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.
The beer selection at the Good Food Store is awesome. The reason I like it is that sometimes I’m just passing through to grab milk or a loaf of bread, and I stumble upon something really fun.
Take a look at this picture, and then head down there and buy your self some.
This stuff is a really fun spiced blonde ale that pairs well with just about any dish out there, especially spicier Asian foods.
It comes in 12-ounce bottles, so grab a few of them and share with others.
I’m going to post the Beer Judge Certificate Program’s guidelines for various beers that I want to review so that you, the reader, can judge for yourself.
Here’s what the BJCP says about Porter:
Aroma: Malt aroma with mild roastiness should be evident, and may have a chocolaty quality. May also show some non-roasted malt character in support (caramelly, grainy, bready, nutty, toffee-like and/or sweet). English hop aroma moderate to none. Fruity esters moderate to none. Diacetyl low to none.
Appearance: Light brown to dark brown in color, often with ruby highlights when held up to light. Good clarity, although may approach being opaque. Moderate off-white to light tan head with good to fair retention.
Flavor: Malt flavor includes a mild to moderate roastiness (frequently with a chocolate character) and often a significant caramel, nutty, and/or toffee character. May have other secondary flavors such as coffee, licorice, biscuits or toast in support. Should not have a significant black malt character (acrid, burnt, or harsh roasted flavors), although small amounts may contribute a bitter chocolate complexity. English hop flavor moderate to none. Medium-low to medium hop bitterness will vary the balance from slightly malty to slightly bitter. Usually fairly well attenuated, although somewhat sweet versions exist. Diacetyl should be moderately low to none. Moderate to low fruity esters.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderately low to moderately high carbonation.
Overall Impression: A fairly substantial English dark ale with restrained roasty characteristics.
To read the full account click here.