This past may the Carolina BrewMasters held their yearly home brew contest, the US Open, at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. One of the major awards during the contest was the Gambrinus Cup, which is sponsored by Foothills Brewing. The winner of the Gambrinus Cup, which was to brew a Rye IPA, got to have their beer brewed by Foothills Brewing and served at the current Renaissance Festival.
According to someone on the Foothills Marketing team, the “Renaissance Fest is by far the most successful sponsorship we do at Foothills”. They went on to say that, “The number and diversity of people it attracts makes it a great place to sell beer.” Their most popular beer at the Renaissance Festival is their Cottonwood Pumpkin, which accounts for about 1 of every 3 beers they sell there. I’m sure that has a lot to do with the fall weather, Pumpkin is an ideal cooler weather seasonal beer. Carolina Blonde is also very popular.
Alex Shoenthal was this year’s Gambrinus Cup winner. They had a ceremony on Saturday October 19th. He was crowned on stage and given his official Gambrinus Cup drinking vessel. He was a guest of the Renaissance Festival King and Queen for the day and got to enjoy some jousting.
The following is from Alex Shoenthal about his experience winning.
The brew session at Foothills was awesome. I got to brew with their Pub Brewmaster, Dave Gonzales, who’s been a friend of mine for many years. Though it was a lot of physical work, it was a blast to brew such a large batch of beer. I was surprised how easy it was for me. The process is exactly like brewing a 5 gallon batch at home, just on a much larger scale.
Though I have entered beers for the Gambrinus Cup for the past 3 years, this was my first big win. Last year I took a 3rd place for the Gambrinus Black IPA and I took a second place at Highland Brewery’s Highland Cup Pro-Am a few years ago. The first thing I thought of when I won was THIS IS AWESOME! Winning a Pro-Am competition has been a dream of mine and is one of the highest honors a home brewer can aspire for. It was a lot to take in and I was a bit overwhelmed at first.
Foothills brewed a total of 30 barrels in two separate 15 barrel batches. I helped brew the 1st 15 barrel batch. The second batch is going to be bottled. This is a first for the gambrinus beer, as it’s always been available as draft only. I got to design the label, name, and concept art. The official name of my beer is ‘Battle Crye’. The bottles will be sold exclusively at 201 Central stores in Charlotte. This is the most exciting aspect of my Gambrinus win, my beer is getting bottled!
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