Karl Strauss Brewing Company is excited to announce the winner of its fourth annual Pro-Am competition. Each year, the company invites local homebrewers to submit their best beers for the chance to brew the winning recipe on a commercial scale at one of Karl Strauss’ satellite breweries. The winning brew is also submitted to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in October where it competes with hundreds of other Professional-Amateur (Pro-Am) collaborations from across the country.
“This is an awesome opportunity for us to celebrate the creativity and passion of our local homebrewing community. Pioneering is in our DNA and we love to support homebrewers pushing the envelope and furthering San Diego’s reputation as a top beer destination,” says Matt Johnson, Head Brewer, Karl Strauss Brewing Company. “I look forward to judging this competition each year because the quality and originality keep getting better.”
This year’s winning beer is “Hops Til You Drop” Double IPA, brewed by Carlsbad resident, Robert Masterson. “This beer was so impressive,” says Johnson. “The citrus aroma really stood out and it had huge hop flavor while still being balanced with the malt. I wanted to keep drinking more.” Masterson’s winning beer edged out 37 other entries to take top honors.
This year’s competition was incredibly diverse with 30 different categories represented across 38 beers. Karl Strauss had eight employees from throughout the company judge the competition, including the head brewer and the trained tasting panel. The company also invited four guest judges from the media to participate and offer a fresh perspective. “We had a robust discussion about our favorites, but in the end, we kept coming back to this double IPA. I am looking forward to collaborating with Robert to scale his beer up and share it with a larger audience,” says Johnson.
In addition to taking first place for his double IPA, Robert Masterson also tied for third place for his British-style Barleywine. “We judge the contest blind, so we had no idea Robert won twice until we went to look up the winners’ names,” says Johnson. Third place was tied with “Cocoa’s Revenge” brewed by Tim Taylor—who won last year’s Pro-Am with his “Bleke Citroen” Belgian Pale Ale. Second place went to Frank McDermott, Chris Nixon and Greg Kazmer’s “G.K. Willington’s Scottish Porter” robust porter. All of the winners will be congratulated and awarded prizes this Friday at a special happy hour hosted at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room at the main brewery in Pacific Beach. The public is invited to come mingle with all of the homebrew entrants and Karl Strauss brewers, as well as try the limited release Mosaic Session Ale on draft and take home $8 growler-fills of their favorite beers.
“Hops Til You Drop” will be brewed at Karl Strauss Carlsbad in early August for submission to GABF. For more information about Karl Strauss’ Pro-Am competition and recipes for the top four winning beers, visit karlstrauss.com.
1st – Robert Masterson: “Hops Til You Drop” – American-style Double IPA
2nd – Frank McDermott, Chris Nixon and Greg Kazmer: “G.K. Willington’s Scottish Porter” – Robust Porter
3rd – Tim Taylor – “Cocoa’s Revenge” – American-style Stout
3rd – Robert Masterson – “Barleywine” – British-style Barleywine