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Announcing the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge!

Posted by homebrewdad on 6/22/2016 at 12:44:33 AM

After teasing this a bit, the time has come to officially announce the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge. Yes, we are holding our BJCP certified competition again this year, and plan for it to be bigger and better! Right now, it looks like Divisional judging will be October 14th - 16th, with the overall Best of Show on the 28th or 29th. These dates will be firm by the time we start accepting entries on July 1st.

EDIT: the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge is now open for entries!!!

Our basic format will remain the same - there will be three Divisions, each of which will be judged in a different city. Each Division will consist of several BJCP style categories; each category will award first, second, and third place. The winner of each category (and, potentially, the second place beer for each) will advance to the Division Best of Show. The top three beers for the Division will receive fabulous prizes, and the top beer for each will advance to the overall Best of Show to compete for our grand prize package.

As of the writing of this post, we have eleven sponsors who have already agreed to return for this year's Challenge; I fully expect that number to grow drastically before judging happens.

Without a doubt, the ultra-popular Homebrew Hero awards are returning for 2016. This is a lifetime achievement type award - if you won a cape in last year's Challenge, you will not be eligible to win again this year. To qualify, you must brew three different beers that are medal-eligible (i.e. a minimum score of thirty for each).

Of course, we wouldn't want things to stagnate, so a few changes are in order for this year's Challenge. First and foremost, we are expanding the Division caps from one hundred to a maximum of one hundred fifty beers. Instead of Hoppy, Balanced, and Malty Divisions, we're going with more of a geographic focus. This year's Divisions and style categories follow:

American Division Commonwealth Division Continental Division
1B. American Lager
1C. Cream Ale
19A. American Amber Ale
20B. American Stout
21A. American IPA
27. (Historical) Kentucky Common
11A. Ordinary Bitter
12C. English IPA
13A. Dark Mild
15A. Irish Red Ale
16B. Oatmeal Stout
27. (Historical) London Brown Ale
4B. Festbier
7A. Vienna Lager
10A. Weissbier
25B. Saison
26B. Belgian Dubbel
27. (Historical) Roggenbier

You may have noticed that we are also moving on with the times; this year, we will be adhering to the 2015 BJCP style guidelines. Each Division includes a "bonus" style category with a historical focus.

Now, before you start brewing, please note that while we will not be following the exact same list of ingredients for every style like we did last year, we WILL have ingredient restrictions for every style (after all, this **IS** a challenge, right?). These ingredient restrictions will be posted when we start accepting entries on July 1st - please be certain to educate yourself as to these restrictions when you enter, and before you start brewing!

In addition, we will be adding a smaller, "for fun" Division (limited to fifty beers) that will not coincide with any BJCP style category - this will be the SMaSH beer Division. Please note that you may not enter the SMaSH Division unless you have entered at least one beer into a normal category. The SMaSH Division will be judged simply on the basis of which beer the judges feel is the best, tastiest brew. While the SMaSH winners will receive prizes, these beers will not be eligible for the overall Best of Show.

This year, we are dropping the bottle requirement for all Divisions from three to two. That will make it easier on our judges to store and sort all of that beer, and it will make it more affordable for you to enter. However, we do ask that you keep a third bottle of your Challenge beers in reserve - if you make it to the overall Best of Show, you will be required to ship the third bottle for judging.

Are you interested in judging? Our Commonwealth Division will be judged in Austin, and our Continental Division will be judged in Fresno. However, we do still need to line up a judging site for our American Division - if you are interested, please contact us today!

So, to recap, the 2016 BrewUnited Challenge is a go! This post does not constitute the official rules, which will be presented in another post - this is simply an announcement to help spread the word. Do note that we filled up all of the available entry slots in less than a month last year - so if you are considering entering, you may want to do so sooner rather than later!

Tags for this post: 2016, BrewUnited, Challenge, competition, brewing, homebrewing

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Sweet! Can't wait to see the restrictions and get brewin for this one! Last year was a blast.

posted by Fenix159 on 6/22/2016 at 09:08:52 AM

We're glad to have you again this year!

posted by homebrewdad on 6/22/2016 at 09:26:41 AM

The challenge is getting out of my comfort zone and brewing styles that i normally wouldn't. It looks like i will be brewing four different beers. One for each division and a SMaSH. Last year i did ok and it was a lot of fun. Thanks.

posted by anonymous on 6/22/2016 at 11:09:09 AM

Very Nice! Need that grain list :) Love the Historical options, right up my alley~

posted by vcbeeroness on 6/22/2016 at 12:56:40 PM