Monday, February 12, 2007

Steve Hall is the winner ... and SteveFest 2007 begins on June 1.

The judges have deliberated, and the verdict is in: The next installment of NABC’s (Your name here)Fest will begin on June 1, and it will be called SteveFest 2007, honoring essay contest winner Steve Hall.

From eight to twelve taps will be provided for beers chosen by Steve. I know already that not all of his choices can be procured, but I’m optimistic that many, and possibly most, will be available … and there may be a surprise or two on the way.

If you’re just tuning in, (Your name here)Fest was conceived as a consumer’s choice beer festival, with the Publican (that’s me) attempting within reason and various distribution and wholesaling constraints to assemble an annual contest winner’s ideal draft lineup.

Last year’s first such consumer-driven gala was DaveFest, named for Dave Siltz, who graciously agreed to serve as judge for this year’s installment along with Todd Antz of Keg Liquors and your humble correspondent.

This year’s hopefuls were asked to submit essays explaining in detail their answers to the question, “What would your ideal draft lineup look like?”

As observed previously in this space, five uniformly excellent entries found their way to me. These were edited to remove names and obvious references that would reveal the identity of the author(s), and then transmitted to Todd and Dave, thus permitting them to read without bias. A vote was taken, and there was discussion before a winner was chosen by acclamation. It was not easy. In fact, it was very difficult. The judges were forced to take occasional samples or suitably enticing beer choices, and persevered until finality was ensured.

Steve Hall has been a rock steady Rich O’s/NABC regular customer for more than a decade. As a genuine beer aficionado, Steve’s approach is analytical and cerebral. Tomorrow his winning essay will appear here, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Although initially it occurred to me to publish the essays of the other contestants, I’ve since decided against it, the reason being that there’ll be another round in 2008, and it would be improper to give too much away as the plotting begins for an event that shows numerous signs of becoming another NABC institution.

Congratulations, Steve. Please send a photo of yourself, or in lieu of that, let me know your ideas for the t-shirt design. We’ll produce a limited number for sale (of course, Steve’s is free of charge) when the fest begins on June 1.

Sincere and hearty thanks to all who entered, and kindly consider trying again next year. We got a tremendous kick out of the essays you wrote.


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