Now maybe I can get some sleep, get some work done...maybe buy the children a present. Brace yourself for a very long post setting out the final prize winners and runners-up for the UK, the United States as well as Canada plus, waaaay down there a final announcement of the grand prize winner. Jeff will also be posting his thoughts today with special focus on the wonderful UK winners. I have also taken some time to explain the choices we made and invite your to share your thoughts about these photos as well as all those other entries in these four galleries.
- gallery one - 118 photos of great promise.
- gallery two - 119 photos of rare perception.
- gallery three - 151 photos of commanding voice.
- gallery four - 136 photos of the wisdom of the ages.
So with thanks to all, especially the great beer people who have pledged prizes, and remembering we can click on every photo - here we go...
Canadian Runner-up: Rob Curran presented us with a particular problem. I had no idea what some of his pictures were about. You will find all 21 of his submissions in this group. They are all from a central European beer trip. The one I picked out of the lot, the scene as one approaches to Kaltenberg Schlossbrauerei in Munich, may not be your favorite but for me it captures that moment when the traveler walks up to something unfamiliar - in this case something that looks like a cross between the castle of the faerie queen and that of a vampire. In addition, Rob wrote at length and with great excitement about the photos because, as he says:
...As you may recall from a "Creemore" related thread on your blog quite sometime ago, I work as a Brewer for Creemore Springs. For a great number of years my colleagues have been attending the American Craft Brewer's Conference. Not being a traveler... I chose not to attend. I was approached...[to see]... if I would be interested in attending one of the mothers of all trade shows [Brau in Nurnberg]. My heart lept [even though I did not have a passport] and I felt I would pass up the opportunity to attend the A.C.B.C. 10 times over, just to go to Germany once.
So not only does the set represent a moment in the life of the beer traveler, it represents the opportunity of a lifetime for a brewer who has helped lead the Canadian craft brew revolution. For that Rob Curran wins a prize of a hoodie from Full Sail Brewing Company Hood River, Oregon as well as a t-shirt, hat, and 4 pint glasses of Laurelwood Brewing Company Portland, Oregon
Canadian First Prize: This prize goes to someone perhaps at the entirely opposite end of the craft beer scene. Dinghao Pan is a student from China who is studying in Oshawa, Ontario. He took some pictures at a microbrewery bar while he was traveling in Quebec city with my friend James and thought they would be a good addition to our collective photo album. I liked all his pictures which you can find in this gallery but this one nailed it. He is clearly in a bar on the patio but the background is well out of focus. He is with others given the number of beers but they are not seen. We just see the beer caught in a moment of sunshine. The beer glasses rest at jaunty angles, making them look as cheery as the day. The colours compliment each other. The head of the nearest looks like cream. But the middle glass holds the focus, the sweaty beads of condensation telling the tale - hot day on patio with friends sharing great beer. For that, Dinghao Pan wins a prize of a basket of goodies Roland + Russell, importers, as well as a subscription for one year to All About Beer magazine.
United States Runner-up: Again, there is a tie between two photos supplied by one winner, Joel Armato of the prize-giving New Holland Brewing Company....or rather as he explains it:
I am Dr. Joel and I run a beer blog at www.grainbill.blogspot.com and i am also a Beer Ambassador from Michigan's New Holland Brewing Company...You can see all of Dr. J's submissions in this gallery. Joel has taken photos around the workplace and obviously has an interest in the way light and dark both pervades this environment. In the one to the right, we see the steam and the shadow. The dulled outline of the window contrasts with the crisp outline of the equipment. It is a bit eerie but a bit sleepier, too.
Compared to that, to the left, we have the quiet of the casks doing their slow business in the dark. You will have to click on the photo to see the detail which is all there. I like the composition of the photo as well, the corner of the room arcing in the lens giving a sense of the weight of the barrels. For both photos, Joel Armato wins a prize consisting of one very neato Retro Wall-Mounted Opener pledged by Steam Whistle Brewing of Toronto, Ontario as well as a subscription for one year to one year All About Beer magazine
UK Winners: I am going to let Jeff tell you more over at Stonch's Beer Blog and also, if he likes, pick which of the three goes in what order if that is even at all necessary. Due to the far more progressive laws in the United Kingston, each of these prizes winners look forward to a case of wonderful beer coming their way. Lucky lucky folk.
The first UK winner above is from James Sakal of Colchester in Essex. I love the look of the moment, the attention on the face as well as the light and the cigarette smoke. James entitled it "The Last Drag" and says it is of "two chaps enjoy a smoke with their beers for the last time. This was taken at the Hand in Hand, Brighton, days before the UK smoking ban came into force." For that, James Sakal wins a prize of 12 harder-to-find dark ales, stouts and porters from Beer-Ritz, Britain's (and Santa's) favorite online beer retailer
The next picture comes from Philip Walsh of Streatham in London. Like the one above...and the one below now that I think of it...it is a scene from a pub. One thing I have learned through my web-based relationship (there is no other way of putting it) with Jeff is that the role of the pub in Britain is not like that role of the tavern or watering hole in North America. And here we have the glowing bar, the other source of warmth in addition to the hearth. For sharing that sense, Philip Walsh wins a prize of a mixed case of beers from Brew Dog.
The last of the three is to the right. Dave Wilby of Boxford in Suffolk took a moment to catch the scene at a beer fest through one of the windows. Taking his cue from the shape of the window, Dave entitled the picture "Worshipping at the Chappel Beer Festival". Here is a link to more information about the 2008 Chappel Beer Festival and his other pictures at this gallery. Notice the list of beers that you can find at the website in all those casks we see through the window. I have never been to such an event but get all Pavlovian just thinking about it. For capturing this scene, Dave Wilby wins a prize of a mixed case of beers from Brew Dog.
Grand Prize Winner: The grand prize winner of the Global 2008 Yuletide and Christmas and Hannukka and Kwanzaa (not to mention Boxing Day and New Year's Eve) Beer Blog Photo Contest and Shortbread Eating Competition is...drumrolllll!!!!