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Friday, May 27, 2016

New Beer Friday, BOS Jeremy Gavin Edition (May 27)

To the victor go the spoils
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

Last Saturday, during the awards ceremony for the Thirteenth Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Party, Gerald Gavin (aka Jeremy Gavin) was presented the Siciliano’s Cup for taking Best of Show (BOS) honors with a Dark Czech Lager. As the 2016 BOS winner, Gerald (pictured) received a $500.00 gift card from Siciliano’s Market and will be brewing his award-winning recipe on Trail Point Brewery’s seven-barrel system. This past week Gerald spoke with me about how he got involved in the homebrewing hobby and how it feels to be an award-winning brewer.

Steve Siciliano: When did you first start homebrewing?

Gerald Gavin: I brewed my first beer on December 27th, 2003. It was a True Brew Pale Ale kit. The next week I brewed a True Brew Porter and after that I started writing my own recipes. It wasn’t long before my brewing hobby spiraled out of control.

SS: That seems to happen a lot. What was it back then that first piqued your interest in the hobby?

GG: I was drawn to the hobby because I like beer and from the beginning of my drinking days I was enamored with any beer that wasn’t a macro lager. I was always on the lookout for something different but back then finding good beer was much more difficult. The American craft beer market was building steam but the pickings were still pretty slim and I was drawn to the European imports because the offered the best variety of flavors. I also like to cook and would pick apart restaurant dishes and try to recreate them at home. I began doing the same thing with beer.

SS: Most folks don’t start out making Best-of-Show winning beers. How did you hone your brewing skills over the years?

GG: I’m constantly reading books on brewing. The first one I used extensively was The Brewmaster’s Bible by Stephen Snyder. It was succinct and easily accessible. My skills and confidence have grown considerably due to trial and error, research and joining homebrew clubs. There’s no replacement for trying new things and sharing your results with other like minds.

SS: How many clubs do you actually belong to?​

GG: I maintain active memberships in the Primetime Brewers, the Brewsquitos and the Wayland Area Homebrewers and keep ties with a number of other local clubs. I also participate in a couple of unofficial clubs — the Oktobrewfest Brotherhood of Brewers and the Dutton Alliance. I am currently serving as Vice President of Primetime. The bottom line is I like to share and talk about beer.

SS: How does it feel to be Best-of-Show winner of the Siciliano’s Competition and to have your name engraved on the Siciliano’s Cup?

GG: Winning the Siciliano’s Cup is a great honor. What makes this competition special is the reality of it. I know the people who enter the competition, I know the people that administer the competition, and I know the people who judge the competition.​ The sense of honor and recognition is stronger when awarded by peers. The weight and prestige of this award is tremendous. It is truly the highest honor attainable in the local brewing community.

​Winning the Siciliano’s competition is a bit surreal. While this is not the first time one of my beers has done well, it’s the first time my beer was the one that was better than all the rest. It’s a great honor and I am proud to bring home the win for my clubs. This is the second time that Primetime gets to hoist the cup and the first time for the Brewsquitos and Wayland. I will enjoy taking the cup around to my clubs and brewing friends for many photo opportunities before returning it to its roost at the shop. Let's see if next year I can be the first to have my name on it twice!

SS: Anything else you would like to add?

GG: I would like to say a true and heartfelt thanks to everyone that entered, administered and judged this competition. It’s the people involved that make it special. The friendly competition and support from my fellow brewers and drinkers alike brings a tear to my eye.

Score sheets and medals for the 2016 competition are now available for pickup at Siciliano’s Market. If you live outside the Grand Rapids area and would like your score sheets (and, hopefully, your medal) mailed to you, contact me at this address:

New and Returning Beer

  • Short's Beard of Zeus, $1.99/12oz - "Beard of Zeus is an India Pale Lager made with Zeus hops and bitter orange rind. This Lager smells of dank hops and fresh cut grass and tastes of bitter orange hard candy. The beer is refreshing and has a light body" (source).
  • Bear Republic Big Bear Black, $2.19/12oz - "Big Bear is a big, black, stout you can really sink your teeth into. The bold, roasty, caramel malt flavor is balanced by Centennial and Cascade hops" (source).
  • Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, $2.19/12oz - "A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character" (source).
  • Bear Republic Racer 5, $2.19/12oz - "This hoppy IPA is a full bodied beer brewed with malted barley, wheat, and crystal malts. The malt base is designed to highlight the unique floral qualities Columbus and Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest. Racer 5 is one of America’s most medal winning IPAs. There’s a trophy in every glass" (source).
  • Bear Republic Red Rocket, $2.19/12oz - "Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale that traces its origins to our homebrew roots. This full bodied and hoppy brew finishes on the palate with sweet, caramel malt flavors" (source).
  • Starcut Immortal Jelly, $2.29/12oz - "Immortal Jelly is a semi-dry hard cider inspired by Short’s Brewing Company’s Soft Parade. Immortal Jelly is fermented with Michigan apples and a blend of raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. This cider is rose in color and has scents of tart fruit. Immortal Jelly’s complex blend of berry fruit flavors provides a big tart acidity up front before a semi-dry finish" (source).
  • Rochester Mills Chocolate Cheesecake, $2.29/12oz - "Milkshake Stout with added flavors of chocolate & vanilla" (source).
  • Alaskan Raspberry Wheat, $8.99/22oz - "Alaskan Raspberry Wheat is an American-style Wheat Ale that highlights the bright flavors and inviting aroma of more than 3,000 pounds of real raspberries added during fermentation. Years of local demand through Alaskan’s Rough Draft program of draft-only releases and a Silver medal from the 2008 Great American Beer Festival make Alaskan Raspberry Wheat the perfect brew to launch the Alaskan Pilot Series" (source).
  • Mountain Town Wit Dream, $1.89/12oz - "Belgian Style wit brewed with orange peel, coriander, and chamomile" (source).
  • Brewery Vivant Zaison, $4.29/16oz - "Zaison takes its inspiration from the famous Saison style of beer made in the southern region of Belgium. Traditionally a saison is made in the coolness of the winter months to be enjoyed in the Spring and Summer. The term "Imperial" has been co-opted by the American brewers to imply strength (%ABV). While saisons often err on the side of low ABV, the Vivant Zaison twists up in to the 9% zone. Watch out, this one goes down smooth and will knock you down if you're not careful! Use the buddy system, always drink with a friend" (source).

    Podcast of the Week | Total Brewing

    Recorded at Siciliano's 13th Annual Homebrew Party.


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