September 14th – Brick Brewery
Click here to register
Last year, London Amateur Brewers worked with Brick Brewery to put on a homebrew competition, as part of their celebration of the Peckham Festival. We wanted to do something a bit different, a bit more social, and a bit more celebratory. We came up with the idea of a Large-Format competition.
Similar in style to excellent examples like the Bexley competition, and capturing some of the sharing and bonhomie of BrewCon club night, this was a competition that focused more on general impressions, drinkability and overall enjoyability than the deep, analytical dive into flavours that you get from BJCP-style competitions.
Five brewers brought eight different beers, and set up an ad-hoc bar in the back of Brick Brewery tap room. The response from people trying the beers was amazing! It was incredibly gratifying to hear people praising the beers on offer, talking to the brewers and discussing intentions, flavours and processes, weighing the pros and cons of each and assigning scores. Such a great time was had by everyone involved that we resolved straightaway to put the competition on again the next year, but bigger and better.
And that’s just what we’ve done!
This year, we’ve dispensed with the ‘Localism’ theme, which proved too restrictive for such a wide-ranging competition. Instead, brewers will be able to choose one out of eleven categories, some broad and encompassing, some limited and restrictive, but hopefully covering most major styles. This is to give visitors a wide range of options, and showcase the innovation and diversity of the homebrew scene.
Although principally organised by LAB, this competition will be open to all London homebrewers and, indeed, anyone else who can get themselves and their beer to Peckham at the right time! We hope it will be a good opportunity for homebrewers to socialise, share some beer and have a good time…. with a big slice of competitiveness to make it interesting!
Rules and Requirements
As a ‘Best Case Scenario’, the requirements for this competition are: 20l of beer, that fits the chosen style, racked bright into a corny keg, brought to Brick Brewery on or before the morning of 14th September, and dispensed by the brewer throughout the evening.
Of course, we realise that everyone’s situation is different, and we will do our best to accommodate any difficulties entrants might have. The key thing is to keep us informed, and ask if there’s any questions. The one thing that will ruin the structure of the competition is no-shows (or late drop-outs). Please only enter if you’re reasonably confident you can follow through on it, and let us know as soon as possible if that changes.
Prizes are still to be determined, but Brick are enthusiastic about offering something great this year!
- We aim to be as ‘packaging agnostic’ as possible. Cornelius kegs are the easiest for us (and we’ll supply gas for dispensing), but if you can serve it at home, we’ll try to make sure you can serve it at the competition. Different packaging options can have different impacts on dispense quality, though, so here are a few issues to consider.
- Corny or Sanke kegs – We want to serve your beer in the best condition possible, and that involves good control of carbonation and temperature. There will be a limited number of cooling options available, such as Lindr or shelf/remote chillers, but unfortunately not enough for all entrants (although we will try to source more). If you’re interested in this, let us know, and we’ll try to find an equitable way to distribute them. We will also be able to provide carbon dioxide for dispensing, but due to potential compatibility issues brewers should bring (or arrange to have available) their own regulators, disconnects and lines.
- Bottles – can be difficult to serve in the small (~150ml) samples we’re likely to be giving out, particularly if there’s sediment. Ice baths, troughs and carafes for dispensing can be made available, and there’s a small amount of fridge space behind the bar.
- Casks, polypins, king-kegs, etc – can be a good option, especially if racked bright, but cooling may be an issue as the available systems are set up for kegs. Again, ice will be available.
- Other systems we’ve forgotten – Let us know! We want to show all the innovation of amateur brewers… if we can do it, we will!
- Attendance isn’t compulsory, but is highly encouraged (and not just because we think it’ll be a great day!). We want your beer to be at its best, and no one knows your beer and your dispense method as well as you do. If you can’t make it though, let us know, and we’ll do our best to make sure it’s served perfectly!
- We’ve set the required volume at 20l, as that’s the ‘standard’ home brewlength but, again, we recognise everyone’s situation is different, and London rarely gives you the space to brew as much as you’d like. Because of the nature of the competition, and the public vote, people bringing smaller volumes could easily be at a disadvantage if their beer runs out while voting is still taking place, so we’ve said at least 10l as a minimum cut-off, in order to keep the playing field level. Of course, you’re welcome to bring more than 20l if you like!
- If spaces are still available after a certain time, there may be an opportunity to enter more than one beer, but initially each brewer will only be able to enter one. Due to the way the registration software works, it will be farcically simple to get around this restriction. We’d obviously ask you not to do that!
- There will be only one entry allowed per category so, for instance, once someone has entered a porter, no other porters will be allowed. This is to increase the range and diversity of beers on offer, and limit particular styles dominating. Some categories are restrictive and some are very broad. Each category will have some guidance on what sort of beers will fit, but beers will not be judged or evaluated based on their adherence to the category (or to any particular BJCP style). It’s up to each brewer to consider the spirit of the category, and not try to enter beers that are obviously outside the restrictions. If in doubt, ask!
- Entry categories are available to view (below) to enable brewers to make plans, but entry sign-up will go live on Friday 14th June at Mid-day at which points brewers will be able to choose the category they want on a first-come-first-served basis. The process will be as follows:
- Click here to register interest in the competition, and provide a name and email address
- On Friday 14th June at Mid-day an email will be sent to the provided address with a link to a entry form, where you will be able to choose any category that has not already been taken, and provide further details about the brew.
- You will have to have registered interest prior to this, in order to receive the email at midday. If you haven’t, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for the link, or check LAB social media (see contacts)
- If your desired category has been taken, and would still like to be involved, please email us, and we’ll make sure you’re the first to hear about any changes in circumstances.
- If you’ve registered an entry and can no longer brew it, let us know as soon as possible. If feasible, we will do our best to organise a swap or exchange.
P – Porter (all styles, inc. Stout styles, but not Imperial, Baltic or White )
E – English (Ordinary, Best or Extra Special Bitter, inc. Golden Ale)
C – ‘C’ hops (Cascade, Centennial, Citra, Columbus and/or Chinook dominate)
K – Kölsch (inc. Altbier)
H – Hefewiezen (inc. Witbier and Weizenbock)
A – American Pale Ales (APA, IPA or NEIPA only)
M – Monastic (Belgian Trappist styles, plus doppelbock/maibock & rauchbier)
L – Lager (any bottom-fermented style, but not hybrids)
I – Imperial (Imperial IPA, Imperial Stout or ‘Imperial’ version of a classic style)
F – Farmhouse (Saison, Bier de garde, Sahti, maltøl, traditional farmhouse ale or other Kveik-fermented traditional style)
E – European sour (Gose, lambic, geuze, Berliner weisse, Flanders Red or other traditional sour or mixed fermentation European style)