Cold Water Brewery awards California woman top honor for craft ‘El Niño Stout’
Community was the theme at Cold Water Brewery Wednesday night, Oct. 28, as the restaurant hosted its second Brewer’s Cup home-brewing competition. The now biannual event gives local home brewers the opportunity to showcase their work and receive feedback through a blind taste test format. The winner earns the opportunity to have their recipe featured on tap at the brewery later this year.
With nine locally crafted home brews presented to guests in attendance Wednesday, one Mexican chocolate stout stole the show.
Avid local brewer Teri Jones’ “El Niño Stout” took top honors with a second beer of hers claiming third.
“You have to think about what’s a crowd pleaser,” she said of her winning decision that featured a strong chocolate taste.
“It’s really chocolaty,” the Woodfords, California, resident added.
“It smelled like a chocolate cookie,” South Lake Tahoe local Michael Plotts said of Jones’ beer, also commending the wide variety of brews at the event. “It was a nice lineup.”
In addition to the amateur aficionados in attendance like Plotts, Jones’ brew also won over the experts.
“I thought it was excellent,” assistant brewmaster and local brew club organizer Ron Buck said of the beer that will likely make its debut on tap at Cold Water in mid-December.
Jones’ win shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, as the amateur brewmaster is about to turn pro.
Working in the industry in a variety of capacities since mid 1990s, Jones, 44, will be entering the master brewers program at University of California, Davis, in January 2016.
“I feel like I always wanted to brew,” Jones said of her decision to go back to school. “It was one of those things. I graduated college and thought, ‘I wish I would have done that.’”
She got her start in the industry working on the bottling line at Northern California-based Humbolt Brewing Co. before moving to Hood River, Ore., and working for Mount Hood Brewing Co. as a cellarman.
She currently works for Jack Russell Farm Brewery in Camino, California.
Earlier this year, Jones’ IPA finished second at the El Dorado County Fair. The same beer also finished third at Cold Water’s first Brewer’s Cup.
This will be the first time any of her beers will be mass produced, however. She will work with Cold Water brewmaster Ryan Parker to craft approximately 200 gallons of her stout.
Jones wasn’t the only aspiring pro to participate Wednesday. Former cup winner Mike Crow also took part. He said he’s working on plans to open his own brewery — aptly named MikeCrowBru — as early as next year.
BRINGING COMMUNITY TOGETHER
Cold Water Brewery owner Debbie Brown and brewmaster Ryan Parker founded the Brewer’s Cup as part of an effort to further promote craft brewing in the Tahoe Basin — a market they both believe has room to grow.
“It’s Ryan’s baby,” Brown said of her brewmaster’s idea for the competition. “He wanted to bring home brewers together.”
According to Parker, he was inspired “to bring in the community so people can see what’s going on in the beer scene. ”
Their first competition featured over 20 different beers across a broad range of styles, so they decided to narrow the field with a seasonal theme this time around.
Parker and Brown said they will continue to hold the competition twice a year with the same honor going to first-place winners. The next competition will feature spring and summer brews.
“It’s definitely outgrown our restaurant,” Parker said of the already popular event.
They had hoped to hold it on their patio Wednesday night, but weather did not cooperate. Parker said eventually the competition could move to a larger outdoor venue. He also expressed a desire to see more breweries open in the area and welcomes the competition.
“There’s no reason there shouldn’t be a half-dozen breweries in South Lake Tahoe,” he said.
Cold Water will celebrate its one-year anniversary Nov. 21 with a party and the unveiling of their Pink Boot IPA, honoring women in the brewing industry.
More information is available at http://www.tahoecoldwaterbrewery.com.