Monday, August 1, 2011

No more runner-up; this time he's champ

July in New Jersey doesn't resolve to August without a new state homebrew champion being crowned.

This year Dave Pobutkiewicz lays claim to the title of Best of Show in the New Jersey Sate Fair homebrewer competition, taking home the honor with a helles bock that the Pompton Lakes resident will get to reproduce for the taps at Krogh's brewpub in Sparta as his top prize. (Dave's victory was announced over the weekend on the Facebook page of Sussex County United Brewers and Alchemists homebrew club.)

This bock is a stalwart brew that's taken Dave a few places, notably the Great American Beer Festival in Denver as a finalist in the Samuel Adams LongShot homebrew contest, back in 2007. (That's Dave pictured with Jim Koch from Boston Beer Company.)

Brewed at the start of 2011, Dave says the beer (6.75% ABV) came together perfectly. Not that it hasn't before. Dave's a brewing zealot, meticulously keeping notes on his many brews. (Just this past weekend, he brewed a cream ale and an IPA hopped solely with East Kent Goldings). Members of his beer club, Defiant Homebrewers, also thought Dave nailed it with his latest take on his helles, and they've sampled enough incarnations of the bock to know.

"Everybody was like, 'This is the one,' " Dave says.

Dave's no stranger to the State Fair contest – for years, he's routinely finished somewhere in the winner's circle, including runner-up to the top prize. But this is his first Best of Show, and with the 2011 title under his belt, there's plenty of satisfaction.

"I can mark this one off the list," he says.

Yet, it's the LongShot contest that is sort of a Holy Grail for him. Four of the six homebrews he entered in the State Fair contest also were submitted in this year's LongShot competition. (His helles, an ESB, Oktoberfest, and Belgian strong dark were entered in both contests, while a nearly 2-year-old 12% barleywine and a hefeweizen rounded out his fair contest submission.)

Alas, a chance at LongShot glory, to have his recipe reproduced by Boston Beer for a national release, eluded him this year.

"The LongShot I try really hard for," Dave says. "I've been there before. I gotta get back there; I gotta repeat on that."


Anonymous said...

were the 2011 longshot results posted somewhere?

Jeff Linkous said...

They were announced in early July.