One of our favorite homebrew events last year was by far the Humboldt Homebrew Festival. When we got the email about the festival this year we both agreed, we had to figure out how to make it work. We had started brewing again but not that regularly, the festival was that impetus to really get brewing again. Eryn and I planned out what beers we were going to submit, she the Sassy Blonde which had done well previously in the People’s Choice awards and I the Ebony Milk Stout which had taken best of show in the bottle competition last year. We set about to brewing and getting things ready for the festival.
A couple of months later we packed up the car and headed north to Arcata where the Festival happens. The Arcata area is a great place to visit for anyone interested in the craft beer scene with some knockout breweries like Redwood Curtain and Mad River. We arrived in Arcata in plenty of time to drop our kegs off at the competition, pick our serving table, say hi to a few friends we made the previous year then head out and enjoy some great north coast beer.
The next morning we headed back to the community center where the competition was taking place to set up our space. We kept the decorations simple but had printed our stickers for both the Ebony Milk Stout and for the Sassy Blonde to give out as we received votes. The way that the Humboldt Homebrew Festival works is that all of the attendees get the opportunity to go around and taste this huge collection of amazing homebrew and as they taste they drop in cards to vote for your beer. So as the day goes not only are you spending time pouring and educating folks about your beers, you also spend a bit of time cajoling, bribing and downright begging for votes (it is a competition after all). The Sassy was a hit again, and it was hard to find a group of people who didn’t seem to have a sticker.
As the day went on Eryn and I both took turns breaking away from behind our jockey box to taste some of the other amazing beers local homebrewers had to offer. I have to say that the quality of the beer increased tremendously from the previously year, which was already good. There were sours, a bourbon barrel aged nitro stout, an amazing Bavarian Creamsicle, and tons of other awesome beers.
As the event wore down the awards started up. We were given an award for furthest travelled which we humbly accepted this year but want to make sure we don’t accept again next year (any SF or PDX brewers want to join us?). We waited to see how we did in the People’s Choice awards. Last year the competition was swept by IPA’s and if you’ve ever tasted Sassy it is about the furthest you can get from that. This year was completely different, there wasn’t an IPA in the top five beers and Sassy scored third place! Both Eryn and I had tasted the other four top beers and we were humbled to be a part of that group of brewers.
As things wrapped up we packed up and said our goodbyes to friends and fans and as we drove home we started planning what to make for next year. I cannot wait to head back up again.