See Who Took Top Honors at This Farmhouse Ale Homebrewing Competition

The right to get their beer brewed by District 96 Beer Factory and distributed locally was also on the table at the Harper's Bar & Restaurant event.



Photos by Andrew Dominick

Local homebrewers packed into the dining room and bar area of Harper’s Bar & Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry on Sunday, November 12, for the second Hudson Valley Farmhouse Ale Competition with a serious prize at stake.

In this contest of carbonated suds the rules were simple: In the brewing process, brewers were not allowed to use bacteria cultures, wood aging, raw fruit, or whole leaf hops. Each hobbyist brewer had to provide one liter of their entered beer seven days before the event for pre-panel judging and four gallons or more of said beer on the day of the event. Every beer entered had to be a farmhouse ale, aka, saison. Think along the lines of higher carbonation, low hop bitterness, drier beers with middle-of-the-pack ABV going up to the 8-ish percent mark. There was no entry fee.

Participating in this saison showdown were Dailey Crafton, Cindy Rodriguez, Harry Rosenblum, Greg Boland, Joe Nardozzi and Joe Schiavone, Matt Quinn, Kyle Quinn, Matt Spinozzi, Joe Cambareri and Justin Froawley, Geoff Lazlo, Jared Barnett, and Caitlin O’Donnell. 

The afternoon saw an influx of local craft beer fans going from table-to-table, tasting ales of all sorts. Some used rye for an infusion of bitterness, others pumped up their beer’s sweetness with pumpkin, and a few went the sour route as a sour mash version was present, as was another with vinegar for added pucker. The $30 fee ($40 at the door) — with $5 from each ticket going towards Riverkeeper’s Hudson River protection initiatives — allowed attendees to vote for first and second place “fan favorite” winners. Additionally, they got to try a few bonus beers at a self-service, mini tap takeover area by District 96 Beer Factory, and learn about homebrewing from Conduit Beer Co.  

The overall top prize, as previously judged on by an expert panel, went to Geoff Lazlo. Some of you may know Geoff from his restaurant, Mill Street Bar & Table, just over the Port Chester line in Byram, CT, where he’s the managing partner and executive chef. Lazlo, who brews on his rare days off, gets the honor of having his beer, called Delicate Fingers Saison, professionally brewed by District 96 and distributed locally. He also took second place in the fan vote. First place in the fan voting went to Joe Nardozzi and Joe Schiavone for their Farmhouse Rye IPA, and Kyle Quinn received second place by the judges for his Saison Wai-iti Hops.


Joe Nardozzi and Joe Schiavone

Kyle Quinn owner of Brew It homebrew store in Somers
Phil Clarke of Homebrew Emporium and Caitlyn O'Donell president of Dogs of W-O-R-T homebrew club
Harry Rosenblum Author of Vinegar Revival and founder of The Brooklyn Kitchen “Aceto’s Revenge”

If you’re a homebrewer and want to give this contest a shot, Harper’s is planning to do this again in September 2018 when the weather is warmer and expand it into their backyard garden area. Keep an eye out this coming spring for an announcement and how you can enter your best brew.

Harper’s
92 Main St, Dobbs Ferry
914.693.2306

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