Here’s another installment of Ballard on Beer, brought to you by our officially-sanctioned beer guy, T. Ballard Lesemann.

The results are in. Local brew club Lowcountry Libations’ Charles Town Homebrew Competition — Charleston’s first officially sanctioned homebrew competition — drew 69 entries from local and regional homebrewers for a judging held on Sat. March 7. Lowcountry Libations conducted the event according to specific guidelines of the American Homebrewers Association’s official beer score sheet.

Two dozen certified beer judges and brewing enthusiasts — pocket flashlights, pencils, and AHA-approved guideline literature in hand — convened in Coast Brewing Co.’s main store room for the all-day session. Several drove in from Savannah, Bluffton, and Columbia. Seated at neatly-arranged, cloth-covered tables, the judges took their time and deliberated carefully. Through two flights of judging, they debated the technical merits, appearance, condition, aroma, flavor, balance, and appropriateness of style (for the category entered) of each entry, constructively criticizing or praising each one with comments on the score sheets.

From Auburn, Ala., Scott Johnson won Best in Show with “Scotty’s Kölsch,” a delicate, golden-colored German-style ale that scored an “outstanding” score of 45 points out of 50. Charlotte brewer Thomas Vasoll’s “Smoke Bomb,” a bold specialty lager made with smoked barley malts, took second place overall in the classic Rauchbier category. For a complete list of  winners (by style category), visit

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