Sunday, May 11, 2008

Big Brew ... The poetry of worts' worth

Here’s our entry to the Big Brew 2008 YouTube video contest sponsored by the American Homebrewers Association.

Where were they last year when we did this? Just kidding ...

But seriously, we did shoot Homebrew Day last year in our run-and-gun electronic news gathering style, with an eye toward posting on YouTube and Current TV, the website and digital cable television channel that airs user-created videos. (We even trumpeted our efforts in email to the AHA last year and got a nice reply.)

The AHA told us the contest idea came from the granddaddy of homebrewing himself, Charlie Papazian. So a nod to Charlie for seizing the day of user-created videos and inspiring the Cecil Beer DeMille (yeah, we know: bad pun, dated reference) in all of us.

About Big Brew
If you’re not a homebrewer, you may not know Big Brew is the annual AHA-promoted event in which homebrewers worldwide strike mashes and brew their tried and true recipes, all the while celebrating the conviviality of and finer things about beer, notably good food and the exploration of exotic or amped-up beer styles.

Last year, the AHA says, more than 9,000 gallons – 72,000 pints! – of homebrew were brewed by more than 4,000 participants at 242 sites on four continents. That breaks down to sites in 42 US states, and kettles fired up at celebrating locations in Israel, Australia, Argentina, and Russia. AHA stats show the volume has been rising annually for the past four years.

The folks at BeerCrafters in Turnersville (one of two places we relied on to stock up on malt and hops when we actively homebrew our Cross-Eyed Mary Pale Ale and Black Satin Dancer Stout) says they’ve been doing Big Brew for 15 years. BeerCrafters was the location for our video shoot on May 3rd, and you’ll notice in the video their commemorative mugs with a big blue 15 on the side.

But BeerCrafters and their affiliated club, Gloucester County Home Brewers, aren’t alone in their celebration of Big Brew. PALE ALES, a Princeton-area homebrew club, and WHALES, the Woodbridge-area homebrewers group, also get into the game. By the by, some members of WHALES – Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiast Society – were first-round Northeast regional winners in the national homebrew competition that the AHA conducts each year. (The annual AHA national conference is June 19-21 in Cincinnati; we went in ’95 in Baltimore and again in ’97 in Cleveland.)

About the video
The AHA’s rules for the YT contest pretty much limited the length of videos to three minutes. So if you paused for an interview with us and didn’t make the cut, it’s because of the time limit. You still have our enduring gratitude, and we still have the footage, which could wind up in a end-of-year piece in December. (For the record, the video doesn’t have our signature logo/image at the end, either – again to meet the time limit.)

A last word about the video: Winning that AHA contest doesn’t matter an iota; it’s all about the beer, not us.

Monday kicks of American Craft Beer Week. The name is self-explanatory. A quick check of their website didn’t show any Garden State brewers with registered events. However, Cherry Hill’s Flying Fish Brewing is participating in the food-and-beer event, SAVOR, which is the coda to craft beer week.

We’re going to take this moment to note what’s been our glass this past week or so: Cricket Hill’s Col. Blides Bitter, FF’s Hopfish IPA, River Horse’s Double Belgian Wit, Triumph’s German Pilsner and Basil T’s (Toms River) Double Bock. Don't see your beer on that list? Don't worry, it will be.