Barley and Hops hosts Labor Day brew competition
By MALACHI MUNCY
On Labor Day, homebrewers from Copperas Cove and Killeen gathered at Barley and Hops, 2210 E. Bus. 190, to compete for bragging rights and a $50 first-place prize.
Eight brewers registered during the weeks leading up to the competition but only six turned in their entries on time. Contestants were allowed to add to the Hefeweizen recipe provided with the competition kits but were not allowed to make other changes.
“This is pretty much the first recipe that I started brewing with 25 years ago,” said Raymond Jones, Barley and Hops owner. “When I got back to Fort Carson, I realized an E-4 couldn’t afford to buy the world of beer that Germany had opened to me. So I started brewing.”
Judges drove from as far as Stephenville to taste and rank the homebrewed beers according to mouthfeel, color and aroma.
The second-prize winner, Jeff Zuben added raspberries to his brew.
“They’re fresh but I froze them before I added them,” said Zuben, when a judge asked about the raspberries.
Zuben has been brewing for seven years but this was his first competition.
It was also the first time competing for first-prize winner, Eric Larsen.
“I just did the regular kit and followed the instructions,” said Larsen.
He has been brewing for three years.
“The judges have a lot of experience,” said Jones. “The competitions are open to homebrewers of all skill levels.”
After winners were announced, brewers and judges traded tips, recipes and feedback sip by sip.
Registration for the next Barley and Hops brew-off opens during the first week of October.
Judging will take place on November 20. The only requirement for the upcoming competition is that the brew contain pumpkin.
“We’re hoping to do these competitions quarterly,” said Jones. “November is the only time it’s OK to put cinnamon in beer.”
The competition was the first Jones has held since reopening the store under his ownership in mid-May 2017. He also holds an open house the first Saturday of the month.
Jones would like to develop a home brew association for Copperas Cove and eventually offer classes and workshops for home brewers at the shop.