College administrator and retired Navy officer wins 14th annual beer lover title at Wynkoop Brewing Company
(Denver, Colorado) – Bill Howell, a Sterling, Alaska college administrator, retired Navy officer, homebrewer and beer educator, won the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year title on February 27 at Wynkoop Brewing Company.
Before a standing-room-only crowd, Howell weathered two hours of difficult beer questions from a panel of US beer experts and former Beerdrinker winners to win the title.
He faced stiff competition from two fellow finalists, Phil Farrell of Cumming, GA and Logan Perkins of Denver, Colorado.
“I’m in shock,” Howell said after winning the title. “This is an incredible honor, I’m just trying to get my head around this thing.”
Howell’s local beer bar is St. Elias Brewing Company in Soldotna, AK
In his opening statements in the competition, Howell admitted that he couldn’t match the beer drinking experiences of his competitors, both of whom have extensive beer travels in their beer resumes.
But Howell impressed the judges with his knowledge of beer-making and beer styles, and his work to bring more Alaskans into the beer family. “I worked hard to convey my passion for beer to the judges, “Howell said, “and I played to my strengths as a beer ambassador.”
"All three of these guys were great candidates,” said Cody Christman, the 2009 winner and a judge at Saturday’s finals. “But Bill really excelled on the technical questions about beer, and we were impressed by his efforts in finding great beer in such a remote part of the country. We also liked his wit and his beer-education efforts in his community."
In 2007 Howell created a new course for Kenai Peninsula College (where he works) entitled The Art and History of Brewing. “I teach students that beer is not a commodity or a means to an end,” Howell says. “Beer is very special and has a rich history, it’s something to be savored and appreciated.”
Last year Howell traveled across Alaska and the West in pursuit of great beer, and served as an ally for various beer retailers and journalists in his area. In his beer resume he spoke of his 25-year affection for beer and homebrewing, and his desire to repay a debt of sorts.
“Since my retirement from active duty,” he wrote, “I’ve really been able to get serious about beer. I decided it was time to start giving something back to the world of craft beer that had given me so much.”
Howell wins free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, $250 worth of beer at his local beer bar, and clothing proclaiming him the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year. He will have his name engraved on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy.
He also gets to brew a custom batch of beer of his own recipe with Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown. The beer will be served at next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year finals.
“I hope to use the title to further craft beer,” Howell says, “and draw attention to Alaska’s beer culture.”
The resume review panel for the 2010 Beerdrinker of the Year search was comprised of the nation’s top beer writers and beer experts, and previous Beerdrinker of the Year winners.
For interviews with Howell and more information contact Marty Jones here or call 303-860-7448.