Who will be Beer Drinker of the Year 2011? Find out Feb. 26 in Denver
on 16/02/11 at 11:13 amBeer
James Clark didn’t drink his first beer until he was 31. The Springfield resident grew up in Texas as a “charismatic fundamentalist,” he says. “They were teetotalers.”
But in 1995, while stationed in Germany (he’s a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force), he decided to immerse himself in the local culture. And thus began a love affair with malt and hops that’s culminated with Clark being named one of three finalists for the Beerdrinker of the Year award, a title bestowed by the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in Denver each winter.
During the last weekend of this month, Clark will travel to Denver where a panel of beer experts (including several previous winners), garbed in black robes and powdered wigs, will grill him to determine whether he is beer-savvy enough to serve as a roving ambassador for the craft beer industry.
If he wins, he gets to drink free for life at Wynkoop, plus he receives a $250 bar tab credit at his local watering hole, Ri Ra in Arlington, a shirt proclaiming him Beerdrinker of the Year. The latter is “a great conversation starter at parties and a golden ticket at all beer events,” says Marty Jones, self-proclaimed “cheers leader and idea man” for Wynkoop, which has been holding the contest for the past 15 years.
To qualify, Clark had to submit a curriculum vitae of his elbow-bending experiences. “I had a great year last year,” he says. According to his resume, he visited 17 breweries, attended more than a dozen beer festivals and held beer events at his home that welcomed as many as 160 people. And that was just in 2010.