Kingston Area Brewers of Beer (KABOB) recently had a homebrew competition hosted by Daft Brewing in Kingston, and had two winners from competition which will be brewed and released at the brewery. We caught up with Adam Rondeau, one of the co-owners of Daft, on how the competition went.
CHA: Describe your brewery’s relationship with your local homebrew club KABOB. Do you often run homebrew competitions with the club?
We have a great relationship with the club! Ryan Dhillon, part owner of Daft and our head brewer, was one of the original founding members of KABOB. I believe he took home the very first trophy from their first in-house competition…We opened in January 2020 and we’ve already had two members of KABOB come in to brew with us. Dan Simons won a competition previously for his Oatmeal Stout, Oat Dirty Bastard, that he brewed on our system. Andrew Schleger helped us host an off-flavour tasting night at his house before we opened, and while we were there, we tried all of his brews. We like his Raspberry Wheat, Pinky Tuscedaro, so much that we brewed that on our system with him as well. A bunch of our team is homebrewers as well who are members of the club. We’ve helped to organize bulk malt orders etc., so we definitely have a really good relationship with them, and we would be doing more if COVID wasn’t jamming us up.
As far as how often we run comps with the club, we’ll probably aim to have a KABOB’er in to brew with us twice a year. We also host an annual (coming up again soon!) homebrew competition that is open to any homebrewer, not just members of KABOB, called, “The Thirsty Games”. It was won by Trevor Armstrong from Durham region for his British Mild, ‘Middle Out’
CHA: How was this competition different from previous years, considering it was held during the pandemic?
The pandemic didn’t change too much on our end except for our practices and distancing during the judging portion. I don’t know if we would have had more entries or less entries otherwise, but fortunately this is one thing that the pandemic didn’t prevent us from doing.
CHA: Can you tell me more about this competition? What was the style of the competition, how many entries, and what was the calibre of entries received?
This competition was for an American Pale Ale. We noted that we were aiming for a more modern, hazy, fruity/juicy approach. The calibre of the entries was great! We had a guest judge who isn’t employed at Daft who said that he would be happy if any of the beers ended up on our taps. From our experience, you can expect great beers from any of the active members of KABOB. For this competition, we didn’t have to point out any major flaws and suggest solutions or troubleshoot causes. It was more figuring out which beer we liked most out of all the great beers that were submitted. The Oatmeal stout competition had about 14 entries. Thirsty games had over 30 entries. Recent KABOB competition for APA had 12 entries
CHA: Which entry won and why?
We didn’t plan on this, but we actually ended up choosing two winners. Like I said, there were so many great beers and it really was hard to choose a winner. I think the top six beers scored out of 80 were all within about 3 points of each other. For the beers that we chose, it wasn’t like comparing apples to apples. They were both APA’s, but they highlighted very different characters of the style, even when subcategorized into hazy/fruity/juicy. We thought it lended a great opportunity to have them both come in back to back, scale up their recipes, and then release the beers at the same time to showcase both the craftsmanship and the differences between both beers. The winners were John Anderson and Etienne Bisson. Both great brewers and great guys! We haven’t selected the names yet, but I can assure you they will be awesome!
CHA: Anything else you’d like to share?
Whenever we host competitions, we always try to give as good of feedback as we can. As homebrewers ourselves, it’s great to know when you do something right and it works, that others feel the same way! Or alternatively, if something went wrong, even though it’s hard to hear, learning what went wrong and what you can do to fix it is how you improve yourself as a brewer. So we aim to highlight the good, and make note of the bad. We love working with homebrewers. Until a few years ago, that’s all we were too! We want to continue to work with the club in many regards, from competitions, to tasting nights, to collaborations, trying their beer, etc. We are always interested to hear new ideas and we don’t like closing any doors.