Saturday was the long awaited Northern Craft Brewers (NCB) English IPA competition. Adding to the sense of occasion were the Midland Craft Brewers, a ‘Brew Off’ if you will, however I can report that there were no ugly scenes reminiscent of West Side Story. For a more factual write up of the day see Ade Chapman’s blog @pdtnc. This was my first time meeting with the NCB crowd and wasn’t sure what to expect, but knowing Ade was involved and with a great venue in the shape of Saltaire Brewery I knew it was going to be a good day.
The 38 entries for the English IPA competition were checked in as folk arrived and the judging commenced at around 1pm, with what looked to be two tables of judges, possibly working in pairs to score and comment on each beer. The judges came together with their highest scoring beers and then went about deciding on the winners.
While the judges were busy downstairs, there was a buzz of activity around the brewery. A talk on India Pale Ale by Shane Swindells of the NCB and then much homebrew chat, bottle swapping and enjoyment of the beers available on the bar. Alongside some well known breweries like Saltaire, Buxton and Triple fff Brewery, were six cask beers brewed by members of the NCB and MCB. With no restrictions on the specification, there was a choice of a West Coast APA (by Rob Derbyshire), a Black IPA (Ade Chapman) and three IPA’s brewed by myself, Neil Gardner (Leedsbrew) and Allan Gayton (MCB). All proceeds from the bar have been donated to the chosen charities and am delighted to report that the discerning drinkers voted in favour of my effort. Thanks to those who enjoyed my beer and especially to the two homebrewers who cast a more experienced eye over my recipe, and gave me the confidence to brew it! I think we all knew it was a close run thing and for me I was just made up to have my beer being dispensed on tap.
The meet was a fantastic event and big congratulations go to the winner and runners up in the headlining English IPA competition.
1st – Steve Syson
2nd – Tom Dobson
3rd – Ade Chapman
4th Dr Ray Carson, HC Karl Clarke, HC Ron Allinson
Also a huge well done and pat on the back for those responsible for organising and making everything run smoothly on the day: Shane Swindells, Ade and Emma, Tony Gartland for the use of the venue and supplying the trophies, to the judges who bravely faced many homebrews in order to find our winner and of course to the 50+ homebrewers who supported the event and raised £400 for charity.
I would encourage other homebrewers to keep an eye on the NCB website and join us at the next meeting!