Three Years After: Cesar goes to Boston

Last week, Cesar Marron (SB's head brewer and founder), was invited to judge the Sam Adams Longshot American Homebrew Award--the very same award he won back in 2013.  That award brought essential credibility to the launch of Sketchbook,  which was already in the planning stages.

(BTW, our version of his award-winning beer is currently on tap: Grodziskie, a unique Polish smoked wheat).  

Here's the slightly goofy label that beer was marketed with...

Jim Koch and the folks at Sam Adams have followed what's happening here at Sketchbook, and Ces felt super honored to part of Longshot again.  

In his own words--here's what Cesar has to say:

"So fun returning to Boston--I can't believe it's been three years, though if you look at this picture Amy and I look so young and naive. Way before I knew what was involved in running a brewery...

The hospitality of the Sam Adams team continues to blow my mind.  The fact that one of America's largest craft breweries so consistently supports the 'little guy' brewing in his/her basement is fabulous. And the tanks and fermenters: they have the beer tour down to an art. And they keep innovating--their plum saison was a beauty. 

One of the benefits of course was hanging with Jim Koch, Sam Adams founder, along with some of my other 'celebrity' judges, Jason Alström (BeerAdvocate), John Holl (All About Beer), Tony Fordor (Ale Street News), Mike Robinson (Newburyport Brewing Co), and Norm Miller (Beer Nut).

They were super supportive and interested in Sketchbook, and said kind words about the brews I brought to share. (Great coincidence that Jason had just posted an enthusiastic review about our Brabant; fun to be able to discuss that beer in person).

Judging the few national finalists was insightful--a great way to get a snap-shot of what folks at the homebrew level are focusing on these days.  

One of the highlights was when Jason  Alström tasted our beers and said "These guys are doing great beer.”  Jason invited us to a beer festival. Can't wait! Later that day... I don't remember precisely what we were discussing in this picture--but it looks like I'm failing to convince Jim about something.


There's been a lot of talk about quality control in the beer world lately--and everyone was talking about that (along with tales of the big guys gobbling up the small guys of course!). Jim Koch and I talked about age issues around bottling, which can be complex.

My take-away from Boston? Sketchbook's grow-it-slow and keep-it-local approach is working, so let's not fix it.  The fact that we sell the majority of our beer to neighbors who drink brews within a month of their creation....well that makes me happy!  Yes, we're distributing bottles now, but still with a local focus. As the craft beer world continues to grow and competition heats up, Shawn and I and our team hope we can count on Sketchbook's fans to come to the source."


Alice George