Cuomo unveils new 'Excelsior Cup' craft beer competition

That didn't take long. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a strong and continually-pushing cheerleader for New York State's craft adult beverage industry, cooked up a Taste NY Craft Beer Challenge  in May. It involved five breweries' products in a taste-off involving a celebrity judging panel. That, it seems, was just the start of his competitive juices.

On Monday, Cuomo's office announced that this year's New York State Fair will host its first professionally judged contest for commercial beers -- the New York State Craft Beer Competition, with the top brew earning the Governor's Excelsior Cup. The statement said the aim is to promote the state's fast-growing beer industry in New York, which now has more than 340 breweries, the most since before Prohibition.

The commercial beer contest will be new to the Fair, which already hosts a homebrew competition as well as commercial and amateur wine contests. It will award gold, silver and bronze medals to the beers judged best in 20 categories, Cuomo said. Categories will include standards pale ale and lager along with a variety of and niche styles.

Judging will take place July 29 in Rochester, coordinated by the New York State Craft Brewers Association. It is open to any craft brewer located in the state. Brewers may enter more than one variety of beer. Each entry is $45. Details and entry instructions are available online.

The Excelsior Cup winner and other medal winners will be displayed in the Horticulture Building at the Fair, which this year will run  from August 23 to September 4. There  also will be a sampling booth and daily Taste NY wine and beer seminars.
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