Unless you're at a homebrew competition.
The Kansas City Bier Meisters hosted their 27th Annual Homebrew Competition this weekend, and Mr Wort Hog and I both had an opportunity to participate in judging. The competition was held at the Holy Field winery out in Basehor on Friday night and Saturday, during which about 30-35 judges tasted, judged, and ranked submitted beers, ciders, and meads.
Here are the basics on how a competition works:
- Homebrewers submit their beers to a specified location, assigning each submission to a competition category such as Robust Porter or Doppelbock - or something special to the competition such as "lawnmower beer" or "eis-anything"
- Judges sit in groups by category and review the beers based on aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and an overall impression. Each group has a head judge.
- Stewards are there to provide the beers and manage the score sheets as well as bring up any logistical issues with the organizers. They can also sample the beers being judged, if there is enough after the judges receive their pours.
- After each judge completes his or her score sheet for the beer in review, the judges discuss their findings and rankings then agree on a final numerical score. This process repeats until all entries have been reviewed.
taking on the conglomerates. It's an interesting time for beer, that's for sure.
Hop Sun once it's released this spring. As an added bonus, Dan of Gone Mild was in my judging group and we had an opportunity to chat for a while about blogging, local beers and goings-on.
Once judging was done, most of the group left for a tour and food pairing lesson at Free State; we stuck behind to relax at the winery and sample a bit of wine - though it's also possible that we forgot to buy tickets for the tour until after it was sold out. Oops. I really enjoyed the winery's Chardonel, which was similar to a Semillon or sweeter Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of green apple in this one, and it was inspiring to find a local white wine that was crisp and dry.
After Pauwels' talk, the awards ceremony started and we found out that we took 3rd place in English Pale Ale for an Ordinary Bitter, 2nd place in Fruit/Spice beer for a Chocolate Russian Imperial Stout, and 2nd for a Cherry Vanilla mead. We also got an honorable mention for an English Mild. Not too shabby!
Iowa Brewers' Union competition just outside Des Moines.
If you're interested in participating in competitions, you can find a calendar of national competitions on the BJCP's website. It's definitely a fun experience with a lot of interesting and exciting people, even if you're not a homebrewer.