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Underdog Brewing Competition

Brew a great beer with this year's UnderDog hop, Kazbek!

There’s just one catch... you cannot use any of the most popular hop varieties.

No Amarillo, Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Simcoe, Sabro, Vic Secret or Enigma.

Show us what you can do!

Underdog Home Register Competition Rules Winners' Circle
What's It All About?
All you could ever need to know!

This year the UnderDog hop is KAZBEK!

In 2020, the UnderDog Brewing Competition is all about the skilled brewer. We invite craft brewers across Europe and South Africa to take part in a BATTLE OF THE BEERS to show us their talent, creativity and dedication to flavour. By banning the use of the most popular and dominating hop varieties, this competition gives brewers the opportunity to show what they can do with an under-used, FULL-OF-POTENTIAL hop.

The victor will brew a beer that delivers a balanced, flavourful beer displaying the characteristics and ESSENCE of Kazbek. We offer a description of the citrusy-fruity Kazbek a bit farther down.


You’re battling for AN INSPIRING PRIZE worth £12,500! The winner takes £2500 straight away in a direct bank transfer or paid to your contract, and then we’ll make sure you get the access to a year of experiences and knowledge that most brewers only dream of. You’ll be joining us at the greatest craft industry events around- expenses paid via a £10,000 travel fund! From attending Europe’s TOP FESTIVALS all the way to touring and assessing the finest of the 2020 US HOP HARVEST, it’s going to be informative, great for your brewery’s exposure, and simply enjoyable!

Additionally, since the Champion is an ambassador for beer excellence, we’ll also be giving you and your brewery MAXIMUM EXPOSURE by pouring your winning beer at some of our events and offering you regular promotion through our digital and social media platforms. Check out the Winners’ Circle page to see previous Champions and what exceptional company you’d be in...

And finally: You’ll get your brewery’s name engraved on the best TROPHY going. Priceless.

What Do You Need To Do?

We want you to brew a beer that showcases the qualities of Kazbek, zesty lemon-lime and sweet fruit-y (tasting notes follow). Appropriate beer styles are all iterations of PALE AND HOP-FORWARD, such as IPA, golden ale, session pale, a crazy hazy or an enormous DIPA... we want you to brew a beer that you feel makes the most of this hop’s attributes. Who knows? It may turn out to be your next core beer.

  1. REGISTER for the competition online before 11:59pm GST 31st January 2020.
  2. On registration, Plucky will email you a unique code allowing you to purchase up to 25kg of Kazbek with a 15% DISCOUNT from our Simply Hops webshop.
  3. Once you have your Kazbek hops, BREW a great, hop-forward beer in a pale style which really showcases Kazbek’s qualities.
  4. Send your precious beer creation AND completed Submission Form to us before the DEADLINE on Friday 20th March, 2020.

So What Is Kazbek Like?

Kazbek is used for aroma and flavour. The main attributes you’ll notice in a Kazbek beer are CITRUS AND SWEET FRUITS, with some light notes of honey and cream caramel.

More specifically, the Kazbek citrus quality is described as zesty LEMON, SWEET ORANGE, grapefruit and lime. The citrus combines with loads of sweet fruits... you may recognize PEACH, PASSION FRUIT, pineapple and mango in Kazbek’s beautiful TROPICAL-fruit-juice aroma. In the raw hops, these qualities are joined by nuances of RASPBERRY, ginger and elderberry, and balanced with a touch of coriander, mint and lemon balm. To try some for yourself, reach out to your regular Simply Hops contact to request a 200gm sample. Supplies limited!

For info and definitions of these descriptors, refer to the BarthHaas Uniform Tasting Scheme and the 2018 Harvest Guide at the following links.

Tasting Scheme

Hop Harvest Guide Reports

Judging Criteria

All beers will be judged using a SINGLE BLIND tasting method by an independent panel of industry PROFESSIONALS using the following criteria:

  • Ability to effectively deliver typical sensory attributes of the Kazbek hop variety.
  • Ability to deliver a pleasant and balanced flavour.
  • Ability to deliver a pleasant and balanced aroma.
  • Ability to deliver a pleasant and balanced aftertaste.
  • Appropriate beer style.

The following criteria will NOT be considered in determining the UnderDog Champion:

  • The entry’s bottle/can labelling or packaging.
  • Any other factor outside the stated judging criteria.

In the event of a tie, the final decision will be made by the independent head judge.

Here are some examples of appropriate BJCP styles:

  • 12A British Golden Ale
  • 12B Australian Sparkling Ale
  • 12C English IPA
  • 18A Blonde Ale
  • 18B American Pale Ale
  • 21A American IPA
  • 21B Specialty IPAs (this includes Black, Brut, Red, Rye, White, New England...)
  • 22A Double IPA
  • 22B American Strong Ale

View complete descriptions of all beer styles in the following document: https://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf