For those that are not familiar with the Longshot competition (see the official site here), it is a competition put on by Sam Adams as a way to get back to founder Jim Koch's homebrewing roots. In the competition (which is free to enter - a rarity for most comps), the best two beers are chosen from all the entries to be brewed and nationally distributed by Boston Beer Co. In parallel to this competition, Boston Beer Co. also runs an employee version of the comp, wherein the best employee-homebrewed beer is chosen for the third slot in the sixpack.
The 2011 winners were an interesting mix of style with two hefty beers (~9% ABV) and a more drinkable table beer (~5% ABV). The selections included:
- "A Dark Night in Munich", Munich Dunkel by Corey Martin
- "Five Crown Imperial Stout", Russian Imperial Stout by Joe Formanek
- "Derf's Secret Alt", Imperial Altbier by employee Fred Hessler
While at the check out counter of the bottle shop, I would have bet that the dunkel was going to be my favorite of the three. In many cases, the imperial beers are 'interesting', but not always drinkable. However, after trying all of them (two of which I got to try with Tom), I have to say that Joe Formanek's Russian Imperial Stout was far and away the stand-out of the group. It was awesome. Big roast, vinous, dark fruit character, but balanced well enough that it was not sweet. The alcohol, which was hardly noticeable, is tucked beautifully into the dark lusciousness of the beer. Kudos to you Joe! I'd love to get my hands on that recipe.
If you've had the opportunity to try the 2012 Longshot beers, let us know what you thought of them and which was the favorite.
"The cheapest beer in the bar is called premium, don't ask me why."