What the bloody hell is “Pickle Tournament”?
The Pickle Tournament was initially envisioned by myself and a couple close friends as a way of having serious fun in a very silly environment. The event fits perfectly into the bizarre world of Silly Sir. Initial tournaments were held in my parent’s basement in Scarborough and have since expanded to being held in my parent’s not-basement in Scarborough (i.e. their back deck and living spaces, the poor old fogies).
Pickle Tournament is at its core, a gaming tournament. A really silly gaming tournament where participants are encouraged to embrace the absurd. Some people wear tape on their heads, make pickle sculptures, or make pickle martinis without fear of judgement. In fact, such antics are openly encouraged. Being silly at Pickle Tournament is of course not mandatory – being silly isn’t fun if it’s mandatory. It’s really just about just lowering your guard slightly to embrace your inner pickle, (whatever that means to you).
Since its inception, Pickle Tournament has grown to accommodate more people, and more ridiculous activities. The initial “beta” Pickle Tournament saw only around 7-8 competitors who competed for trophies that Sara and I made out of actual pickles and toothpicks. One of them was for ping-pong.
It’s since become so over-the-top and competitive that we now ask for donations to help cover some of the costs. It’s a lot of fun putting so much time and effort into something so nonsensical. We take the planning very seriously, and are proud of the results. Below is an overview of each Pickle Official Pickle Tournament to date.
What Happens at PT?
1st Annual Pickle Tournament
The first annual Pickle Tournament was held in the summer of 2014 and saw pickle trophies and prizes awarded to the top competitors of the following games:
- Smash Bros. 4
- The Mario Kart 8
- Nintendo Land Pickle
Additionally, participants were encouraged to wear silly hats for a chance at winning the Silly Hat Trophy. There were fewer than 14 competitors overall. The 1st annual Pickle Tournament set the stage for what was to come.
The 2nd Annual Pickle Tournament
The 2nd Annual Pickle Tournament started with the recitation of a pickle oath, and spiralled into jubilant madness. This year’s prizes expanded to include the Pickle Spirit Award, and the Pickle Mascot Drawing Competition Trophy. Pickle Spirit was awarded to the competitor who showed the most enthusiasm and love for all things pickle. The first Pickle Spirit champion shared cucumber martinis with attendees, brought several jars of pickles, and wore bright green pants. I wish we had pictures of Michael at PT2 – he is a legend.
Our ambitions further expanded in the second annual Pickle Tournament and drew out 24 competitors, and several more attendees. I was just starting out homebrewing and thought it’d be wise to brew a pickle beer for the tournament. I brewed a Brewer’s Best APA All Grain kit as a base for the recipe, and added fresh dill to the secondary fermenter. It was my first all grain batch, and while it wasn’t the worst, it wasn’t a recipe I’ll repeat anytime soon.
In order to really shake things up, five unmarked bottles were filled halfway to the brim with pickle brine. Competitors who were (un)lucky enough to find and finish a “pickle bomb” beer were inducted into the Pickle Hall of Fame – WHICH EXISTS SOMEWHERE I SWEAR!
So far, Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros. 4 have been consistent pillars at each Pickle Tournament. There’s always also a third game that is variable and less intensely competitive. This year’s tournament saw competitors compete in a round of Mario Party 10. As for our special event: we hosted a pickle mascot drawing competition.
The 2nd Annual Pickle Tournament was a blast, but was confined exclusively to the back deck of my parent’s place. As such, it was rather crowded for the space. Fortunately the 3rd Annual PT was everything the 2nd should have been, and more.
The 3rd Annual Pickle Tournament
The most recent PT was a resounding success attracting 28 competitors on very short notice. We had two beers bottled for serving: Sheebah! (a wheat beer) and our in-house Pickle Tournament 2016 Amber which won a gold medal at Forest City Beer Bout. They were both big steps forward in terms of beer quality for Silly Sir Brewing Co., and competitors downed nearly 80 bottles worth of beer. Here’s the recipe for the Amber:
Pickle Tournament Amber Ale 2016 recipe:
Weights are for 5.5 gallon batch into the fermenter:
Mash @ 156 F for 50 minutes
Batch sparge 168.
Whirlfloc at 10.0 min; ferment at 73F. Target mash pH was 5.35
Tasting notes: medium-high caramel notes; malt-forward, bright hop aroma. Drop the mash temperature 2-3F for less maltiness, though it should remain the highlight. I find Apollo bittering hops make for an incredibly soft, pleasant bitterness.
Beyond the delicious free beer, PT2016 featured a Pickle Sculpting Competition. I was actually concerned it would fall flat due to the low online registration rate, and considered cancelling this portion of the event. I’m glad I didn’t – the sculptures ended up looking fantastic and far exceeding all expectations. In fact the top two pickle sculptures tied in the first round:
Ultimately the win went to Sir Picklehouse the III, but it was extremely tight. Here are some of the runner ups:
Again, Mario Kart 8 and Smash 4 were featured as “the big two” competitions, but this time we had a high-score Duck Hunt station for pick-up high-score besting, as well as a spacious Wii Sports bowling alley we arranged as our accessible game that would additionally appeal to our non-gaming friends.
When Kailen stepped up to the plate for Duck Hunt, we knew nobody would top his incredible score of like, 28701291081 pts. This sort of high score station will likely persist through the ages of Pickle Tournament rotating through various retro games.
What’s in Store for the Future?
We’re always thinking up ways on how to improve an expand Pickle Tournament universe in fun and exciting ways. We’ve already got ideas for future events, and actively encourage suggestions and collaboration with participants. If you have a suggestions for things you’d like to see at a future event send an email to matt [at] sillysir.com . We hope to see you next year!