Denver, CO – Every year around this time, while many of you are checking out your favorite breweries returning or new creations, Denver’s Wyknoop Brewing Company, recognizes another lifetime member to the bar.
It’s the annual Beerdrinker of the Year contest and award. Like those since 1997, the event recognizes men (and women) from around the country, for their beer knowledge, presentation, and support. So far in the twelve years that this event has existed, the award (including a lifetime supply of beer at Wyknoop, and $250 to spend at your favorite pub) has gone to a Mid-Westerner or East Coaster, with only three going to the west (two ironically from Seattle). This year it seems the tides are turning as you can add Alaskan Bill Howel to the list of the privileged few.
But before we post the resume of the man who can call himself Beerdrinker of the Year, let us introduce those he had to get past.
Phil Farrell, a Cumming, Georgia commercial pilot, homebrewer, beer judge and 2007 Beerdrinker finalist. He has tasted beer in every country in Europe, 1000 of the world’s pubs and 400 brewpubs. His basement beer pub features six taps, two refrigerators, and a 15-gallon brewing system.
His philosophy about beer: “Beer is first and foremost a social drink. It is the most flexible and universally affordable fine beverage there is. Every social gathering and every food item is enhanced with beer. Beer is the greatest gift ever given to the human race and meant to be shared with others.”
His home beer bar: Five Seasons North in Alpharetta, GA.
A special personal note, we had the pleasure of meeting Phil in Issaquah, as we participated in a Pro-Am beer for use at GABF a few year’s back.
Logan Perkins, a Denver, Colorado beer enthusiast who has tried nearly 5000 beers in 45 states, 21 European countries and 5 Asian nations. He has conducted extensive travels across then US since 2008, visiting America’s breweries and beer towns. Perkins was a 2007 Beerdrinker of the Year finalist and 2009 semifinalist.
His philosophy of beer drinking: “Drinking beer is about enhancing the quality of life through flavors, feelings and friends. I love beer alone, but especially enjoy sharing it with others. I believe in handling, collecting and tasting beers with the same respect as a wine lover. I try to keep everything in moderation, including moderation itself.”
His home beer bar: Falling Rock Taphouse, Denver, Colorado
And finally your 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year award winner, William “Bill” Howell
William Howell, a Sterling, Alaska college administrator, retired Navy officer, homebrewer, and beer educator. In 2007 he created a new course for Kenai Peninsula College entitled The Art and History of Brewing, and has traveled extensively across Alaska and the West in pursuit of great beer. He also serves as an ally for various beer retailers and journalists, and blogs about his state’s rich beer culture.
His beer philosophy: “I have been a lover of craft beers since 1984 and a homebrewer since 1989. Since my retirement from active duty I’ve been really been able to “get serious” about beer. I decided it was time to start giving something back to the world of craft beer that had given me so much.”
His home beer bar: Elias Brewing Company in Soldotna, AK
When Edward W. Wynkoop came here in 1858, this was Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory. The governor of the territory, James Denver, named Wynkoop to be its first sheriff. A nice pay-back came when the city was organized here and Wynkoop proposed that it be named for the Kansas governor.
In 1860, a local newspaper published these nice words about Ned Wynkoop (as he was called): "Ned is considered by his personal friends a warm and genial companion, true as steel." We like to think that the same could be said of the pub that bears his name.
Ned Wynkoop was also an actor. In 1861, the Rocky Mountain News reviewed his performance at the Apollo: "His rendition of the Drunkard was given with most thrilling effect and in the scenes of delirium... he exhibited more than an ordinary histrionic ability." Let this be a lesson to us all. [more] –source, Wyknoop Brewing Company