If I had to judge the 18th Annual Garden City BrewFest, I would likely grade it down for something that was completely out of its control. The Weather. But to watch the hoards of beer drinkers, I would say that the weather was only the slightest concern.
I spent BrewFest at a picnic table with four other members of the Zoo City Zymurgists. At points, we wore gloves so we could hold the special tasting glasses and hopefully warm the beer slightly so we could actually smell and taste the beer.
To answer the most common questions, we blind taste all the beer. While we might have some idea of what beer we’re tasting at any given time, we don’t talk about that. Instead we focus on the tasting guidelines as established by the Beer Judge Certification Program. We judge according to these guidelines: Aroma, appearance, flavor, body and overall impression. There are many fine points to each of these areas, but a beer is basically judged according to the style of the category in which it is entered.
Unfortunately, sometimes a brewer enters a beer in the wrong category, and the judges are left to try and award the beer points within that category.
And beers are mostly judged looking for flaws rather than for interesting interpretations of style. Flaws simply are aberrations from the very strict style guidelines.
There is generally a lot of discussion around each style of beer so that each judge is familiar with the guidelines throughout the tasting of the particular style.
Probably the most often-asked question we get is: “How can I get involved with judging beerfest?”
The answer is: Join the Zoo City Zymurgists and volunteer to judge next year’s beerfest. It’s as easy as that. And you won’t find an easier homebrew club to join anywhere.