Compiled by Bill Ridgely, BURP Archivist
The year 2008 began as it had the year before at McCathran Hall, the beautiful old community center of the town of Washington Grove, MD (just down the railroad tracks from Gaithersburg). Once again, BURP member Pete Ryba secured the facility as a Washington Grove resident. The theme of the meeting was Strong Ale (appropriate for a cool winter day), and festivities began with what new co-Fearless Leader Jamie Langlie described as a “devilishly tricky” blind tasting of closely related beer styles (such as porter and stout) hosted by newly-elected BURP Enlightenment Ministers Wendy Aaronson & Tom Cannon. Extra points were awarded for identifying the correct brewery of each beer featured. A number of people, including veteran BJCP judges, were stumped by some of the beers showcased. Unfortunately, the winner of the tasting was not reported in the newsletter. The club competition for strong ales was conducted by new Culture Ministers Bruce Bennett & Wendy Schmidt. There 13 entries in all: 6 Old Ales, 4 American Barleywines, and 3 English Barleywines. The judges included some of the most esteemed BJCP judges and beer experts in the club: Wendy Aaronson, Bruce Bennett, Tom Cannon, Rick Garvin, Bill Madden, & Craig Somers. The winners, announced at meetings end, were: 1st, Mel Thompson (Old Ale); 2nd, Mel Thompson (American Barleywine); and 3rd, Mike McGuire (Old Ale). Mel’s winning recipe, named “Too Big for a Brit Old Ale”, was published in the Feb 2008 issue of BURP News (available on the BURP website at https://www.burp.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Newsletter200802.pdf).
The Jan 2008 issue of BURP News featured a welcome from new club co-Fearless Leaders, Alan Hew & Jamie Langlie, outlining their ambitious plans for the upcoming year. The club’s new Culture Ministers (mentioned above) followed with an equally ambitious competition schedule for the year. They then announced that Ed Bielaus & Mel Thompson would be co-awarded the 2007 “Brewer of the Year” title, having completed the competition year with an equal number of winning points. The column finished with a very informative overview of the BJCP Strong Ale styles for the upcoming monthly competition. You can read the entire newsletter issue here: https://www.burp.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Newsletter200801.pdf.