Deer River BBQ and Brew Fest 2012

In August of 2012, a number of Boreal Brewers, Northern Ale Stars and other homebrewers from the Northland and the Twin Cities attended/competed/judged beer at the 3rd annual Deer River BBQ and Brewfest.  The competition is held at the White Oak Rendezvous venue just north of Deer River on highway 6.  There’s a Friday night dinner for competitors, and general beer sharing for quite a while afterward.  The smokers and burners fired up their equipment as it approached midnight, while the brewers mingled around the bonfire and watched.  There’s nearly unlimited camping space, so many people spent Friday and Saturday nights on site.  The competition is BJCP sanctioned, and both the Boreal Brewers and the Northern Ale Stars (Duluth) provided judges.

In the morning, the judging of both beer and BBQ began.  The intrepid BBQ judges worked through the evaluation of the various entries, and the beer judges carefully followed BJCP guidelines as they worked through a double blind judging.

There were four categories; IPA, Stout/Porter, Lager and Brewer’s Choice


The gates opened to the public at 3:00 PM, and attendees were able to sample both the BBQ and beers that had been in the competition.

Homebrew samples were distributed from stalls. Each adult had the opportunity to try ten different beers.

The crowd had an option to vote for their favorite beer as they tried various samples


About 300 people attended, and the weather was perfect for the whole weekend


BBQ sampling


Live music by GROCK livened up the day


Through the generosity of the homebrewers, who brought more beer than was planned for, the sampling went off smoothly and deliciously




The beer awards were announced later in the afternoon.  Boreal Brewers members dominated, but Dan Dahl, up from the cities, won or placed in three categories.  Bud Cone won top honors for best of show from the judges, and the Blueberry Hills Brewing Company won the Crowd Favorite Award.  Congratulations all!

Ale Category:

1st Place:  B 8 point 5 – Mike Twite

2nd Place:  Stumbling Sheep – Dan Dahl

3rd Place:  India Red Ale  – Mike Groom

Stout/Porter Category:

1st Place:  Milk Chocolate Stout – Mike Groom

2nd Place:  Sleeperhold Stout – David Owens

3rd Place:  Commie Spy – Dan Dahl

Lager Category:

1st Place:  Drink Like Hell – Dan Dahl

2nd Place:  Old Foghead California Common – Steve Benson

3rd Place: Sand Trap Lager – Blueberry Hills Brewing Co.

Brewer’s Choice:

1st Place:  Brett Saison – Bud Cone

2nd Place:  Dragonfly Wheat – Mike Groom

3rd Place: Das Boot / North German Alt Beer – Mike Twite

Best of Show:

Brett Saison – Bud Cone

Crowd Favorite:

Eel Pout Stout – Blueberry Hills Brewing Co.

Boreal Brewers Steve Benson, David Owens, Bud Cone and Mike Groom with their awards

As the sun set and the crowd thinned, the brewers held forth with some special brews for the evening tasting, followed by the kind of potluck only brewers can put together.  And, the conception of another competition was born: the 2013 Ugliest Chandelier Competition.  Brew, cook, or come with a weird chandelier, but show up next year for the 4th annual!

Watch for info on the 2013 event.


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