Bigger and better than ever. That describes this year's homebrewing competition at the Humboldt County Fair. Event coordinator and contributor Jere Cox said there were 45 brews entered by a dozen homebrewers.
"The overall quality of the beers entered this year was up significantly," Cox said. "It's too bad the public could not taste these homebrews," he added, "because they are as good as any commercial beer out there."
The Best of Show was awarded to Lee Theuriet of Rio Dell for a strong ale he calls Old Peceularity. That same brew also won a gold ribbon, was named Best Ale by North Coast Co-Op, and won the Allen Michael Award for Best Ale.
Theuriet also brewed Carol's Vienna Lager, which received a gold ribbon, was named Best Lager by the North Coast Co-Op, and gathered Most Overall Points for a Homebrew (an award from Eel River brewery in Fortuna). Theuriet captured one more award, a silver ribbon, for his homebrew he called Herr Hopburger.
The second and third runners-up for Best of Show were homebrews submitted by Cox, a Hydesville resident. The second runner-up was a Belgian Specialty beer, a sour cherry aged on oak brew with a special blend of Belgian yeast. Third runner up was an American India Pale Ale with a signature characteristic of Citra hops.
Of Theuriet's Best of Show strong ale Cox said, "Lee's old ale impressed the judges because they recognized it as a difficult beer to brew, besides being an outstanding example of the style."
The judges were local professional brewers from Humboldt County's commercial breweries. This is the first year that judging of the homebrew competition did not take place at the fairgrounds in Ferndale. The two-day judging was conducted in the temperature controlled bottling room of Six Rivers Brewery in McKinleyville.
The judges follow Beer Judging Certification Program guidelines, which ranks brews scoring 45 to 50 points as "outstanding." There were six local homebrews that fit into this category, and the top three received the awards.
"There are homebrewers out there brewing commercial quality beers," Cox said. "All the beers that were entered this year were really good beers."
Rio Dell resident Lee Theuriet, an accomplished homebrewer, captured Best of Show and multiple other awards at the 2012 Humboldt County Fair hombrewers competition.