers pursuing a wider knowledge of professional brewing standards and techniques in order to advance their brewing careers as well as individuals planning to enter the brewing industry.

The second scholarship allows candidates to apply for one of three two-week modules from the International Diploma in Brewing Technology Program held at Siebel’s Chicago campus in September/October 2008. This specialty brewing scholarship is intended for those brewers who seek an in-depth understanding of a specific brewing discipline. Candidates must designate which module they wish to attend.

Applicants must be from the Pacific Northwest (including Alaska and Hawaii) and Northern California regions (San Francisco Bay/Monterey Bay areas and north). Each scholarship includes a $750 stipend to help offset travel and lodging expenses.

For more details and information on how to apply, visit the Siebel Institute website.

The Glen Hay Falconer Foundation was formed to celebrate the life of Glen Falconer, an innovative and creative local brewer well known throughout the brewing industry. Falconer died in a tragic accident in 2002.

The Foundation’s cornerstone event is the annual Sasquatch Brew Fest.

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National Organic Homebrew Challenge

Seven Bridges Cooperative, a certified organic homebrew supplier, is hosting the worlds first all organic homebrew competition which is open to home brewers of beer throughout the United States.

This is the first time a contest has been held for beer brewed at home using only organically grown ingredients, GMO free yeast (most yeast packaged for homebrewers, including White Labs and Wyeast brands, is GMO free), and no chemical or artificial additives. By accepting only organically brewed beer entries, the contest represents the first opportunity organic homebrewers have had to compete fairly against other organic brewers in an AHA/BJCP sanctioned competition.

National Organic Homebrew Challenge winners will get a chance to brew in at commercial breweries that produce organic beer. One winner from the western side of the country will be selected to brew their winning recipe at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery in Santa Cruz, Calif. One winner from the Eastern side of the country will brew their winning recipe at Otter Creek Brewery in Vermont, home of the Wolavers brand organic beer which is distributed nationally.

The winning recipes will be selected from the top scoring entries that also meet the requirements of the breweries which have limitations on what styles can be brewed on the brewery equipment and a limited range of organic ingredients that qualify as USDA certified organic. Other prizes will also be awarded, including organic ingredients, T-shirts, brewery merchandise, and pint glasses.

The contest rules will differ slightly from other homebrew contests because all of the ingredients will have to be verified organic. Just as professional brewers of certified organic beer have to show documentation that all ingredients are USDA certified, the entries will have to include a complete recipe listing the source of each ingredient.

Entry details.

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Zymurgy readers vote for Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Readers of Zymurgy, the journal of the American Homebrewers Association, have chosen Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA as the “Best Commercial Beer in America.”

90 Minute was a three-time champion of Real Beer’s Battle of the Beers.

Zymurgy has been conducting the annual survey for five years, inviting readers to send in a list of their twenty favorite commercially available beers in the U.S. More than 1,100 votes for 618 beers from 293 brewers around the world were received.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stone Arrogant Bastard both tied for second.

All the results.

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Saint Paul Homebrewers win Club of the Year

Richard Skains of Rocky River, Ohio, won Best of Show and National Homebrewer of the Year in the National Homebrew Competition judged in Denver, Colo. Jamil Zainasheff of Elk Grove, Calif., won the Ninkasi Award as the winningest brewer in the second round of judging.

Awards were presented Saturday at the National Homebrewers Conference Grand Banquet.

The National Homebrew Competition is the largest beer competition in the world, this year attracting a record breaking 5,052 entries from 1,172 homebrewers. Last year the number of entries was 4,548 from 1,067 homebrewers.

Judging for the competition begins at 10 regional sites, with up to three beers, meads or ciders in each category advancing to the second round.

The other major award winners:
Meadmaker of the Year – Steve Fletty, Falcon Heights, Minn.
Cidermaker of the Year – Joseph Franconi, Red Hook, N.Y.
Homebrew Club of the Year – Saint Paul Homebrewers Club, Minnesota.

Complete results.

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Homebrewers head to Denver

Eight hundred or so homebrewers will gather this week in Denver for the American Homebrewers Association’s national conference.

Last week the Rocky Mountain News had a story about how the hobby contributes to Colorado’s economy – including the fact that perhaps 90% of professional brewers got their start as home brewers. The Denver Post had a similar story about “Making leap from beer to there.”

The conference itself runs Thursday through Friday (details), but there are official pre-conference events beginning Tuesday.

Additionally, Flying Dog Brewery and Wyeast Laboratories, Inc. are hosting a reception Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Blake Street Tavern, next door to Flying Dog Brewery in Denver.

Reception attendees will be treated to presenting speakers from both Flying Dog and Wyeast, an array of door prizes, complementary hors d’oeuvres and samples of Flying Dog’s barrel-aged Horn Dog Barley Wine release. Admission is FREE, but limited to the first 75 people.

Speakers scheduled to present:
Eric Warner – Lead Dog, Flying Dog Brewery: Discussing his background, the importance of homebrewing and how to get into the beer business
Matt Brophy – Head Brewer, Flying Dog Brewery: Flying Dog’s Open Source Beer Project
Jon Graber – Wyeast, Marketing and Sales Manager: Wyeast’s “Very Special Strain” (VSS) promotion
David Logsdon – Wyeast, Founder/Owner – The importance of yeast health
Greg Doss – Wyeast, QC Manager/Brewer/Microbiologist – The benefits of using the Wyeast Activator package.

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Wyeast debuts gluten-free yeast

Wyeast Laboratories will soon begin selling two of its most popular yeasts to homebrewers in gluten-free form. The Oregon yeast lab already offers the yeast to commercial brewing companies.

Wyeast 1272 GF American Ale II and Wyeast 2206 GF Bavarian Lager will be sold in Activator Pure Pitchable Yeast packages.
The gluten-free yeast will be offered to home brewers via Wyeast’s quarterly VSS – Very Special Strains – Promotion beginning July 1. The VSS Promotions feature strains of yeast otherwise unavailable to homebrewers. Wyeast expects these gluten free strains to be continued as permanent offerings when this introductory promotion has ended.

Jess Caudill, product and process development microbiologist at Wyeast reports that these strains have performed well in test brews at the lab, and at independent test breweries and labs. Yeast vitality and overall cell count will be comparable to Wyeast’s current popular products.

Due to an increase in celiac disease, gluten intolerance and wheat and barley allergies, gluten-free products are one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry. While much of the attention has centered on find grains to replace barley and wheat malts – the two most commonly used in brewing – using gluten free yeast is just as important.

Until recently, commercial or homebrewers who want to brew beer free of gluten had to propagate their own yeast in a gluten-free medium.

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New beers from the northeast

LongShot beersThe three winning brews from the 2006 Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest are now available nationally in the Samuel Adams LongShot mix six-pack. The homebrews, which include an Old Ale by Don Oliver of California and a Dortmunder Export brewed by Bruce Stott from Massachusetts, were chosen from more than 1,500 consumer entries. Rounding out the variety pack is a Boysenberry Wheat, submitted by Samuel Adams employee winner Ken Smith from Colorado.

Boston Beer also has posted the rules for the 2007 Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest. Entries must be received between April 15 and May 1. The winners will be announced in October at the 2007 Great American Beer Festival.

Magic Hat Brewing Co. will ship hI.P.A. to mark the return of spring (kind of important to the folks in chilly Vermont). A more heavily-hopped version of IPA, hI.P.A. featrues exclusive artwork from legendary 1960s design icon Stanley Mouse. From his distinctive hot rod illustrations to posters that defined the 1960s concert experience, Mouse placed his creative stamp on an entire generation.

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AHA membership up 20%

Celebrating its 28th birthday, the American Homebrewers Association reports membership has grown 20% in 2006.

“Today’s AHA has evolved with the times, recognizing the value of maintaining the tradition and quality of homebrewing in the USA,” said founder Charlie Papazian.

“In 1978 when the AHA was founded it was alive with the thirst for pioneering the original themes of flavor and diversity, says Papazian, “We were the original craft brewers with a passion for telling the world about great beer and how to make it at home.”

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Friends teach friends to homebrew

The numbers are in from the American Homebrewers Association 8th annual Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day. Homebrewers from 29 states as well as the Yukon Territory in Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, and England, participated at 128 sites.

The AHA began the event – always held the first Saturday in November – as an international effort to introduce people to the homebrewing hobby and establish relationships with local homebrew supply shops and homebrew clubs. Basically, those who already know how to brew help those who don’t brew a batch of beer.

This year the AHA counted 786 participants at the 128 sites with an estimated 260 new homebrewers being introduced to the hobby.

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Carolina brewers win first GABF Pro-Am

Jamie Bartholomaus of Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem, N.C., and long-time homebrewer Tom Nolan teamed up to win the 2006 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition. Bartholomaus scaled up Nolan’s 11-gallon homebrew recipe for a Baltic Porter.

Scott Yarosh of Papago Brewing (as well as Sonoran Brewing) and homebrewer Barry Tingleff captured the silver medal with Hop Dog IPA, while Whale’s Tail Pale Ale from Odell Brewing Co. won the bronze. Odell’s founder Doug Odell brewed the pale ale with homebrewer Ryan Thomas.

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Making the BJCP test look easy

Many have equated taking the Beer Judge Certification Program exam to tackling the law boards. That might be a stretch, but it’s tough enough that a presidential candidate could gain a few more votes by suggesting a “No brewer left behind” program.

But the BJCP test looks a lot easier when you look at what it takes to earn the title of Master of Wine.

Of course, the wine title also costs more.

The first hurdle for a prospective candidate is just to get in the program. Successful applicants typically have worked several years in the wine industry or hold a diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, an educational body affiliated with the IMT. They must write an essay (sample question: Discuss the role of wood in fermenting wine), and if accepted, they must part with $2,200 for a three-day seminar to introduce them to the program.

Almost makes you think wine experts have earned the right to sound pretentious.

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Minnesota woman wins Lallemand scholarship

G.L. Exire LaTourA Minneapolis woman has won the 2006 Lallemand Scholarship that entitles her to a two-week brewing course at the Siebel Institute of Technology. Winner Gera (G.L.) Exire LaTour has been brewing since March 2004.

The Lallemand Scholarship goes annually to a member of the American Homebrewers’ and includes $2,900 for tuition to the World Brewing Academy Concise Course in Brewing Technology but also $1,000 to use for expenses.

The winner won her first blue ribbon at the Minnesota State Fair Home Brew Contest with a Cucumber Dill Cream Ale. She is an active member of the Minnesota Homebrewers Association, where she is known for her eclectic beers. She is a Certified Beer Judge with the BJCP and helps organize local BJCP exam prep classes.