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The Pale Ale Challenge

By Bernard Lebel

Back in January, my friend Scot Beidelman approached me with this idea: let's enter a pale ale in the Mayfaire competition, and see who wins. Now the important part is about winning. It was not about making your favorite beer, but to make a beer that was so in line with the style guidelines that it would win. I was in. Scot went around and recruited a bunch of brewers to participate.

Now, with Covid-19, Mayfaire got cancelled. So a bunch of us brewed beer, but we had no competition to enter it. But that was not going to stop us. All of us dropped our beer at the shop in Woodland Hills, and then Scot assembled packs of beer that he personally delivered to all of us.

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On May 2nd, those who participated in the challenge congregated in a Zoom meeting and we evaluated the beers. That group consisted of Scot Beidelman, Chris Downie, Jason Naylor, Rick Morales, and myself. For 2 hours, we went through every single beer and gave them a score.

The winner was Rick! He claimed he made an IPA, but it was way closer to a pale ale than an IPA. Congrats Rick!! Chris Downie came in second. Which is interesting, because Chris is not a hop head and it was his first time making a pale ale. In third place was Scot. Finally, I ended up in fourth place. Jason didn't make a pale ale, instead he took wort from MacLeod's when we did the collaboration for the 45th anniversary and threw in some kveik yeast. His beer was good!

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It was so much fun. Tasting the beers together was super educational. Funny thing is that most of us had a draft version of our own beer, while the others had a bottled version, and we could tell the bottled version was different than the keg version.

But more importantly, it was a great example of Falcons coming together and working for a common goal. I may have finished last but it was an awesome way to loose. The camaraderie I experienced is almost overwhelming. Great, great experience.

Thank you Scot for organizing this. Fellow Falcons, don't be shy of organizing, this is what the club is about. Cheers my friends.

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