Alright, so I was a bit negative in that last post. Sorry. I'm OK, really.
And in fact I have some happy news to share. I won the best of show at the annual Japan home brewing competition, the Wan Cup 2, for my Belgian style beer called "Nenmatsu Tripel" (nenmatsu means "year end", which is when I brewed it; tripel is style of Belgian beer).
This is the second time in three years for me to take out the top prize (Yokozuna) and while I am chuffed of course, I am also a little bit embarrassed about it for the following reasons.
1) I didn't really set out to brew a "champion" beer. I just brewed it to style and simply didn't make any mistakes. It is a pretty easy style driven by yeast character. The yeast was the winner, really. I didn't even have a competition in mind when I brewed it. I only entered it in the comp because it was on hand.
2) I made the same kind of beer a couple of years ago and didn't enter it in any competitions. Frankly, it was considerably better than this one (for subtle reasons that don't bear going into here).
3) I was a bit lucky. My other two beers entered didn't even get places.
4) Some of my brew buddies are demonstrably stronger brewers than me. They brew more often and consistently turn out better beers than mine. Sorry John (runner up) and Chris (probably the best brewer of all of us).
5) My main motivation for entering competitions is simply to promote the home brewing hobby. Competitions give people some motivation and bring a bit of attention for the hobby (we had 40+ people at the award ceremony for just 24 entrants, a number of whom couldn't be there). I support the organizers as much as possible and help with judging. My reward is a successful comp. It was totally out of the blue and embarrassing for my beer to pick up best of show. But there it is. I'm not giving it back :-D
The smile of a Yokozuna (Grand Champion in sumo)
Me getting a splash of Stone Double Arrogant Bastard Ale (that magnum is worth almost US$100 -- all place getters got a snifter of the stuff)
A toast to the brewing gods