A social media photo crossed our desks on Tuesday of the Quarter Celtic staff happy as can be in the wake of the New York International Beer Competition naming their brewpub the best of the best in New Mexico.
We had never heard of this competition before, so I braved the traffic on San Mateo (I-25 southbound is no longer an option) and headed over to talk to the QC team on Wednesday afternoon. The NYIBC awarded a gold medal to Crimson Lass, silvers to Test Batch #1 IPA and Come to the Dort Side, and a bronze to Mor-Buck IPA, all of which added up to naming QC the best brewery in our state.
“At GABF, I was talking to Tom Hennessey, who used to be our boss, (and) he was just saying that he only enters two competitions a year, GABF and the New York International,” said head brewer/owner Brady McKeown. “He was saying what a great job they do, how professional they are.”
That all led Quarter Celtic to sign up.
“Another interesting thing about this competition was the format,” said assistant brewer/owner David Facey. “Some are BJCP-certified, some are Brewers Association-certified. … The cool thing about this one was the judgment by the buyers and sellers. Stylistically, it may not be 100 percent, but it’s from the people whose job it is to sell beer for a living. They know their product.”
The competition included beers from 14 countries. Many of the American entries were from big breweries across the country, including Blue Point, Brooklyn, DC Brau, Jolly Pumpkin, Magic Hat, Rogue, Samuel Adams, and Saranac. Among neighboring states, Barrio Brewing topped the Arizona list, while Renegade Brewing claimed Colorado.
To achieve victory, Quarter Celtic had to shake up some past category entries for its beers. One notable change was moving Crimson Lass from Irish Red to Scottish.
“We were really pleased with Crimson Lass,” said general manager/owner Ror McKeown. “These guys did a great job of putting that beer where it belonged in the right category.”
“You know how it works,” David added. “They always talk about crafting a beer to a style. What we realized was sometimes you have to craft a style to your beer.”
Getting medals for two of the four QC house beers, Crimson Lass and Mor-Buck, was also important.
“That’s a great point,” Ror said. “You can tell people you made a really great beer (but) you have to come back next year to drink it. (With these) come on in, you can have it any day of the week.”
Congratulations to the Quarter Celtic staff on all their achievements. We look forward to how things turn out at the World Beer Cup in April and in competitions beyond that.