The 2010 LongShot sixpack includes "Blackened Hops," a Cascadian IPA (or, if you'll forgive the oxymoron, a Black India Pale Ale) by Lombard resident Rodney Kibzey. Kibzey had previously won the 2007 LongShot with a Weizenbock, which hit store shelves in 2008.
Rodney appeared at Lombard's Famous Liquors on April 2, where he autographed bottles and was treated like, maybe not so much a rock star as an indie rock star. Sam Adams representatives were on hand to sample out their Latitude 48 IPA as well, and Famous also had a wine and cheese tasting in store (Stilton! Yum!).
Between autographing, handing out Sam Adams hats and pouring samples,Rodney answered a few of my beer geek questions:
MM: Doesn’t the name “Blackened Hops” seem a little misleading? It sounds like the hops themselves have been toasted to a crisp.
Rodney: Well, a lot people like to call it “Cascadian Dark Ale,” I just like to call it “beer goodness.”
MM: I assume you’ve been entering the LongShot competitions since they started. Were the organizers at Sam Adams surprised that you’d won your second one?
Rodney: Yeah, a lot of people we’re shocked. They’re like “Not again!” But they picked the best beers, and the cream always rises to the top.
MM: Have you done this “tour” the last time, too? Are all the winners doing this kind of thing?
Rodney: Usually they do it out of choice. I live local, in Lombard, I usually come here to Famous Liquors, so I'm kind of giving back to the community.
MM: So the Sam Adams people just said, “If you want to do this, we’ll come out?”
Rodney: Yeah. The people in the store know me, I come in here periodically, and they said yeah, we want you to come back and do a pouring.
MM: So what are you thinking of for the next contest? Or are they going to force you retire and rename the contest after you?
Rodney: Well, I think I'm kind of done. I've said to myself before I won this year’s contest, that win, lose or draw, this is it. The next step would probably be to go pro.
For those who think the playing field might be a bit more level this year, Sam Adams is now taking entries for the 2011 LongShot. The rules and links to enter are here.