“All three of the finalists were worthy of the 2012 title,” said Jack McDougall, Wynkoop’s first Beerdrinker of the Year and another finals judge. “But in the past year J. showed a total dedication to beer that won us over.”
Wilson outlasted Warren Monteiro (a New York City freelance writer, beer traveler, homebrewer and beer journalist) and Greg Nowatzki, (a Las Vegas, Nevada accountant, home brewer and beer judge) to win the crown.
How deep was Wilson’s dedication to beer? In 2011 Wilson fasted for 46 days on just water and a dopplebock he brewed with Eric Sorenson and the Rock Bottom Brewery & Restaurant in West Des Moines. (No, we don’t recommend such a diet!) His experience became a book, Diary of a Part-Time Monk, and landed him national attention.
It also helped him win the mighty BDoY title. “With the fast and the book and my other efforts it’s been a very big beer year,” Wilson said after being crowned. “To have it all lead to my winning the Beerdrinker of the Year title, it’s very satisfying. It’s a validation of everything that has happened this past year.”
Wilson is the first Beerdrinker winner to hail from the nation’s heartland, and he lives in a rural area far removed from a rich beer culture. “I don’t live near any beer mecca and I’m a 90-minute drive from a city with a brewery,” he says. “But you can win this contest by doing things in your own community.”
At the finals, Wilson discussed his philosophy for a life rich with beer. ”Having a balance is all important,” he said. “I love beer. But I also truly love my family, and in the grand scheme of things that’s far more important.”
Wilson has a 3-tap, 8-foot home bar supplied by a 10-gallon brewing system in his basement. An advocate for beer for 15 years, he organized numerous beer events in his home state in 2011. (Read his beer blog at www.brewvana.net .)
Winning the title will help him further those efforts. “This will certainly help me with my writings and my beer blog,” Wilson says. “I want to continue spreading the gospel of great beer to those who’ve not been converted.”
He sports a tattoo of a brewer’s mash paddle on his right forearm.
“There’s much good beer in Iowa,” Wilson noted, “but people don’t here enough about it.”
Wilson wins free beer for life at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, $250 worth of beer at his local beer bar (El Bait Shop in Des Moines, Iowa) and clothing proclaiming him the 2012 Beerdrinker of the Year.
He’ll have his name engraved on Wynkoop’s Beerdrinker of the Year trophy, and will brew a special batch of beer with Andy Brown that will be served at next year’s Beerdrinker of the Year event.
While in Denver (at Wynkoop’s expense), Wilson and the other two finalists enjoyed ultra-plush lodging at Denver’s famed Brown Palace Hotel.
Think you have what it takes to win the 2013 BDoY title? Start chronicling your 2012 beer adventures now and send us your beer resume by December 31, 2012.
Hit this link to see Wilson’s very impressive 2012 beer resume.