2012 was a banner year for homebrew growth. This became evident last year as the National Homebrewers Conference and related National Homebrew Competition sold out in a matter of days. It is astonishing to see the popularity of the hobby grow by leaps and bounds. The sheer number of brewers is amazing, but more importantly the quality across the board is getting better and better each year.
The absolute highlight of my competitive brewing in 2012 was having 10 beers make it to the second round of the National Homebrew Competition, and having one of them score a gold medal in the final round. I’m even more proud of the fact that the points these entries earned along with those accumulated by the other talented brewers in the Homebrewers Guild of Seattle Proper were enough to earn us 6th place in the Homebrew Club of the Year rankings; an amazing feat considering there are only 8 in our club.
The National Homebrew Competition is the biggest in the world. This past year’s competition had 7,823 entries with each judging center accepting 750 entries. The only way to do well in this competition is to not only craft high quality entries, but do it across a broad spectrum of categories. I entered 38 beers into the first round, and of these 10 moved on to the final round (26.3%). I think this is a great average and very telling metric. Hopefully, at some point the AHA will begin taking this average into account with the award calculations as a means to moderate the explosive growth the competition has seen.
2012 NHC Winning Recipes
- Vienna Lager – 1st Place (round 1) Category 3 – European Amber Lagers (3a. Vienna Lager)
- N. English Brown – 1st Place (round 1 & 2) Category 11 – English Brown Ale (11c. – N. English Brown)
- Single Tap – 1st Place (round 1) Category 14 – IPA (14b. American IPA)
- American Barley Wine – 1st Place (round 1) Category 19 – Strong Ale (19c. American Barley Wine)
- Vanilla Milk Stout – 1st Place (round 1) Category 21 – Spice / Herb / Vegetable Beer
- Five (Blended Strong Ale) – 1st Place (round 1) Category 23 – Specialty Beer
- Kolsch – 2nd Place (round 1) Category 6 – Light Hybrid Beers (6c. Kolsch)
- Saison – 2nd Place (round 1) Category 16 – Belgian & French Ale (16c. Saison)
- Düsseldorf Altbier – 3rd Place (round 1) Category 7 – Amber Hybrid Beers (7c. Düsseldorf Altbier)
- Spazzy Man Wheat – 3rd Place (round 1) Category 15 – German Wheat & Rye Beer (15a. Weizen/Weissbier)