MoB Shootout—Fantasy Brew Draft (Ottawa, ON)

On Friday January 24th 2020, the Members of Barleyment (MoB) in Ottawa, ON held their first Fantasy Homebrew League Draft Day.  

Here in Ottawa, the MoB hosts what we call shootouts. These are competitions for MoB members that usually involve a theme. We run one to three a year. Past competitions include light beer (<110 cals), spiced beer and session IPAs.

Earlier in 2019, a few of us were reading the homebrew subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/) and came across a homebrew club in Cleveland that hosts a fantasy football style homebrewing competition, where each team had to “draft” their ingredients, brew their beer, and serve it. We thought it was a really cool idea, so we reached out to them with the intention of running one ourselves. Mike from the Brewly Boys was great and was happy to share their insight. 

The list of homebrew ingredients that was used for the draft.

How it works: Via a web conference, 24 teams/participants drafted ingredients from five categories—base malt, specialty malt, hops, yeast and adjuncts, from a set list of ingredients. The list was tailored to the amount of people in the draft and what was available for the most part at our local homebrew supply store as Beer Grains was sponsoring us. Once someone has picked an ingredient, it was off the board so there was some strategy involved. The draft was done in a snake style draft over seven rounds. Recipes had to consist of at least one ingredient from each category, though not all drafted ingredients had to be used. Water adjustments were allowed but only drafted ingredients allowed in the recipe. BJCP styles do not need to be honored and creativity was highly encouraged. The draft was held in November and everyone had about 8-9 weeks to brew.

The ingredients could be sourced from anywhere, but we were lucky to have a local homebrew shop to sponsor us, Beer Grains. They were very generous to provide prizes for our winners.

All the entries waiting in the fridge to be judged.

For the judging, we invited all participants, Beer Grains, and other MoB members to come out to one of our brewer’s party room for a night of judging.  Each participant provided a growler of beer for judging.  

The different groups picking their top beer picks.
The samples poured for the judging.

Judging was held in a best in show format. 30 people were split into groups and sampled random flights. The groups discussed and submitted what they thought was the best beer of the flight, the second best, and so on. The groups could also provide constructive feedback on the beers. Each beer was featured in two random flights so an entry was sampled approximately twelve times. Based on the flight rankings, points were assigned and we got down to the final twelve. The final best of show was done by a select group of judges, and each of them ranked the beer 1 to 12. Again each rank was given a value and tallied.

The best of show judging round.
Athéna Chabot from Beer Grains with prizes!

I’m pleased to say that Tim Vander Meer and his Belgian Blonde Ale-ish took first place, Mitch Petty with his Crispy Lager in the Czech tradition took second place and Bruce Itterman with his Kveik Psedo Pilsner took third place.

A great time was had by all.  Looking forward to the next shootout.

Kevin Hamilton started growing hops in 2017 on his in-laws' farm with approximately 50 plants. By harvest time, he had done his research and was ready to jump right into all-grain brewing. He invested in a Grainfather and an all American canner with three other brewers and started a brewing group with some family members, called FAMCO Brewing https://www.instagram.com/famcobrewing. FAMCO Brewing meets at least once a week to brew, brewed over 200 batches of all different types of styles, and even dabbled in cider, mead and kombucha. Kevin is also actively involved with the Members of Barleyment.

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