Compiled by Bill Ridgely, BURP Archivist
The annual BURP Chili Cook-Off is one of the club’s longest running events, dating from the mid-1980’s. The 22nd such event was held (and continues to be held to this day) at the residence of Dan Allers & Christina Wren in Fairfax, VA. Appropriately, the date was May 5 (Cinco de Mayo), and the weather was hot, humid, and glorious for chili making. The azaleas were also in full bloom, making for a beautiful setting. With all things coming together in such a perfect way, participation in the cook-off was at an all-time high. There were 17 teams competing in the event. As reported by BURPer (and chili chef) Trish Koch in the BURP News, the entries ranged “from veggie chili, chili verde, and chili with exotic ingredients such as cactus leaves and venison”. And there was a fair amount of “shameless self-promotion”, including giving away of mardi gras beads and, ahem, spankings (courtesy of Team Los Spankers) to all persons willing to sample the team chilis. This was also the debut of the Team Jackalope “Daiquiri Whacker”, an amazing gasoline-powered blender used, in this instance, to make vast quantities of delicious Margaritas for the crowd. By late afternoon, the hot sun had disappeared, and a spring storm dropped the temperature precipitously, but everyone stayed warm by consuming the amazing variety of wonderful chilis. At meeting’s end, winners were announced for both the chili competition and the accompanying “Best Beer with Chili” competition. Chili winners were: 1st place, Team Fio (Dave & Paul Fiorino) for “Brittany Spears Meltdown Chili; 2nd, Team Lost Spankers (Korabiks, Lees, and Maddens) for “Spankin’ Cactus Chili”; and 3rd, Team Trishiedear (Trish Koch) for “Oh Deer, Poor Bambi Chili”. The prize for “Hottest Chili” went to Team Sphincter (Rick Garvin & Christine Johnbrier) for their now-legendary “Satan’s Sphincter Chili”. Rick and Christine also won 1st place in the beer competition for their Franconian Kellerbier. Other winners in this category were Team Jackelope for their Keller Pils (2nd place) and Tim Artz for his Belgian Pale Ale (3rd place). The meeting report and some fine photos can be seen in the June 2007 issue of BURP News, available on the BURP website at https://www.burp.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Newsletter200706.pdf.
BURP’s other big event in May was the 15th annual Spirit of Free Beer homebrew competition, held at the Old Dominion Brewing Co in Ashburn, VA on May 12. There were nearly 300 entries from all parts of the country. Best of Show in the competition went to Ken Gillespie from Williamsburg, VA for his N. English Brown Ale. Ken’s recipe for this beer was subsequently published in the July 2007 issue of BURP News.
The May 2007 BURP News featured Dr Charlie Pavitt’s “Trivial Beer-Suits” column, this month dealing with interesting beer-related occupations, including “beer sommeliers” at certain fancy restaurants and Guinness “pouring specialists” who visit pubs to make sure the Guinness is being served properly. The issue finished with two rebuttals of Ben Schwalb’s “Style, Schmyle” editorial published the previous month, provided by BJCP beer judges Tom Cannon & Scott Bickham. Interestingly, Ben’s disrespect for traditional beer styles was very prescient. Today, nearly every craft brewery has a selection of non-traditional beers in its inventory. Ben foresaw the trend toward all those Imperial Cask Conditioned Cranberry and Persimmon Saisons well before others saw the writing on the wall. You can read the full issue on the BURP website at https://www.burp.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Newsletter200705.pdf.