In its first visit to New England in 25 years, the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) awarded 102 medals to amateur brewers and homebrew clubs worldwide at the 2019 AHA National Homebrew Competition (NHC).
This year’s competition judged 9,189 entries from 3,492 homebrewers located in 50 states, Washington, D.C., and 17 countries. The most-entered categories this year included Specialty IPA (475 entries), Spiced Beer (430 entries), Pale European Beer (394 entries), Strong Belgian Ale (389 entries) and British & Irish Stout (369 entries).
In a ceremony Saturday at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, medals were presented for the most outstanding homemade beer, mead, and cider in 34 categories.
In addition to category style awards, six major awards recognizing overall brewing excellence were presented:
The final competition ran in conjunction with the AHA’s annual conference, Homebrew Con. This three-day conference and expo, attended by nearly 3,000 amateur brewers, mead and cider makers, offered more than 70 educational seminars on a wide variety of topics led by 90 speakers. From beer styles and sensory analysis to the history of gruit and kombucha brewing tips, there was something for everyone.
Maine Beer Company co-founder Dan Kleban delivered the keynote address. Kleban talked about his roots as a homebrewer and the mission that drove him to open Maine Beer Company with his brother, to “serve as a model for how to run a socially conscious business.” “Do what’s right” became the brewery’s motto and reflects their commitment to giving back to the planet though the 1% for the Planet program. Through this partnership, Maine Beer donates 1% of its annual earnings to 12 local non-profits, a different organization each month. It’s expected to donate around $150,000 in 2019.
Of course, where there are brewers, there’s beer. From the 43 established breweries such as Trillium Brewing Co. (Canton, MA), Bell’s Brewery (Comstock, MI), Lawson’s Finest Liquids (Waitsfield, VT), Long Live Beerworks (Providence, RI) and Proclamation Ale Co. (Warwick, RI) pouring during Thursday’s Kickoff Party to the nearly 60 homebrew clubs from across the country partying at Club Night, plenty of beer was flowing throughout the conference.
In 2020, Homebrew Con will head south to Nashville, TN June 18-20.