Passing Judgment, (Non-Olympic) Medaling, & IPAs!

After the crazy amount of posting last week, we’re back to our usual self with the lone weekly contribution – or are we? If you’ve not been following along on the social networking outlets, you’ll be pleased to know that I was asked to submit a write-up on how GrassLands came to be, where it is right now and where it intends to go from here. In fact, here's the link! FloriBrew is awesome! Thanks Mike! :)

So unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, yesterday was International IPA Day! I celebrated with Tyler of Broken Cog by enjoying a Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel, some always enjoyable Cigar City Jai Alai (in my opinion, best IPA of the South), and the infamous Bells Hopslam Imperial IPA – all while operating machinery to expand the capacity of my fermentation freezer! Smart right? Essentially, we put a 10” wooden collar on my freezer, making it possible for me to house more than one 6g fermenter with space to spare (say I need extra keg space or something like that). Right now, I’m able to fit two fermenters in there, but only a 5g and 6g combo. A collar will add the height I need for two 6g fermenters to sit comfortably. Tyler is the human version of Bob the Builder, so should you need advice on anything that needs to be physically “built,” (or just need something built) let him know as he can’t really help himself :)

Last weekend the GrassLands and Broken Cog families traveled to Jacksonville to judge and steward in CASK’s First Coast Cup competition. As previously noted, I had two beers submitted (Citrus Meyeri Wit and Secale Cereale Saison), so I wasn’t allowed to (nor did I want to) judge in the Belgian and French style cateogry. The first time judging was an awesome experience.

At any homebrew competition, judging typically goes like this: a novice/apprentice judge gets paired with a more experienced judge for a flight of beers (usually around 6-8 beers) in a particular category. A steward helps where needed – pouring, announcing pertinent info, marking down our scores, etc. If it’s the first round, the judges assess each beer based on its specific style (i.e. Belgian Golden Strong, Imperial Sout, Bohemian Rhapsody Pilsner, etc.). They then “push” the top scoring beer (or two top scoring beers, if they’re both great) to the 2nd (or medal) round. In that round, the beers (still from the same category) are compared to one another. The judges take the top three and voila! Gold, Silver and Bronze medal winners! As an added bonus, the Gold medal winner from each category (usually around 23ish categories in every competition) competes against one another for Best in Show.

GrassLands' Secale Cereale Saison went through this process and KICKED ARSE with a Gold Medal in the Saison category (16C)! Basically, I was informed that there were so many saisons submitted that they were separated into their own subcategory, as opposed to competing against every style in the Belgian and French Ale category. I’ll post the judges feedback when it arrives in the mail. I’ve stated before that I knew at least the saison had to be doing something right by getting to the medal rounds in two straight competitions. Now we know fo sho.  Color me stoked! I like to submit my beers to competitions to get experts’ feedback, but it’s always great to receive recognition like this. So proud of my little rye guy!

As I said, judging was great – I officially judged flights of Belgian Strongs, Stouts and a “Big Wood” specialty category (wood aged imperial ales). Hanging out with the judges Friday night for a Jacksonville craft brew pub crawl (Hit up Mellow Mushroom, Green Room Brewery and Engine 15 Brewery) and all day Saturday was fun and I even got to meet another GrassHopper who happened to be a volunteer steward for the FCC that weekend – the extremely nice JaxBrewBitch, who’s turned into quite the GrassLands fan! I handed her off a very green sample of Le Roi Rouge Imperial Red and a Red Panda Rye for her (and others’) review. See folks, there’s benefits to being a GrassHopper! Current GrassHoppers should be getting their first samples in the mail next week! Check your email inboxes if you haven't already!

Speaking of which…have you had a chance to check out the review club’s logo?


GrassLands’ brother, Elliot (El, as I call him), did this up freakin' right and I couldn’t be happier. I've already received a TON of inquiry as to when the above logo will be turned into some sort of apparel. Soon! Also just found out that GrassLands will be pouring again for the 2nd year in a row at BrewFest Tallahassee in the VIP section! Get your tix when they go on sale around the middle of the month and come see us November 3rd! $99 for a VIP ticket may seem like a bunch but think about what you get in return for your philanthropic donation to Sunrise Rotary - early entry, high quality food, high quality and rare (and homebrewed) beer - in addition to the regular entry-area. Slam dunk if you ask me! :)

Also, just an FYI, changes to the site’s layout are a-coming! Onward and upward we go!

Enjoy the weekend, dear readers; you’ve earned it.