It’s Sunday morning, and I’m carefully laying out score sheets, grouping beer bottles into categories, and printing out BJCP Style Guidelines. Last night was the Fraser Valley Beer Fest. The night before was the Central City launch party, and the night before was the Chilliwack Homebrewer’s Club monthly meeting and tasting. Tack on Monday’s vertical tasting of The Abyss, Tuesday’s beer lecture, and Wednesday’s wine club meeting, and even the most conservative estimates would have my personal consumption pegged at somewhere around 60 beers so far this week… so what am I doing spending my one day off prepping for the tasting of another 40 beers? I tell ya, this lifestyle takes dedication! You can rest tomorrow, Liver, I promise. But starting at noon today, we judge a homebrew competition!
Impressively, the rest of the judges all made it on time too, well, pretty much. Pictured left-to-right is me, Tristan from Maxx Cherry, Jara the manager at District, Richard the bartender at District and Jacksons, and not pictured (because he was busy texting) was Brad, the owner of District. Between the five of us, we figured it would be possible to get through 40 beers in 4 hours … but after 6 hours, when we realized we had been spending an average of 20-25 minutes grading, evaluating, discussing, and scoring each beer thus far, we knew we weren’t going to finish it all in one day.
I’m sure professional BJCP judges can plow through entries, but we were actually having a lot of fun discussing every aspect of each beer, from colour, to carbonation level, to head retention, to clarity, mouthfeel, aroma, and of course taste! I know that the entrants are really going to appreciate the comprehensive notes we took!
All the judges were highly impressed with the consistent quality of brews. Beer after beer, after beer, people who drink, serve, and sell commercial craft beer for a living had comments like “I would drink this any day of the week”, or “That’s better than most IPAs we have on tap”, or “I would buy this regularly if it were on the shelves”, or “wow, I never thought I liked sours until just now – this is amazing!”. Even though we thought we were scoring really hard, it’s clear that Chilliwack Homebrewers know what they’re doing – and though we still have a dozen beers yet to be judged, it’s safe to say that there are going to be more than a few medal winners. I’m proud of all you brewers! What an amazing job!
I feel like I owe it to the entrants to finish grading their beers tomorrow, but I already promised Liver he could have the day off. He’s earned it.
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