WWETT Show Contest Crowns a Winner

It might not be Indy, but Lemmy IPA takes top honors in craft beer competition.
WWETT Show Contest Crowns a Winner

The beers have been tasted, the votes tallied, and the results are in: Andy Melton’s Lemmy IPA is the winner of the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show’s brewing competition — though the competition never actually took place at the WWETT Show.

The vision: A fun event anchoring the second night of the WWETT Kickoff Party with Lucas Oil Stadium serving as the backdrop. A five-judge panel made up of COLE Publishing employees, an exhibitor and an attendee sampling the entrants’ homebrewed concoctions and bestowing the ceremonial “Golden Growler” to the winner. But when the powers that be intervene, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

And so the WWETT Show brewing competition was left with this reality: An ordinary Monday at the COLE Publishing home base in Three Lakes, Wisconsin, and a lunchtime conversation among a few of the office’s craft beer enthusiasts.

 “You want to drink that beer from the WWETT Show this afternoon?”


Not exactly Lucas Oil Stadium.

The growlers and bottles containing the beer entries were removed from the fridge, pint glasses were set out on the kitchen counter, and the tasting commenced. Though the setting was less than glamorous, there was enough beer knowledge gathered around the kitchen counter to at least give the entries a proper assessment — a combined 4,628 check-ins on Untappd (Facebook for beer to those unfamiliar).

Patrick McGarry’s Vienna lager, named Little Honey Dipper, was well-received overall, though the style held it back from gaining the top position.

“He lagered it right. It’s clean, and lagers are tough,” said Erik Wiedeman, the man responsible for more than 3,000 of those Untappd check-ins who has dabbled in homebrewing himself.

 “I don’t love lagers, but you’re right. It’s clean,” said Ryan Gittins, who had been set to serve as a judge in Indy.

McGarry’s second entry, an IPA, also received solid marks. There was some trepidation prior to tasting two entries that were tapped off from a keg into growlers rather than bottled: a milk stout brewed by John Wilson and a black lager from Dan Miller. They were meant to be enjoyed on Feb. 18. How did they hold up, especially considering each growler was only about half full? Rather well it turns out.

“There was a lot of room at the top for oxidation and I’m not getting that much oxidation,” Wiedeman said of the milk stout.

The black lager also seemed to be mostly unaffected by the passage of time. But for the sake of competition, a winner had to be chosenm, and Melton’s Lemmy IPA stood out from the rest.

The official assessment from Wiedeman: “There is a good, sweet malt backbone and good carbonation. It has a good fizzy mouthfeel.”

Melton says he worked on the brew with his friend Kirt Weakman, an original entrant whose maibock didn’t make the trip to northern Wisconsin with the other entries after the Indy competition was canceled. When you hear about the Lemmy IPA’s origins, it’s not surprising that it took top honors. It was modeled after Zombie Dust, an American Pale Ale featuring Citra hops from popular Indiana brewery 3 Floyds.

“We weren’t exactly sure how this was going to be judged, so we ran with what seems to be a crowd favorite,” Melton says. “A quick Google search will show you that 3 Floyds is one of the most sought after breweries in the world.”

A week before the beer was brewed, Lemmy Kilmister of the heavy-metal band Motorhead died and many of 3 Floyds’ beers have heavy-metal themes. Thus, Melton’s choice for the name of his IPA.

“This is a small shoutout to Lemmy for bringing us some great metal through the years, and since it is a 3 Floyds clone, I think they would appreciate the name,” he says.

As is the protocol, with victory comes a victory speech: “Many thanks to COLE for having this competition. And I wouldn’t be involved with it at all without my great colleagues at Rapidview IBAK,” Melton says.

And so the WWETT Show brewing competition finally reached its conclusion. What started as an impromptu “Let’s finally do something with that beer” turned into a melancholy moment upon the realization that all the entrants’ homebrews were quite solid and deserved the Lucas Oil limelight — not the basement kitchen of a publishing company office.

“It’s too bad this didn’t happen in Indy,” Wiedeman said as he returned to his desk.


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