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Misfit Home-Brewers Land Top Prize at New Times Beerfest

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If there was one big winner from Saturday night's Beerfest, it was the small brewer. The home brewers and the upstarts took home a couple of the biggest prizes from our Clean Plate Charlie awards, a remarkable feat considering the megabrewers that were present.

Here, then, are our winners from the 15th-annual New Times Beerfest:

Best Overall Brew
Buddha's Sweat American Stout
Misfit Home-Brewers

The men from Misfit outdid themselves this year, serving up 105 gallons of home-brewed beer. It's worth noting

that Misfit does this for no other reason than bragging rights -- the

lineup of beers it offered are not for sale anywhere. But even without

that good will, Buddha's Sweat was a hell of a beer. Sure, they had

some other great ones, like the Bust-a-Nut Porter (a winner from last year's Beerfest), a watermelon-infused number, and the vanilla

stout. But the Buddha's Sweat was the most refined of them all, with hints

of coffee, chocolate, and tobacco. It had just the right carbonation and

a sweet-sour aftertaste. Slap a fancy corporate label on Buddha's

Sweat and you'd have a beer that would be a proud offering from any of

the big breweries.

Best Florida Brew
Brown Spice
Cerve Tech

No

doubt this brew had the oddest serving contraption. The Brown Spice

flowed through a clear holding tank the size of a small coffee machine,

where it was infused with a second batch of hops and -- this is the

killer -- watermelon-flavored Jolly Ranchers. The result was a nutty,

spicy lager topped off with a hint of fruit, citrus, and sweet. It sounds

crazy, tasted delicious, and we wanted more. Cerve Tech

is an upstart company that offers a unique idea: It brews beer

and serves it at your next party. A novel concept -- and certainly a

novel beer.

Best Import Brew

Zywiec

This is Beerfest, after all, an event where you get to drink all the

damned beer you want. So we'd be remiss not to include an easy-drinking

crowd favorite. Zywiec has all the malty familiarity of the beers you

downed back in school, but European hops give it a distinct bite. And

beyond all that is a sweetness that sure tastes a lot like honey. Easy

to drink and tastes like honey? Thanks for sending this across the pond,

Poland.

Best American Brew
Brooklyn Brewery
Local 2

It's easy to sound like a beer snob describing the complex Local 2,

so we'll let Brooklyn's website take over: "Here in Brooklyn we've

combined European malt and hops, Belgian dark sugar, and raw wildflower

honey from a New York family farm to create Brooklyn Local 2. Our

special Belgian yeast adds hints of spice to the dark fruit, caramel,

and chocolate flavors. After 100% bottle re-fermentation, the beer

reveals a marvelous dry complexity, enjoyable by itself or at the dinner

table." Yeah, what they said. Brooklyn puts Local 2 in large bottles

with a champagne-style cork, showing that this is indeed one special

beer.


Eric Barton is editor of

New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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