8th Annual Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue

Windsor, VT – On July 26th and 27th the Harpoon Brewery, New England’s largest craft brewer, will host the 8th Annual Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue. More than 40 competitive barbecue teams from across the Northeast and beyond will descend upon Harpoon’s Windsor, Vermont brewery with smokers in tow to compete for the title of 2008 New England Barbecue Champion.

The heated competition begins on Saturday, July 26 when the professional barbecue teams prepare their competition entries. Judging begins promptly at noon with judges certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. The teams are judged in four categories: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. The team with the highest tabulated score from all four categories will be crowned the 2008 Harpoon New England Grand Champion. The Grand Champion and winners from each category will be announced at an award ceremony at 4:30 pm. The Harpoon Grand Champion qualifies for the nation’s ultimate barbecue competition, the American Royal in Kansas City, in addition to winning a cash prize.

The barbecue competition continues on Sunday, July 27 with the “Harpoon Summer Sizzler,” a competition open to both amateurs and professionals. In the Summer Sizzler, teams are judged in four different categories: chicken wings, pork chops, sausage, and Chef’s Choice. For the Chef’s Choice category, teams are challenged to cook a dish made with a Harpoon beer-based sauce. Entries in each of these categories are judged based on appearance, tenderness/texture, and taste. The competition concludes with the award ceremony at 4:00 pm on Sunday.

In 2007 more than 6,000 people attended the Harpoon Championships (photos). In addition to the region’s best barbecue, the weekend offers attendees two days of Harpoon beer, local live music, and a first-hand look at master barbecuers practicing their craft. Several of the competing teams will be selling their award-winning barbecue throughout the weekend. Festival goers are also invited to take an in-depth tour of the brewery, led by a Harpoon brewer. Outside, brewery staff will be on hand pouring Harpoon beer and soda, including the brewery’s award-winning IPA and UFO Hefeweizen.

Harpoon will bring back Barbecue University, a barbecue “how-to” offering attendees grilling tips, sampling, and interaction with an award-winning barbecue competitor. The highly anticipated Strongman Competition will also return on the Saturday of the event.

Founded in 1986, the Harpoon Brewery is New England’s largest craft brewery. Harpoon’s line of craft beer features six year-round beers, including their award-winning IPA and UFO Hefeweizen beers, and four special seasonal selections. In 2000 Harpoon purchased a second brewery in Windsor, VT to keep up with the growing demand. In 2007 Harpoon introduced Harpoon Cider, an all-natural hard cider made from freshly pressed, local apples.

For more information about The Harpoon Championships of New England Barbecue including directions, admission cost, and event times, visit  http://www.harpoonbrewery.com/