Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Kansas City Bier Meisters 32nd Annual Competition

Kansas City Bier Meisters is the oldest club in Kansas City and in fact one of the oldest in the United States. This years marks it's 32nd annual competition. The first was in 1983. 1983 was less than 5 years from when Jimmy Carter signed a bill to make home brewing legal again in the United States and a year before Charlie Papazian's seminal book on home brewing, The Complete Joy of Home Brewing.

Last year there were 564 entries from 16 different states. The entries are judged by experienced judges, last year we had 2 BJCP ranked Grand Masters, 2 Masters, 9 National, 7 Certified, 14 Recognized as well as 3 Certified Cicerones and a Pro Brewer. Those numbers will probably be better this year since many more KCBM members took the one or both of the BJCP exams.

The competition will be limited to 600 entries this year and we are about 75% of the way there already. Entries are due by Friday at 9:00PM and can be dropped off at KC Bier Co. More info on entering can be found here. General info can be found here. There are lots of amazing prizes and medals, but one of the most coveted is the opportunity to help brew your beer at Cinder Block Brewery and get to see it on tap at the brewery. Just ask Michael Wells, who was the winner last year with his Well's Best Brown.

 For the last several years, the competition has had a theme. The theme this year is "Hot Summer Nights" and the special category entries will want to elicit a feeling of a hot sun on your face and warm sand beneath your toes, at least until you step out into the parking lot and remember that Kansas City, in February, is pretty darn cold most of the time. These entries can be dual entered into any other category and into the special category. The official guidelines are as follows:

Hot Summer Nights category is meant to categorize those beers that can bring you out of the darkest depths of winter and leave you dreaming of warmer times.
Aroma: Aromas of tiki drinks, sunscreen, beaches, and relaxing by the campfire or pool are all appropriate. Aroma should dance up to your nose like the scent of a citronella candle on a hot summer night.
Appearance: Should appear to be kissed by the warm summer sun. Can be brilliantly clear
or hazy, depending on the type of summer this beverage is having.
Flavor: Use of fresh summer flavors should be used, where appropriate. Base flavor must reflect the intended style and can either be quite subtle or punch through with a fist of summertime.
Mouthfeel: Should feel as if the drinker is floating in a pool, soaking up the rays, or feel as if the drinker is crowded around a roaring fire under the starlight.
Overall: Relaxes. Inspires summer dreaming. Makes you want to kick your feet up and enjoy life. Warm, not freezing cold, life.
Comments: Radlers, bright-flavored beers, and meads and ciders bottled with sunshine encouraged.  
There are a couple events taking place at the competition. The first of which is a Spiegelau glass demonstration that will start at approximately 3PM and will cost $25. For that $25 you get to take home 4 amazing glasses and get a demonstration as to how each glass makes beer taste better. A first
hand demonstration with four world class, commercial beers. Half the beer goes into a standard pint glass and the other half into the Spiegelau. Like you, I thought that a well made glass would have some effect on the flavor, aroma and appearance of a beer, but not to the extent that these glasses do. They are nothing short of amazing. The set of 4 usually runs $50 ($46 on Amazon), so $25, including beer and the demo, is a real steal.

The main even is the competition banquet. This will be a four course meal, paired with beers from 4 Hands. Crane Brewing, KC Bier Co and from one of another TBD local breweries. The meal will follow the competition theme. I've seen an initial menu and it looks great. The guest speaker will be Michael Crane, of the upcoming Crane Brewery. Michael has been the feature of several articles locally in the last year or so, due to his prowess in winning a large collection of  home brewing competition medals and as a part of Crane Brewing Company, for wowing attendees at local and regional beer festivals and at the many events that they sponsor with their amazing beers. Michael will be talking about how he got started and the future for Crane Brewing and will be doing a Q&A session.

Thanks to Rod McBride at http://midwestrocklobster.blogspot.com/ for pictures. 

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