Home brew entries jump at 21st beer festival
A nearly 60 percent increase in entries to Friday’s home brew competition at the 21st Great Alaska Craft Beer and Home Brew Festival left judges imbibing more beer than they anticipated.
Last year, the competition received 63 beer and four mead entries. This year, 30 brewers from all over the state and the Lower 48 submitted 107 beers, five meads and one cider for judgment.
Organizer Rob Miller of Haines said the unexpected increase in entries left the competition short-staffed, so each judge had to drink more than usual. “I ended up riding one judge’s motorcycle back to his hotel for him,” Miller said.
Miller said the amount of entries fluctuates from year to year for no discernible reason. “It goes down and up and down and up. Next year it might be back down again; who knows,” he said.
Beers were judged in four divisions and 14 categories. Miller said the quality of brews increased from last year.
Michael Kulachkosky and Rachel Finn of Whitehorse won Best of Show, the competition’s top prize, for their Russian Imperial Stout. “It was a very excellent example of a Russian imperial stout. It’s like a stout only more of it: It’s more alcoholic, it’s got heavier, dark roasted grains, and if it’s made correctly and stored correctly, it picks up fruity esters and picks up prune and raisin esters. And this one definitely had that,” Miller said.
The competition received only three entries from Haines residents: Mary Jean Sebens submitted two entries, and son Tristan Sebens submitted one.
Best of Division winners were Division 1, Continental Beers, Kyle McNaughton of Juneau for his Amy Beater, a Belgian strong/dark ale; Division 2, British and American Light Ales, Michael Kulachkosky and Rachel Finn of Whitehorse for their Paddler’s Pale, an American ale/APA; Division 3, British and American Dark Ales, Michael Kulachkosky and Rachel Finn of Whitehorse for their Imperial Stout, a Russian imperial stout; and Division 4, Meads, Melomels, Specialty and Fruit Beers, Jeff Shearer of Anchorage for his Van Porter, a spice/herb/vegetable beer.