MCAB – Masters Chamionship of Amateur Brewing

Written by John Peed,
Former MCAB Organizer/Director:

The Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing ( MCAB) is “that other” annual national championship of homebrewing.

The big daddy, of course, is the American Homebrewers Association’s National Homebrew Competition. There’s plenty of room for both, and the two complement each other well. MCAB kicked off in1998, spearheaded by Louis Bonham, one of Houston’s most active and successful homebrewers at the time.

Some things have changed along the way, but the basis for and of MCAB has remained the same: several Qualifying Events (QE’s) are well distributed around North America and all across the calendar year, and entrants try to qualify for the MCAB finals by placing first in any of the twenty eligible style categories in any of the QE’s – not an easy thing to do, considering that these are some of the largest, most competitive, best-judged independent competitions.

Those who qualify may then enter the finals event, which is usually held the following February or March. This format provides a venue for serious homebrew competition throughout the year. The hope is that the prestige of the annual event will draw large numbers of highly qualified judges.

MCAB XII, the finals for 2009, will take place on March 6, 2010 at Highland Brewing Company in Asheville, NC. The host club is responsible for everything from on-line entry to judging; for MCAB XII, the host is MALT, Asheville’s Mountain Ale and Lager Tasters. MALT’s own Blue Ridge Brew Off is one of the premier qualifying events, with excellent organization and very responsive service to its entrants.

Starting this year MCAB is soliciting sponsorship to fund top quality awards. The medals for MCAB XII are large and handsome, with enamel background and a clear epoxy fill, featuring gold, silver or bronze-colored MCAB crown logos. Two special etched glass awards – Grand Master and Grand Champion – will go to Best of Show and most medal points, respectively. Each medalist will also receive a handsome polo shirt, ordered to specific size, with the MCAB crown logo color-coded to reflect the highest medal place won.

MCAB has several goals. One is premium awards. Another is to help raise awareness of and participation in the independent Qualifying Events. Most important, perhaps, is responsive service to entrants: we will strive toward having all our competitions give plenty of advance notice to entrants, provide on-line entry, say where the results will be posted and post them promptly, and return score sheets and awards promptly.

We also want good judging, and are looking into ways to measure that. We want MCAB to be an elite event, but we don’t want it to be elitist. That is to say, we want it to be very competitive, but we want it to be open to anyone who can make the cut. And our Qualifying Events do invite any and every legal and legitimate homebrewer to enter their events.

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