The #SpoBREW Classic Recap


The #SpoBREW Classic: A recap

It came, it went, and we’re still bowled over how well the #SpoBREW Classic worked out. (And really, the success was none of our doing.) Fifteen great homebrews—there wasn’t one bad beer this year, possibly because we weren’t competing—and a record turnout flanked by Veraci Pizza were just a few of the things that made this a great evening.

So, what place better to begin than with the votes? Who won? Who lost? Who made a comeback?

We had two categories this year: hoppy and malty. Each team had its own table where brewers and the public could come sampling while chatting with the homebrewers. The brewers and judges picked their winners in each category, and the highest overall score from the judges crowned the one true winner.

Brad placed first in #SpoBREW; last in #SpoBREW2; first and last in #SpoBREW Classic.

The brewers speak

Brewers’s Hoppy Choice
Team #MembersAverage
1Team #3Brad & Joel20.75
2Team #2Stephen & Vik20.73
3Team #7Rick & David20.47
4Team #1Helge20.00
5Team #5Cameron19.50
6Team #4Solomon & Dana17.00
7Team #6Jamie & Seth16.19

Brad and Joel somewhat famously broke up after winning #SpoBREW together, something that sent Brad spiraling down to last place in #SpoBREW2. Now together again, the two came back and reclaimed their throne with their Smooth, Brown & Juicy, a black IPA-ish.

Stephen and Vik—the latter our brilliant as ever announcer—were close, but their IPA didn’t quite put them over the top. Helge, who won the judge’s choice (see below), only placed #4 with the brewers. Just goes to show how different people’s tastes are.

In the end, the race was close, and with last place scoring a very respectable 16.19 points, we can safely say all beers in the hoppy category held a high quality.

As for the malty category…

Brewers's Malty Choice
Team #MembersAverage
1Team #7Joe21.33
2Team #2Ben & Nathan21.30
3Team #4Sean20.44
4Team #6Mike20.30
5Team #5Will & Ryan20.15
6Team #1Jason & Joe18.93
7Team #3Allison & Ted18.40
8Team #8Stephanie & Heidi17.80

It’s interesting that the malty category entries received higher overall points than the hoppy one. That’s somewhat abnormal here in the IPA-obsessed Northwest.

And damn close the tally was too.

Joe’s Bulk Bin Fever just barely managed to inch ahead of Ben and Nathan’s A Touch Too Much. .03 points was all that separated the two teams.

And again, one of the judges’s choices placed low: Jason and Joe—the judges’s winner—only managed to hit #6 with the brewers. Stephanie and Heidi ended up last, though that could be because they ran out of beer. (As did Joe, but apparently late enough for it not too have much of a negative impact.)

A favorite among Team SpoCOOL and MC Vik? Allison and Ted’s marzipan ale. Marzipan rules.

Enter the judges

Once again we were lucky enough to have two great and, not least, professional judges: New Belgium’s Ely Johnson made his third #SpoBREW appearance, while Big Sky’s Joe Petrilli made his second. If we’ve learned anything over the years it’s that these guys know their stuff. So what did they think about the contest beers?

Judges’s Hoppy Choice
Team #MembersComments
1Team #1HelgeToggle
  • Rye spicy - grapefruit nose
  • Big hoppy - nice finish
  • Good body - small haze
2Team #2Vik & StephenToggle
  • Candy sweet nose
  • A bit long finish
  • Slight haze, quickly dissipating head
  • Sweetness in aroma?
  • Enjoyable
3Team #4Solomon & DanaToggle
  • Muddy orange color
  • Soapy big head
  • Citrusy hop nose
  • Good flavor - clean finish
  • Good head retention
  • Strong hop aroma for a wheat
  • Great flavor
4Team #5CameronToggle
  • Clear, med head retention
  • Low to medium hop aroma
  • Thin body, low to medium carb.
  • Bitter finish
  • Clear and bright - thin soapy head
  • Orangy nose - light
  • Light hoppy - sweet - NOT DOUBLE!
5Team #6Jamie & SethToggle
  • Hazy, nice color, good head
  • Aroma is off for me, maybe?
  • Med body, med carb
  • Sweet upfront. Nice bitt. fin. Per sty.
  • Funky nose - overripe banana
  • Cloudy but good color - nice head.
  • Tropical sweetness.
  • Perfumey.
5Team #7David & RickToggle
  • Nice black color, no haze
  • Med head retention, little to no hop aroma, light med roast.
  • Enjoyable but lacks NW hop sig. style.
  • Bitter finish
  • Nice dark color - tan head
  • Roasty - boozy nose = soy sauce
  • Taste is super roasty - not hoppy
7Team #3Brad & JoelToggle
  • Brown - vanishing head - thin
  • Sweet malty nose
  • Not bad flavor - NOT black IPA!
  • Dark brown color
  • Head dissipates quickly
  • Wanted more classic NW hop aroma

Helge repeated his win from last year, proving once and for all that Norwegians are pretty much perfect. It was a close race, and Vik and Stephen once again sat comfortably at second place. Maybe the most interesting part was seeing Brad and Joel at the bottom. They won the brewers’s choice for hoppy category, as well as the unofficial audience vote. Was the ish in their black IPA-ish just a bit too much of an ish?

Judges’s Malty Choice
Team #MembersComments
1Team #1Jason & JonToggle
  • Dark ruby - thin head
  • Clean - dry flavor
  • Not much aroma
  • Good finish - enjoyable
  • Drinkable - TO STYLE!
2Team #5Will & RyanToggle
  • Big lasting tan head
  • Black color - very cold!
  • Not much on aroma - slight coffee
  • Taste is clean, dry and pleasant
  • Not much mocha - tasty tho.
3Team #8Stephanie & HeidiToggle
  • Dark brown color
  • Dark fruits on the nose
  • Taste is a bit watery/thin
  • Nothing offensive
4Team #6MikeToggle
  • Thin head - very dark
  • Vegetal aroma
  • A little thin on the body
  • Bittersweet choc-flavor
  • Good body and strength!
5Team #2Ben & NathanToggle
  • Dark brown - big bubbles
  • Fizzy - buteric aroma
  • Dark fruity pleasant taste
  • Not strong - Dubbel?
6Team #4SeanToggle
  • Looks like a big stout - oily thin
  • Nose a little off - acidity?
  • Stout-like! Roasty and dry
  • Good body - finish
7Team #7JoeToggle
  • Buttery smell - diacetyl
  • Sweet, boozy, thin
  • Needs to be bigger body
8Team #3Ted & AllisonToggle
  • Tanned leather color - no head
  • Nose like Hawaiian punch!
  • Super dry - chalky - vitaminy

Jason and Joe’s northern German altbier might not have been a hit with the brewers, but the judges found it spot on, and a perfect example of the style. Said one of them: "to style!".

The love-hate relationship people had with Allison and Ted’s marzipan ale continued with the judges, which I suppose kind of reflects how people feel about marzipan in general. It’s not something for everyone, but it definitely is something for us, which in the end is all that matters

And the overall winner? Helge’s imperial IPA took it home, with the highest overall score of the competition. Congratulations!

The lyrics for the Norwegian drinking song:

Åååååå, så svinger vi på seidelen igjen, hei, skål!

The art contest

This one was simple: in the end there was no art contest. And really, there wouldn’t have been much of a contest no matter how many people entered, as LK Studio’s Lars likely would have dominated with his Drink Local Beer poster.

Lars was once featured in a Co.DESIGN article.

Luckily Lars’s work did not go to waste. Twenty posters were printed up and sold, with all proceeds being donated to our host, the Porch. Not surprisingly we ran through them quickly.

A few thanks to these awesome people

Veraci was as usual at hand serving up their pizza, and a hit it was too. Again. But that should surprise no-one.

The beer might have been served at tables this year, but that doesn’t mean we made the judges go and serve themselves. Barry was the event’s beer wench, and a great job he did getting the judges their beer!

And speaking of the judges, they deserve a special thank, not just for judging, but also for their generosity. Ely and New Belgium provided grade A tasting glasses, while Big Sky Joe brought beer. The professional kind.

The event could of course not have taken place had it not been for the Porch providing their space again. People always point out how great their building is, and with good reason. The place has been good to us over the last three years!

Finally, thanks to Mark for providing photos from the event!

Veraci has provided pizza for #SpoBREW for three years so far.

Really finally, just for fun, here are the audience favorites.

Audience’s Hoppy Choice
Team #MembersTotal
1Team #3Brad & Joel291
2Team #4Solomon & Dana216
3Team #2Stephen & Vik193
4Team #1Helge169
5Team #7Rick & David161
6Team #5Cameron156
7Team #6Jamie & Seth133
Audience’s Malty Choice
Team #MembersTotal
1Team #2Ben & Nathan144
2Team #4Sean132
3Team #5Will & Ryan126
4Team #1Jason & Jon104
5Team #3Allison & Ted95
6Team #7Joe89
7Team #6Mike81
8Team #8Stephanie & Heidi78

And that’s it! Return to SpoCOOL.