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Underdog Brewing Competition

Brew a great beer with our UnderDog hop, Comet!

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

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

Show us what you can do!

Register Competition Rules
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What's It All About?
All you ever need to know!


This year the Underdog hop is COMET!

In 2019, the Underdog Brewing Competition is all about the skilled brewer. We are inviting 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. This competition bans the use of the most popular hop varieties used in craft brewing and instead gives you the opportunity to show what you can do with an under-used, full-of-potential hop. Through your understanding of this particular hop and a skilful use of ingredients, the victor will brew a beer that delivers a balanced, flavourful beer displaying the essence and spirit of Comet.

We want you to make a pale ale style beer that uses at least 50% Comet, contains none of the most popular hop varieties and showcases the Comet variety at its best. To understand the full challenge, make sure you read the rules before you brew!.

You’re battling for an incredible prize worth a total of £12,500! The winning brewery takes £2500, and then we’ll make sure you get the access to a year of experiences and knowledge that most brewers only dream of. Using a £10,000 travel fund, you’ll be joining us (expenses paid) at some of the greatest craft industry events around. From tasting incredible beers at one of Europe’s top festivals to appraising and selecting the finest of the 2019 US hop harvest, it’s going to be busy, informative and simply fantastic!

Additionally, as our ambassador for beer excellence, we’ll also be giving you and your brewery maximum exposure by pouring your winning beer at our events and offering you regular promotion through our digital and social media platforms. And finally: You’ll get your name engraved on the best trophy ever created. Priceless.

What do you need to do?

We want you to brew a beer that showcases the floral fruitiness of the unusually long-coned Comet. The acceptable beer styles include all iterations of the Pale Ale, from a session pale, a blonde ale, a crazy hazy or an enormous DIPA, we want you to brew the beer that you feel makes the best of the hop’s attributes. (Some tasting notes on Comet follow this section.)

  1. Register for the competition online before 11:59pm GST 31st January, 2019.
  2. On registration, we will issue you with a one-time use code allowing you to purchase up to 25kg of Comet with a 20% discount from our Simply Hops webshop.
  3. Once you have your Comet hops, brew a great "pale ale style" beer.
  4. Send your precious beery creation and completed submission form to us before the deadline on Wednesday 20th March, 2019.

Judging Criteria

All beers will be judged using the blind tasting method by an independent panel of industry professionals using the following criteria:

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

The following criteria will NOT be considered:

  • The visual appearance of the beer.
  • The bottle labelling.
  • 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. As a suggested guideline, the following BJCP beer styles are the most appropriate for this competition:

  • 12A British Golden Ale
  • 12B Australian Sparkling Ale
  • 12C English IPA
  • 18A Blonde Ale
  • 18B American Pale Ale
  • 21A American IPA
  • 21B Specialty IPAs (includes Belgian, Black, Brown, Red, Rye, White)
  • 22A Double IPA
  • 22B American Strong Ale
  • 24B Belgian Pale Ale

View complete descriptions of the previous styles at the following document: https://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf

So What Is Comet Like?

It was originally bred as a high-alpha variety, but Comet is also used for aroma and flavour as it is an especially floral and fruity variety. The main flavour attributes you’ll notice in a Comet beer are elderflower, gooseberry, quince and bergamot. Besides elderflower, its aroma is also heavy on citrus, red fruits and green fruits, with some light herbal and grassy notes. In the raw hop aroma, the mandarin, lemongrass and floral geranium is balanced with green apple and resin components. For info and definitions of these descriptors, refer to the Barth-Haas Uniform Tasting Scheme and the 2018 Harvest Guide at the following links.