Forrest Gump can add beer to the list of things you can do with shrimp.
On July 14, six Triad breweries competed to win the Ultimate Triad Brewing Championship, a collaboration between Triad Brewers’ Alliance and Downtown Greensboro Inc., and one of the pre-game events for the Summertime Brews Festival on July 15.
The catch: Brewers had to add cucumber to whatever style of beer they made.
It’s actually not as weird as it sounds. The cuke-y taste complemented the sweltering heat as competition ticket holders hung out in a special VIP area behind the light-bedecked Bearded Goat patio in downtown Greensboro. Armed with a tiny plastic mug and a wooden token for voting, each participant blind-tasted the beers, numbered 1 through 6, in whichever order they chose, and cast their vote in the corresponding glass jar.
Paul Cooley, who bartends at Horigan’s House of Taps and Boxcar Bar + Arcade, said of the first beer, “It was a daring move to make a gose.”
I knew it was a sour beer of some kind, but it smelled like bread and tasted like sour pickles. I was surprised to find I didn’t always know the style of beer I was trying, and I never would’ve guessed that beer No. 1 had shrimp in it.
The portion of Lewis Street next to Bearded Goat and the 107.5 WKZL headquarters had been cordoned off for the Summertime Brews Festival pre-game party. Local food trucks Ghassan’s and Sweet Basil’s served hungry customers, easy-listening rock bands played onstage, and several Triad breweries sold beer under tents.
A little after 9 p.m., a representative of the Triad Brewers’ Alliance announced the First Place result for the Ultimate Triad Brewing Championship: Preyer Brewing’s You Can Do a Lot of Things with Shrimp: A Bubba Gose, made with cucumber, dried shrimp and grapefruit.
Natty Greene’s also made a gose, but only with cucumber.
Saison turned out to be the more popular style. Wise Man used their Thousand Chords grisette as a base, and Four Saints their farmhouse saison. Brewer Todd Isbell of Liberty Brewing made a cucumber-mint saison, which may still be on tap at the brewpub unless the keg has already kicked.
Gibb’s Hundred added cukes to its Monkey Sphere IPA, which had a distinctive and refreshing cucumber flavor.
Missing from the event were big leaguers Foothills and Red Oak, as well as Small Batch, Hoots and Kernersville Brewing — among other members of the Triad Brewers’ Alliance. This was the first annual championship, though, so next year, I hope to see more competitors, more beer styles and even more VIP ticket holders I can swap guesses with.