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Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) won the third annual Brew Across America competition Wednesday night, beating out nine other lawmakers with her Big House Brew blonde ale.

The Missouri Republican bested fellow House members and senators alike, including fellow Missourian Sen. Josh Hawley (R) with his Hawley Hops spiced ale, after some good-natured ribbing.

“I’m sorry senator, you may be senior to me in Congress but you’re junior to me in beer, baby,” Wagner said as she interrupted an interview with Hawley to promote her beer.

Lawmakers who competed in the event sponsored by Anheuser-Busch worked with brewmasters in their home states to craft their own beer.

Wagner’s beer was brewed at Grant’s Farm in St. Louis, home to generations of the Busch family. Big House Brew was aged in 100 year-old beechwood barrels, and Wagner said her “personal added flavor” came from adding lemon drop hops.

The judge’s panel consisted of local restaurant owners, beer industry specialists and journalists.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) won the attendee-voted People’s Choice Award for an India pale ale (IPA) he called One Eye-PA.

“What we have created is basically the best beer ever, with the best name ever. And I feel bad for everybody else that’s in this competition because it’s so obvious that they are going to lose to me,” said Crenshaw, who wears an eyepatch after losing right eye in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan.

One Eye-PA was brewed with honey and prickly pear at Karbach Brewing Co. in Houston.

Other competitors included Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who won in 2018 with Scout’s Cerveza, a beer named after his dog, did not participate in this year’s competition.

Cruz, whose Ale-Vengers India pale ale was named by his daughter Caroline, commended Anheuser-Busch and praised the relaxed nature of the event.

“People are at each other’s throat all the time in Washington,” he said. “It’s nice to see people coming back, laughing and having a beer.”

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