OT: Fightin' Hokies Lager wins Silver Medal in Australia

Virginia Tech beer awarded silver medal

🍻 Cheers to Virginia Tech and Hardywood Brewing

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.


Cheers to them, right on the heels of winning a silver at the VCBG awards.

EDIT: I assumed that Fightin' Hokies Lager won the Pale Euro Lager table, but it looks like it placed 2nd. The below were my thoughts on the Helles that won 2nd overall. I did not judge the Pale Euro Lager table so I didn't judge Fightin' Hokies Lager.
Maybe I shouldn't be broadcasting this, but I sat on the Best of Show table for that competition. I was particularly impressed with how well the beer held up over time as we discussed the 30 or so beers that each won their table. Most beers start showing some flaws as they warm and lose carbonation, but this Helles stayed clean (no fermentation flaws) and kept that nice crisp yet soft malt character without feeling flabby.
I was surprised when I learned it was this beer 😅

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Out of curiosity, how many judges were there and did you get to choose your preferred style? Of the 4 we submitted, there was only 1 judge that did more than one of the beers.

Tough to get an exact number on judges. It seemed like 20 or so each session. Some repeated across weekends, others didn't. So maybe a grand total of 40 or so volunteer judges? I can say there is always a strain to get enough judges (especially certified or higher) for any local competition - commercial or homebrew.

We are allowed to choose preferred/non-preferred styles. Most judges don't end up doing it from what I've noticed. So the competition coordinator does a good job of mixing up which judges do what. And Best Of Show always includes several of the highest ranking and more experienced judges and then I was voluntold as an extra body to participate.

This competition can be difficult to enter and also judge because the brewers are forced to enter beer into a specific style and they're judged to that guideline (e.g. an American IPA falls within these parameters). And at a commercial scale, a lot of beer, even if it's awesome, doesn't necessarily meet those guidelines. But it's one of the better ways judge beer with a little less subjectivity. Even if a judge hates hazy IPAs, they shouldn't grade a beer poorly if it checks all of the hazy IPA boxes.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I went through the BJCP choose and got certified to help with competitions, but then two kids came along and I can't get the time away to chip in. I figure in a couple years they will be a bit more self dependent and have their own interests and I can get back into judging again. right now I just harshly judge my own

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

Oh don't sweat it. Judging is in a volunteer capacity. I'm also becoming more and more jaded about the whole process so I've been pulling back.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I have not gotten any of my judging sheets back yet.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

I got them back on the 10th, it was sent to the same email that registered the beers.

I too look forward to seeing ours as well. We really like getting feed back. Got a few more changes to make and then scale up will be complete. Next up will be dealing with malt supply issues

Malt and bottles have been my supply headaches.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Beerfest shall always receiven ze leggen!

What a savings

And there's a chance that things'll get weird
Yeah, that's a possibility


Never Forget #1 Overall Seed UVA 54, #64 UMBC 74

That's some good stuff

I believe it also won silver for European Lagers in the Virginia Beer Cup last week.

Edit: Here's the complete list of awards. I think a TKPer is also represented too.

Edit edit: looks like vtdirk beat me to it. Guess I know what I'll be drinking.

If you feel the leather in your hand let it rip.

Wouldn't be surprised if it's multiple TKPers that won, we have a good brewing science program and a general love of beer/brewing on this site.

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!

you don't say...

I am not sure what to do with my hands now

Thanks for posting the list. Nice to see some Western Loudoun breweries represented! Barnhouse, Black Hoof, and Bear Chase are some of our local favorites.

"Those who jump into the void owe no explanation to those who stand and watch."

2022 Season Challenge: Wrasslin'
Previous Challenges: Star Wars (2019), Marvel (2020), Batman (2021)

Still pretty impressive

Reach for Excellence!

VT Football: It'll get after ya!

Proud Hokie since 2004.

Please submit your CV for community review Richard.

I loved the bottle, and the label. But the beer? not so much....

but maybe I don't know beer.../

For the type of beer that it is, its pretty good. If you tend to prefer IPAs or have had you palate shot by drinking too many IPAs then this beer may just taste like flavored water.

It is a fine example of a helles.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

It's OK. not much taste, but not a bitter last sip like a bad helles

Must go well with shrimp on da barbie...

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

His decision was made after a phone call with longtime Virginia Tech assistant coach Bud Foster. All Foster told him was, "We win. They don't."

It's pretty good. I was able to pick some up at Kroger in Virginia Beach.

I should've kept some of the cans

Their standards must be low in Australia. If it didn't say hokies on it, most on here couldn't distinguish it from a yeungling or other meh beer

I'm gonna differ here. I understand you don't like the style but, It's very different from Yeungling and most other "meh" beers.

Its quite different, but it's a style many just don't care about. It sells very well and is a style that's not easy to brew. With this small amount of subtle hop and relatively clean yeast, there's nothing to hide any errors.

These competitions are not a contest to see which beer one likes better. It's a competition to make a beer well done for that particular style. This beer did well in the competition against others in that same style.

Here is the definition for that style, as defined in the United States.

4A. Munich Helles
Overall Impression

A clean, malty, gold-colored German lager with a smooth grainy-sweet malty flavor and a soft, dry finish. Subtle spicy, floral, or herbal hops and restrained bitterness help keep the balance malty but not sweet, which helps make this beer a refreshing, everyday drink.

Medium yellow to pale gold. Clear. Persistent creamy white head.


Moderate grainy-sweet malt aroma. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral, or herbal hop aroma. While a clean aroma is most desirable, a very low background note of DMS is not a fault. Pleasant, clean fermentation profile, with malt dominating the balance. The freshest examples will have more of a malty-sweet aroma.


Moderately malty start with the suggestion of sweetness, moderate grainy-sweet malt flavor with a soft, rounded palate impression, supported by a low to medium-low hop bitterness. The finish is soft and dry, not crisp and biting. Low to moderately-low spicy, floral or herbal hop flavor. The malt dominates the hops in the palate, finish, and aftertaste, but the hops should be noticeable. There should not be any residual sweetness, simply the impression of maltiness with restrained bitterness. Very fresh examples will seem sweeter due to the fresh, rich malt character that can fade with time. Clean fermentation profile.


Medium body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, well-lagered character.


A fully-attenuated Pils malt showcase, Helles is a malt-accentuated beer that is not overly sweet, but rather focuses on malt flavor with underlying hop bitterness in a supporting role. Export examples can quickly lose some of the rich malt character that often suggests sweetness. Helles in Munich tends to be lighter in all aspects than those outside the city, which can be more assertive with more body, flavor, and hop character.

Created in Munich in 1894 at the Spaten brewery to compete with pale Pilsner-type beers. Currently the most popular style in Southern Germany.
Characteristic Ingredients

Continental Pilsner malt, traditional German Saazer-type hop varieties, clean German lager yeast.
Style Comparison

Similar in malt balance and bitterness to Munich Dunkel, but less malty-sweet in nature and pale rather than dark. More body and malt presence than a German Pils, with less hop character throughout. Similar malt profile as a German Exportbier, but with less hops in the balance.
Vital Statistics

16 - 22

3 - 5

1.044 - 1.048

1.006 - 1.012

4.7% - 5.4%
Commercial Examples
Augustiner Lagerbier Hell, Bürgerbräu Wolznacher Hell Naturtrüb, Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold, Löwenbraü Original, Paulaner Premium Lager, Spaten Premium Lager, Weihenstephaner Original.


This is going to be great for the ACC.

Augustiner Brau Edelstoff lager is absolutely fantastic. Probably one of the top three beers I've ever had. Had it the first time actually at Augustiner Brau in Munich and was blown away. Helles is a perfect style to me. A bit of maltiness, nice hoppy bite, light body and low ABV.

And Augustiner may or may not have been a part of inspiration for the Hokie Helles.... and set high expectations. Perhaps a target to attain. Many trips to all the Augustine's beer halls and gartens in Munich. Some of how good something is has to do with the surroundings, experience can greatly affect taste. Food and beer are emotional, and not always rational.

Was this beer perchance brewed with a Barley malt that shares a name with a famous body of water?

This is going to be great for the ACC.

Holy Chit Egbert, you've got me a bit stumped! Hmmm, all malt from DE. Also would love to get my hands on some Steffi malt. Spent a day at Riegele with the brewmaster and that was fantastic and very inspiring.


This is going to be great for the ACC.

Ah yes, the vaunted "2 row pale" river.

Commercial Examples
...Löwenbraü Original...

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

And if you notice Weihenstephan Original was gold just in front of the silver award ... and they've been brewing with an over 1000 year head start! Not bad company. Also an inspiration.