As I wrote about last year, Atlanta’s Richard Roper was one of the two grand champion winners of the 2010 Samuel Adams American Homebrew contest.
As a finalist in the nationwide competition, Roper won a trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. As a grand champion, his Friar Hop Ale was brewed and bottled by the Boston Beer Co. and Roper received a $5,000 royalty.
But all that excitement only served as a prelude to finally being able to taste and share his beer at a special Atlanta Longshot launch party at the Fred in Sandy Springs on Tuesday April 29.
Sam Adams brewer Bob Cannon, who is the familiar guy with the long beard on Boston Beer Co. commercials, was on hand to offer a toast as guests enjoyed samples of Roper’s beer.
What’s more, Friar Hop, with Roper’s face on the label, is hitting stores right now as part of the new Longshot variety pack ($9.99).
“It’s an opportunity for my family and friends to taste my beer and to be part of this incredible journey that Sam Adams has given me,” Roper said. “Seeing my beer in six-packs and on store shelves is a homebrewer’s dream come true. I hope I can restrain myself from buying it all up.”
2011 Longshot Contest
The 2011 Longshot contest has been announced, with entries due between May 9 and May 20.
Ryan Bing, manager of Wild Wing Cafe in Marietta, is hosting a Longshot tasting on April 14 and inviting Atlanta homebrewers to join in.
Wild Wing is home to a long-running series of bimonthly beer tastings, and Bing decided it was high time to feature Sam Adams and Longshot homebrewers.
“We’ll enjoy a night with other homebrewers as part of the event and share tips and tastings with each other,” Bing said. “We’ll sample 10 to 15 offerings from Boston Beer Co., including a bunch of new beers and the 2010 Longshot winners.”
Wild Wing also is offering homebrewers an incentive to enter the 2011 Longshot contest by covering all the shipping costs to send their beer to Boston for the first round of judging in May.
Find all the contest rules at www.samueladams.com/promotions/LongShot2011/rules.aspx.
Longshot tasting: 8 p.m. April 14. $20, reservations limited to 75 people; homerbewers free. Wild Wing Cafe, 145 Roswell Road #170, Marietta. 770-509-9464, www.wildwingcafe.com.
Another Atlanta winner
It was his fourth trip to the finals at Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver, but late last month Cumming commercial pilot Phil Farrell finally landed the title of 2011 beer drinker of the year.
Farrell is on the Beer Judge Certification Program Board of Directors as the South Regional Representative, a Grand Master Beer Judge and a fixture at beer events all over the world.
He’s tasted beer in every country in Europe, all 50 states and every U.S. territory. At home, his basement beer pub features six taps, three refrigerators and a 15-gallon brewing system.
Beyond his serious dedication to homebrewing and beer of all kinds, though, Farrell may be best known for his ubiquitous rubber chicken — a prop he takes everywhere and photographs with famous and not so famous craft beer figures.
His closing statement was a parody of Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” renamed “Chicken Man.”
“It’s 4 o’clock on a Saturday / The beer judges all shuffle in / There’s a rubber chicken sitting next to me / Asking ‘Phil, when are you going to win?’”
— By Bob Townsend, AJC Drink blog