Every year there are two homebrew competitions that I look forward to:  The National Homebrew Competition (NHC) and Novembeerfest.  I’m already my own worst critic, so I look forward to competitions where there’s plenty of — well… competition.  These two foot the bill.

Novembeerfest is next on the horizon, and I’ve done a reasonable job of preparing this year.  My last few beers are among the best I’ve brewed.  These include Anchors Away Ale, Absconder Stout, and Oktoberfest.  I have a couple of fringe beers that I also plan to submit, but I don’t expect much from them.  As it is, I’m submitting the Anchors Away Ale in a different category than its intended style.

A while ago I made the decision to submit competition brews using only new bottles.  When I gave one of my best beers to a friend and he said he had to dump it because it was so bad, I swore off of reused bottles for any beer I cared about, and that happens to be any beer I brew.  This has encouraged me to have a couple of cases of “submission-ready” 12 ounce bottles on hand at any time.

It’s also where the Blichmann Beer Gun shines.  Thanks to a donation from my dad, the Beer Gun was the first piece of Blichmann gear I ever purchased, and it’s brilliant!  Look for me to discuss it in another post.

Tower of Power – The Results Are In

I sent the two Tower of Power controllers back to Blichmann last week, and I recently heard back from Doug, who confirmed that the programmable units inside the controllers were toast.  The cause was most likely a short in the data cable, because the odds of two controllers suffering this same fate all on their own are extremely small.  According to Doug, these are the only two that have had this problem since the release of the Tower of Power.  Blichmann replaced the PIDs and sent the units back, complete with a new data cable.

I’ll test the units out as soon as they arrive.  I’m looking forward to having full functionality again and will put them to a test next weekend when another brew day is upon me.

Let’s try this again…

Crash Davis, the protagonist in the oft under-appreciated 80’s movie Bull Durham said, “We’re dealing with a lot of shit.”  I feel that way all the time.  The list of projects I have in various states of motion is so vast I don’t think one lifetime will be enough, even if I stopped adding more.

Despite knowing that, I am a believer in the idea that one can never have enough hobbies, because you never know which ones might stick.  One of my former hobbies became a career, so what’s to say that won’t happen again?

I am still trying to start a commercial brewery.

I do think I could make a living just by talking.

Solar power is the wave of the future.

Writing could be lucrative.

But, seriously.  Facebook is great for the snippets and photos of everyday life; it’s not really the best place for a project plan, a monologue or a diatribe.  And Twitter?  C’mon…  140 characters?

So it’s back to the blogosphere we go.

Let’s raise a glass to the Internet! for it hath brought great opportunity.  Let’s fill that glass with Madera Verde beer! for it hath great character and quality.