Forrest Gump can add beer to the list of things you can do with shrimp.

And cucumber.

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.

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