Texas is a great place to visit in the fall; especially if you live here in Oregon, where the air gets nippy and signs of winter creep in. Not so Houston, because in late October that fair city has everything we rain-enriched folks could want. The temperature is somewhere around 75 to 80 degrees, and the sun shines, but not all that diligently (October sunshine is an oxymoron in Oregon).
All that changed when the Boston homebrew Wort Processors showed up in 1994 with anatomically correct inflatable sheep.
I have been going to Houston every fall since 1987. Free. Well, actually I go there for my free T-shirt. One with my picture on the front. I have a full set of these T-shirts. The occasion is the Dixie Cup―since 1983, the nation’s second largest homebrew competition and one of the oldest. The competition draws something over 700 entries each year from across the country.
Of course, the Dixie Cup is far more than a mere homebrew contest. It is a mini-conference with world-class brewing luminaries. Over the years, we’ve had Fritz Maytag (with a slide show!), Pierre Celis, George Fix, Dave Miller, and Ray Daniels, just to name a few. There are always two, and sometimes three, pub crawls, AND the homebrew judging. My job is to hang around and babble about this or that, answer questions on esoteric topics, have my image on the official T-shirt, and, as I noted on these pages in the December issue, conduct the annual Beer and WHAT! tasting.