Justin is out of town and is busy enjoying the beauty, nature and beer culture in Boulder, Colorado, so he is unable to provide your weekly dosage of Regular Guy insight. Regardless, the show must go on, so I will be stepping in to do my absolute best to keep our avid fans and supporters (Hi Mom!) in the know.
We didn’t do any brewing over the weekend. Had a few other brewery related irons in the fire, so we weren’t able to fit it in. Hoping to fire up the kettles again soon though as we have three new recipes we want to fit in before it gets too cold to mash outdoors with any level of effectiveness.
While we didn’t brew, we did get together for a while Friday night to tend to some final arrangements for a competition we took part in on Saturday. Among those final preparations included adding a few final details to our serving station/bar.
We added identifying placards to our PVC pipe tap handles. Here’s the one for the Hot Blonde…
…and here is the one for the Smokey Grove…
…and here they are together, with a full view of our custom built draft tower.
We made a few adjustments to our beer lines and serving pressure, and through a little bit of math and a whole lot of trial and error, we eventually found a great balance for our draft system where beers poured fast enough to be convenient but not so fast as to create overly voluminous amounts of foam. Hooray us!
Once the important beer quality stuff was out of the way, we turned our attention back to some of the cosmetic details. The biggest thing we tackled was the front of the bar. We are fans of the galvanized metal look, but we all felt it needed something…more.
So more…we gave it.
Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Once that was done, we loaded up all our gear into the back of Brian’s vehicle and we called it a night. We had a big day on Saturday, so we wanted to make sure we had a good night’s sleep.
Fast forward to Saturday.
As previously mentioned, Justin was out of town…so it was up to Brian and I to represent Regular Guy Brewing at the event. We got there, and immediately realized we may have made a serious mistake by making our bar as heavy duty as we had.
I think we all foolishly thought that we’d be able to back the car right up to the sight to unload. Such was not the case. We had to lug the bar, our kegs, tent, co2 tanks, and copious amounts of ice and various other accoutrements from the parking lot. Might not sound terrible, but I can assure you…it was. Separating our site and the lot were dark enchanted woods, ice covered bridges, fiery fjords and countless vagabonds and highwaymen. It was a long and treacherous journey.
Okay. Maybe it wasn’t that bad. But we did have to go around a muddy baseball field.
Once we were set up…we could not have been happier with the result:
I do believe it would be fair to say that ours was the most impressive booth at the event. Certainly, the most professional. That said, appearances aren’t everything. This was a home brewing competition, so flavor is what truly mattered most. The time and effort we have put into cultivating our brand might open a few eyes, but our beers would have to set us apart from the crowd.
The event we were taking part in was a backyard style home brewing competition being put on as part of the Fall Festival in Breese, IL. While we have had the chance to have our beer judged in competition in the past, this event was a bit different from anything we have done up to this point.
Instead of having our beers blindly judged by three people who we would never know or meet, our beers were being tasted by actual people…and quite a few of them. Over the course of the afternoon, we probably served 100-150 samples of both our brews. We came in with two full kegs, and left with enough for a sixer…maybe.
The early reviews were extremely positive but even more enjoyable was the word of mouth. We had many people come up and tell us that they had heard about the Hot Blonde…and just had to try it. On several occasions, those same people would come back with other people. It was fun to watch and experience.
It was crazy how we were only open for “business” for about four hours, but even in that time we had already generated return customers and “regulars.” It really demonstrated the power and potential of our brand and product. People really seemed to get our brews and us.
Beyond that, I know both Brian and I had some excellent conversations with the other brewers and many of our patrons. Great contacts were made, and who knows…maybe a few doors might have even been opened for us down the line. We also had the chance to try most of other beers. I won’t go into specifics or name names, but I will say that some of them were excellent beers that I could drink all day. Others didn’t suit my preferred tastes, but I could still appreciate the craft and quality. While a few…well…um…yeah…not so great.
All in all though, it was a great chance to see what other people are doing, to exchange ideas and thoughts, and get to know some of the other people who hope to do the same things we are hoping to do one day.
I wish I had more photos to share from the event, but to be perfectly honest, once the beers started pouring…I was just having too much fun to worry about snapping pics.
We didn’t win any awards at the event, but I still went home with a big smile on my face. We got what we came for. It was a fun afternoon full of validation and insight and I can’t wait to take part in this kind of event again.