In a ceaseless effort to promote home brewing, the Cal Poly Brew Crew showcased the best beers that Cal Poly students and the community of San Luis Obispo had to offer Saturday night during the annual Cal Poly Cup.
In association with Central Coast Brewing Co. and Doc’s Cellar of San Luis Obispo, the Cal Poly Brew Crew hosted the Cal Poly Cup, a competition open to students and members of the community, on March 10 at the Central Coast Brewing Co. at 1422 Monterey St.
The competition offered several different prizes to determine the best tasting beers in the community (including the chance to have Central Coast Brewing Co. brew a keg of the winner’s homebrew), and also stood to enlighten competitors and guests alike about the various types of beers that can be produced through home brewing.
“This isn’t just a competition to decide the best tasting beers, but also an opportunity for students and members of the community to taste several different types of beer and learn about how they’re made so that they too can brew their own beer,” said Nick Chamness, the Brew Crew vice president and industrial technology senior.
With doors open for registration at 7 p.m., a swarm of competitors and guests began filtering their way into Central Coast Brewing Co.
In order to compete in the Cal Poly Cup, contestants were required to pay an entry fee of $5 and to bring eight 12-ounce bottles or four 22-ounce bottles – some for judging and others for sharing with everyone. Guests wishing to get a taste were asked to pay $10, while sober drivers, there simply to mingle (or baby-sit), were allowed in for free.
By 7:30 p.m., the Brewery was packed wall-to-wall with both contestants and guests eager to knock back a few of the slew of beers entered into the contest while munching on a variety of finger foods provided by the Brew Crew.
“We were really stoked on this year’s turnout,” said Jeff Freitas, Brew Crew president and civil engineering senior. “There must have been well over 120 people at the competition to try the 65 different beers submitted.”
Of the 65 beers submitted, the competition featured a variety of brews including ales, ciders, lagers, and a few unique blends.
“One of the most unique beers submitted was a mango-chili beer,” Freitas said. “I’m not sure how that one favored but it was a welcome addition and we’re always excited to see original creations.”
The beer with the most submissions was a variety of ales, which tend to be the least difficult to brew, Freitas said.
“Because ales are best brewed at room temperature, the mild climate of San Luis Obispo makes it an ideal beer to tinker with,” Freitas said. “Though we had a lot of ales submitted, it was also to good to see that we had quite a few entrants make the effort to brew lagers which need to be brewed at a cold temperature. We were really stoked on the amount of effort that went into this competition.”
After every beer submitted had been tasted, a panel of four judges, including members of the Brew Crew and Central Coast Brewery, announced their favorites.
First place and a $100 gift certificate to Doc’s Cellar went to wine and viticulture student Philip Ye, for his homebrewed Pale Ale. Second place and a $50 gift certificate went to wine and viticulture student Latsi Vidensky for his Double IPA submission, while the “Crowd Favorite” prize went to civil engineering seniors Kevin Gerst and Chris Barkley for their home brewed “Patriot Ale.”
In addition to winning the title of Crowd Favorite, Gerst and Barkley’s Patriot Ale will become a featured brew at Central Coast Brewery.
Though both Freitas and Chamness said they were happy to have so many people attend and participate in the competition, the overall goal was to encourage students and members of the community to learn about how beer is made; also, by showcasing the variety on hand at the Cal Poly Cup, get them excited about the endless possibilities.
In addition, the Cal Poly Cup also stood to encourage students to advocate the establishment of a brewing minor on campus, Freitas said.
“Through the Cal Poly Cup and our weekly meetings, the Brew Crew’s overall goal is to have Cal Poly create a minor in brewing so that students can learn about the ingredients, and the process of creating hundreds of types of beers, so that they can brew their own for business or pleasure,” Freitas said.