Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Phil Farrell – 2011 Beerdrinker of the Year

He finally did it. On his fourth trip to the National Finals, Phil Farrell of Cumming, Georgia took the title of Beerdrinker of the Year at Saturday’s competition held in the Mercantile Room of the Wynkoop Brewery. All three finalists (the other two being James Clark of Springfield, Virginia and Mike Dixon of Wake Forest, North Carolina) proved that they were more than worthy to be on the national stage with their deep knowledge of all things related to beer. But in the end Phil emerged putting in a strong and consistent showing from his opening statement to the finish. He nosed ahead during the “nasty round” of questions, as well as the sensory perception segment.

This was possibly one of the most entertaining finals in years, with each of the three having the standing-room-only crowd in tears laughing at times. Mike played his southern accent to the delight of the audience, and James’ start to finish theme of Kama Sutra and beer was one of the more creative things the competition has ever seen.

Phil is a commercial pilot, homebrewer, and BJCP certified judge. In 2010 he advanced to Grand Master Beer Judge Level II – an accomplishment only 15 people have ever attained in the 25-year history of the BJCP. He has tasted beer in every country in Europe, all 50 states, and every US territory. His basement beer pub features six taps, three refrigerators and a 15-gallon brewing system. In 2010 alone he visited 32 states and 18 countries in search of beer, and logged 11,000 miles on his family’s RV.

As the winner Phil will receive, among other things, $250 to spend at his home pub (Five Seasons North in Alpharetta, Georgia), a beer brewed in his honor by the Wynkoop for next year’s competition, free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewery, and worldwide recognition. It is always tough to not win, but Mike and James should be very proud of their performance too. I am sure both will be back in the finals in the future.

In the 90 seconds Phil had for his closing statement, he pulled out his harmonica and sang a parody of Bill Joel’s “Piano Man” renamed “Chicken Man.” For those that know Phil, they understand the chicken reference. I’ve posted Phil’s lyrics below.

Congratulations Phil, and welcome to this elite club!

Chicken Man

by Phil Farrell, with apologies to Billy Joel

Its four o'clock on a Saturday,
The Beer Judges all shuffle in,
There's a rubber chicken sitting next to me,
Asking "Phil when are you going to win?"

He says Phil will you brew me that Barleywine?
I'm not really sure how it goes,
But it was big and bold before you got so old
Back when I wore feathers for clothes.

la di da diddy da......etc

Brew me a beer you're the Chicken Man,
Pour me a beer tonight,
'Cause we're all at the bar in the Wynkoop,
And beer gets us feeling all right.

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