I’ve decided I need to enter more competitions. I think my beer is good, I often have a lot of it available, so why not see if I can win some awards? I ended up entering four beers and a cider in the 2016 Michigan Beer Cup. The beers I entered were my Mild, Golden Ale, Dubbel, and my new Tripel recipe that follows the same recipe principles as the Dubbel. The cider I entered, as a petillant English cider, was a combination of two ciders I fermented in 2014 from the AABG yearly pressing.
The cider was approximately a 50/50 blend of a ‘heritage blend’ cider that contained about 17 apple varietals and Winesap cider. Both were fermented with WLP775 English Cider Yeast. I liked the heritage blend well enough, but I thought it was lacking a little in acidity and the Winesap cider had good acidity, but was somewhat boring to drink. A blend seemed like a great idea, and obviously it was pretty good given that it placed third in the Standard Cider category of the competition.
I am a little disappointed as I believed a couple of the beers, namely the Mild and the Dubbel, had a good chance of placing, with the Golden Ale being a contender with some to-style question marks. The Tripel likely wasn’t good enough to place, but I was entering everything else anyway so I thought why not give it a shot. I had a few process-based issues making that beer and while it’s pleasant enough to drink, it wasn’t likely to score well enough to place.
I’m still awaiting the score sheets to evaluate how everything went, but apparently there were some technical issues with making those available. Hopefully that is fixed soon. I’m very curious to see what ‘went wrong’ with the Golden Ale, as zero beers in that category scored high enough to place – which is the second time this year I’ve entered my Golden Ale in a category where medals weren’t given out. The NHC First Round Chicago judging site only advanced 1 English Pale Ale out of 15 potential beers. Apparently English Pale Ale judges are a tough crowd!