La competencia mejora el producto y crea  cultura cervecera

AC9-7La idea de hacer esta competencia surgió hace mucho tiempo. Cuando se tiene un negocio dedicado a la venta de materias primas para fabricar cerveza, en forma natural viene la idea de hacer una competencia así, pero no se había tomado la determinación de hacerlo debido, principalmente,  a que al principio había poca gente haciendo su cerveza en casa y, el conocimiento respecto a los estilos y al proceso de elaboración para lograr una buena cerveza, no era bien conocido.

Cuando nos invitaron de la revista “Alma Cerveza” (a Marjorie y a mí) a ser parte de los futuros jueces certificados,  nos pareció interesante hacer algo importante para el desarrollo de la industria micro cervecera; coincidió con nuestro viaje a Estados Unidos,  en el que pudimos probar la excelente calidad de las cervezas artesanales norteamericanas en 5 diferentes Estados.

Cada vez que probábamos una cerveza, descubríamos lo acertado que era su fabricación respecto al estilo original. Comprobamos, en forma cierta, que las competencias de micro cervecerías, en Estados Unidos, ayudaron mucho a que mejoraran lo que los norteamericanos perdieron a fines de los ‘80 y a principios de los ‘90.

Si nos remontamos a los inicios de las competencias en Estados Unidos, vemos que éstas nacieron a partir de los cerveceros caseros y, por consecuencia, la siguieron los micro cerveceros.

Cuando participé en la “Copa Cervezas de América” como juez, se juntaron todos los caminos respecto a la importancia de hacer una “Copa de Cerveceros Caseros de Chile”. Razones había muchas, empezando porque,  si los cerveceros caseros hacen buenas cervezas, critican con muchas más razones a los micro cerveceros cuando hacen las cosas mal, lo que los obliga a mejorar la calidad de las cervezas artesanales. Muchos caseros disfrutan haciendo su cerveza en casa y la familia lo celebra como un hito histórico, pero después de un tiempo, no pasa de ser un bonito recuerdo del  se habla  en pasado.

La competencia da un motivo y, al tener la recompensa de una medalla,  llena de orgullo con una distinción comprobada y a la vista. Finalmente,  la competencia crea cultura y, en este caso, cultura cervecera.

(completo en edición impresa)

First Homebrewers Contest in Chile

A competition that improves the product and creates beer culture

AC9-10The idea for this competition arose long ago. When you have a business dedicated to the sale of raw materials for brewing beer, the idea of holding this kind of ​​competition comes naturally. But the decision to hold it hadn’t been made, mainly due to the fact that few people were making their beer at home, and knowledge about the styles and the development process for good beer were not well known.

When we (Marjorie and I) were invited to the magazine “Alma Cerveza” to be part of future certified judges, it seemed interesting to do something significant for the development of the microbrewing industry, and it coincided with our trip to the United States, where we were able to taste the excellent quality of American craft beers in five different states.

Every time we tasted a beer, we discovered how spot-on its manufacturing was compared to the original style. We found that, in a certain way, microbrewery competitions in the United States greatly contributed to improving what Americans had lost in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

If we go back to the roots of the contests in the United States, we see that they were born from homebrewers, and the microbrewers followed.

When I participated in the “Americas Beer Cup” as a judge, everything pointed to the importance of holding a “Chilean Homebrewers Cup.” There were numerous reasons, starting with the fact that if homebrewers make good beers, they have many more reasons to criticize the microbrewers when they do things wrong, forcing them to improve the quality of craft beers. Many homebrewers enjoy making their beer at home and the family celebrates the milestone when it is completed, but after a while, it becomes nothing more than a nice memory to talk about.

A competition offers a motive, and the reward of a medal fills the winner with pride with a visible, proven symbol of excellence. Finally, a competition creates culture (in this case, beer culture).

To become familiar with a style, we have to understand why and how it came into being, and after that, the process, nuances of flavor, aroma and color that we can share and be proud of the final product.

If the First Homebrewers Contest took little time to put together, it was because something had to be done as soon as possible and in the best way. We invited Jaime Ojeda, José Antonio Alcalde, Cristián Álvarez and Fabiola López to participate as judges, as they are the most experienced people in the field and are recognized by everyone in the field of homebrewed craft beer. At the suggestion of the judges and others, we invited more judges to give more strength to the competition. Thus Daniela Merino, Perry Hirsch, Benjamin Wood, Ricardo Solís and Asbjorn Gerlach were invited, and they accepted immediately and gave us their support in bringing together the competition. Although they could not all be present, they supported the event at all times.

The competition revolved around the two most common Chilean styles, which are also the most well known among the general public: Pale Ale and Stout. There were many invitations sent out by email and ultimately 14 beers were entered in six weeks of preparation, eight in the Pale Ale category and six in Stout. Two groups of judges were organized to evaluate both styles of beers on the morning of Wednesday, December 5th. We used a process similar to that of the “Americas Beer Cup,” using BJCP assessment, and the result was amazing. The same person won in both styles, which shows that very good homemade beers are being created in Chile.

We are very pleased with the results and are starting to plan next year’s competition, where we hope to multiply the participation we had this year, as now we have the necessary experience and brewers now know of this event; plus, beating the beer made this year and winning a medal in a well-known event is a good incentive.

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