It’s finally here! We’ve been waiting, wondering, and ridiculously excited for the grand finale of the National BrewChallenge 2021! This year, we added one heck of a twist to make for an amazing homebrew challenge!
We reached out to Heretic Brewing Company’s Jamil Zainasheff and New Realm Brewing Company’s Mitch Steele to see if we could find a way to bring brewers from across the Nation together in a head to head brew off that eliminated as many variables as possible to see who was the best of the best. This is a new kind of beer competition!
The only real way to do that is to have all of the brewers brew the exact same beers with the exact same ingredients. This means that, despite their different locations, the only real variable is the brewing process. Did they make a yeast starter? Hit the numbers on their mash? Adjust the brewing water to match the style that they are brewing?
Now that we had an amazing concept, and an awesome way to approach this new kind of competition, we needed brewers! We put out the call to Homebrew Clubs and Beer Competitions across the nation – but limited our entries to just three for this first year.
We asked for their best and brightest, the ultimate winners of their Homebrew Competitions. The 1st place Best of Show winners for competitions holding more than 100 entries. Then, we sent each of those winners 3 secret BrewChatter Brew Strong Recipe Kits, yeast and all. These kits were collaboration recipes from Jamil, Mitch, R.J. and Josh, and guaranteed to be amazing and well within BJCP Style Guidelines.
They will have no idea what they are brewing until the kits show up on their doorsteps. They have to brew the beers and send them back in, where Jamil and his hand-picked panel of BJCP Judges will judge each of these beers head to head in the BrewChatter Brew Strong Competition!
May the best brewer win!
Are you ready to meet the 2021 Winners?
Brewer: Gavin Hasty
Competition: Virginia Beer Blitz presented by CASK
Homebrew Club: CASK – Colonial Ale Smiths & Keggers
Bio: My name is Gavin Hasty and I am currently living in Union Mills, NC. I have been brewing for a little over 2 years now and have enjoyed experimenting with a plethora of new styles and beer, as well as attempting to enhance more traditional styles to push the boundaries of what I can brew at home. Currently my favorite styles to brew are fruited sour ales and wild ales, but as of recently stouts and higher gravity ales have been climbing the list. I was fortunate enough to win the Virginia Beer Blitz this past year with a raspberry-fruited catharina style sour ale that I call “Portals.” It pays homage to the very first sour ale I ever created, which was made very similarly with the same fruit–but obviously with some tweaking of brewing methods and experience over the years. I’m very excited to be participating in the BrewChatter Brew Strong competition this year, and am looking forward to the feedback that judges and colleagues provide.
Brewer: Jonathan Couzens
Competition: 2021 Nevada State Championship presented by the High Desert Brewgade
Homebrew Club: SNAFU – Southern Nevada Ale Fermentation Union
Bio: Originally from England, I have been brewing for about 10 years now. I like to brew many styles, but my favorites are British milds and stouts, winning golds for both over the years. More recently I’ve focused on IPAs, experimenting with hazy’s with different hop blends, and also brewing the ‘gone but not forgotten’ black IPA and Belgium IPA. I was crowned the SNAFU ‘Hop King 2021”in May, winning 1st and 3rd BOS for a Belgian and Hazy.
Brewer: Karl Kahleck
Competition: America’s Finest City Homebrew Competition 2021 – presented by QUAFF
Homebrew Club: QUAFF
Bio: I started brewing all grain in 2010 on my kitchen stove with two soup pots to achieve a 5 gallon batch. By 2013 I had wrangled my own wild bacteria and yeast from a spontaneous ferment underneath my orange tree. This eventually evolved into my house culture for all of my barrel aged sour beers. I won BOS at San Diego’s AFC with an Oud Bruin from that culture. Out of 24 taps at home, only 5 are currently beers, with the remaining being various fruit wines, meads, perries and ciders. I most enjoy brewing traditional English beers, heavy stouts, wheat beers, and fermenting wines or fruited lambics from anything I can grow on my farm, or forage from neighbors and members of my rare fruit growers club.
The Grand Finale
These brewers have been put head to head on 3 completely different beer styles that will challenge their brewing process, organization and home brew systems.
They will have to complete all three beers and have them returned to us by Wednesday, March 25th for the BrewChatter Brew Strong Judging Event on April 2nd. The recipes have been released on BrewChatter to see exactly what was brewed.