Samuel Adams, the Massachusetts-based brewery, runs a really cool competition each year called Longshot in which home brewers from all over the country submit their beers for judging. The winning beers are then brewed by Sam Adams for national release and feature a portrait of the brewer on the label. I recently tasted a Weizenbock from a Chicago-area winner--delicious, as was a grape ale made by the winner of the Sam Adams employee homebrew competition.

Interestingly, the overall winner was a guy named Mike McDole, from nearby Clayton, CA. His Double IPA took first place and by all means should be included in the winner's six-pack (available at BevMo). However, it seems that due to a global hops shortage, Sam Adams is completely unable to purchase the seven varieties of hops needed to make this man's beer. Jim Koch, Sam Adams' founder, explains the situation in this letter. The long and short of it is that they're waiting until next year, when they can order some of these hops, to brew McDole's beer. I look forward to tasting it, and kudos to McDole for winning and to Sam Adams for running such a fun competition.