The Pennsylvania Medal – My 50 State Medal Pursuit

My Pennsylvania medal was obtained at the 2023 Buzz Off Homebrew Competition held by the “Brewers United for Zany Zymurgy” in South-East Pennsylvania.

There were 142 entries in this competition, so it was smaller than I expected, looking at the past year’s statistics. This lower number can be both good and bad news. The good news side is that there are fewer beers to compete against overall. The bad news is that categories are typically combined, making the number of beers to compete again in the first round can be much higher.

I entered three beers into this competition, a Scottish Heavy, a Black IPA, and a Witbier.

I felt the Scottish Heavy was my best shot of all three entries. It’s done well in the Florida circuit so far, and it’s a beer I love to drink. My second best shot, in my opinion, was the Black IPA. It lacks a bit of hop flavor compared to its aroma, but it’s also been doing well in Florida, so it seemed like a good contender. My Witbier was far and away the wildcard. It smells and tastes good, but both aroma and flavor are very, if not extremely, light. It’s one of those beers that does much better being the 1st or 2nd in a flight before the judge’s palates are completely dialed in on those distinct Belgian characters.

Of the three entries, only the Black IPA won a medal – a silver in the “I Can See Clearly Now the Hazy is gone,” a category of all IPAs except Hazy IPAs. While I thought if any beers would place, it would be the Scottish Heavy, I will never complain about a win. And of all the beer names, this was the most fun to hear read out loud. 

I have a clip from the awards announcements calling out my medal while making a room full of people laugh, which is a pretty good feeling:

Having been born and raised in Pennsylvania, I was eager to get a PA competition medal early on this quest while I’m still motivated, and having it from a competition not too far from where I grew up is a great bonus.

Thanks to everyone that put together Buzz Off 2023! It takes a lot of work to pull off these competitions, no matter the size, and I genuinely appreciate it!


Track the progress of this pursuit here, at the the 50 State Medal Tracker Page.

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