The panel of 6 judges(w/ one extra as a tie breaker) compiled all of the best beers that we tasted in teams of two. The best were pooled in based on the scores that each team had given the beers, along with any others that maybe deserved a shot to be placed after consulting with other judges' thoughts.
On to the results of the best local homebrews that were available in 2011(looking forward to this next year, so start squirling away your best ones now!)...
First Place: Eric Gajdzis, Schwenksville, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Gueze
This beer was not only the favorite of our on-hand BJCP judge but it was hands-down, the favorite of the panel.
Yellow toned gold with a tiny head that quickly faded into a collar.
Notes of apricot, funk, vanilla, apple, and cracked wheat.
Flavors of tart fruit, apricot, horse blanket, and apple skins. Lighter body with minimum CO2 levels.
Well done brew. Our one judge compared it to Drie Fonteinen Gueze.
Second Place: Marc Breton, Birdsboro, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Truck Stop Pale Ale
The aromatics of this beer jumped right out upon getting close to the glass. Lots of hoppy resins, and a balanced malt bill that was another favorite during deliberations.
Obvious citrus notes were the standout of this beer. Wonderful head retention and lacing. The beer finished nice and clean.
Third Place: Jesse Kuiper, North Wales, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - American Lager
Jesse must know a few things about making lagers because this won over myself, and another judge, who aren't the biggest fans of these styles. The other judges agreed that this was a top Five beer. It was a pale gold with a thick, white foamy head that slowly faded away. Lots of scattered bits of lacing left around the glass. Aromas of fruit, citrus, grassy hops, with mild touches of malt, caramel, and a touch of nuttiness. On top of this beer, Jesse made another well done Pilsner which I couldn't believe the other judges didn't get into the top class, despite pleads. I was happy to see this one place third, overall.
Fourth Place: Jeremiah Eastep, Lancaster, PA (Lancaster County Brewers) - Bourbon Peach
As ridiculous of an idea as it sounds - it worked! The aromas were of ripe peaches floating in a bourbon barrel with some spices. My only regret was that I didn't get more of this treat!
Fifth Place: Craig Smith, Philadelphia, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Smoked IPA
Appears a semi-transparent, dark gold with a medium white head. Nice lacing is left around the glass. Aromas of tons of Amarillo-like, citrus, and floral notes combined with smoke. Flavors are aggressive and delightful with notes of pine, vanilla, light toffee, and smoke in the finish. A very impressive beer. Raw hops in the nose. The smoke hits late in the flavor and lingers. Spot on beer!
Honorable Mention Beers(Five):
- Blake Morris, Nazareth, PA (The Brewing Network) - Lagavulin Barleywine
- Eric Gajdzis, Schwenksville, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Aged Kriek
- Joe Moran/Matt Kennedy, Hereford, PA (Bruclear Homebrew Club) - Belinoma
- Tom Foley(w/John Rambo and Dave Sauls), Spring City, PA (Bruclear Homebrew Club) - JD Barleywine
- Dave Weand, Pottstown, PA (Bruclear Homebrew Club) - Peanut Butter Cup Porter
- Tom Foley, Spring City, PA (Bruclear Homebrew Club) - Lavendar Saison
- Jesse Kuiper, North Wales, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Pilsner
- Matt Ney, Manchester, PA (Lancaster County Homebrewers) - Mead
- Jim Lombardi, Oreland, PA (No Affiliated Homebrew Club) - Last Chance Porter
- Josh Weikert, Collegeville, PA (Stoney Creek Homebrewers) - Raisin Bock
- Joe Moran/Matt Kennedy, Hereford, PA (Bruclear Homebrew Club) - Quad
- Jeremiah Eastep, Lancaster, PA (Lancaster County Homebrewers) - Eggnog Stout
- Matt Ney, Manchester, PA (Lancaster County Homebrewers) - Bourbon Brett Porter