But every year a few lucky homebrewers actually get to see their beer on liquor store shelves. Boston Beer Company presents the Sam Adams American Homebrew Competition each spring. The winners of this competition get to see their brews go commercial unlike other competitions which usually only offer tasting notes from the judges and a ribbon for the winners
The entries are sent to regional competitions where the beers are judged according the BJCP standards. When the top brews from these contests are chosen, they are then sent on up to the Boston Beer Company for more tasting and judging. The top five finalists are then flown out to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival where the winners are announced. The announcement comes at a brunch sponsored by the Boston Beer Company and hosted by the Boston Beers founder and owner, Jim Koch.
But the contest doesnt end there. Jim encourages the employees of Boston Beer to brew their own beer and enter it into a company wide contest. The top beers from that competition are poured at the GABF and votes are cast to choose the favorite.
Boston Beer then takes these final three winners, converts the original recipes for large scale production, and brews a batch of each. These are then packaged and sold as a mix-6 pack the following year.
Think your homebrews got the stuff to win? I gotta tell ya, its a longshot! If you want to enter, watch for Boston Beers announcement in the spring or subscribe to my newsletter.
Here are the finalists and winners:
For 2006: The consumer finalists were:
- Rob Beck of Kansas City, MO Maibock
- Alex Buerckholtz of Asheville, NC Saison
- Greg Geiger of Littleton, CO American Barleywine
- Donald Oliver of Hilmer, CA Old Ale
- Bruce Stott of East Harwich, MA Dortmunder Export
The Boston Beer employee finalists were:
- John Bowen Cherry Stout
- Tina Petteway Pale Ale
- Ken Smith Wheat BOY-senberry
The winners were Donald Oliver, Bruce Stott, and Ken Smith. The Longshot mix-6 pack which will contain two bottles of each and should be available beginning in February 2007.