The 2022 Ale Trail homebrew competition kickoff begins! The 2022 Ale Trail Pale Homebrew Competition slots are available immediately at Northwest Brewers Supply. Only 50 spots are available, and the last two years sold out quickly. The entry cost is $55 and includes malt donated by Skagit Valley Malting and one general admission entry to the 2022 Skagit Farm to Pint FEST (valued at $55/on-sale in February), a month-long, local beer and bounty celebration held at breweries around Skagit County during April 2022. “We are happy to sponsor this event which helps raise awareness of the Skagit Valley and its contributions to the local beer scene across Washington. Our farmers grow a wide variety of crops that barley plays a part in, and it’s part of their sustainability program for their soil. So, every pound a brewer uses in a beer helps promote sustainable farming practices in the Valley,” says Erik Youngren, VP, Skagit Valley Malting.
The homebrewers will have eight weeks to create their Ale Trail Pale and will receive 10 lbs. of Skagit Valley Malting Pilot Pale malt to be used as the primary base malt. Brewers can make their beers unique by using any amount and variety of specialty grains and hops. Winner of the 2019 competition, Ben Holm, says “I wanted to create a well-balanced beer with the available ingredients. I think the Pale Ale category was an excellent showcase for Skagit Valley Malting’s products, and that gave me a great starting position to try to keep the hop bitterness and flavors balanced with the malt flavors from Skagit Valley Malting.”
The judging will take place at the end of February at Cardinal Craft Brewing with 13 judges, including experienced judges, instructors, brewers, brewery owners, and Skagit Valley College Craft Brewing Academy students. “It will be interesting to taste the similarities with the malt, but also the differences with how the brewers add their touch with other grains, hops, and yeast,” says Trevor Lawrence, owner of Northwest Brewers Supply. Tony Savoy, Cardinal Craft instructor, formatted the judging, including notes and scales on appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, and style.
Cardinal Craft Brewing brews the winning Ale Trail Pale. The winning brew is served during the Skagit Farm to Pint FEST. Prizes include a $100 gift certificate to Northwest Brewers Supply for 1st place, 2nd place winner receives a $50 gift certificate, and 3rd place gets a $25 gift certificate.
All proceeds from Skagit Farm to Pint FEST benefit the local non-profit Viva Farms. Viva Farms is a bilingual (Spanish-English) farm business incubator program based in Mount Vernon. Their mission is to create a more resilient and just local food system. They teach beginning farmers about sustainable farming and farm business management, and provide access to land, training, equipment and infrastructure, markets and capital.