Yesterday I assisted some forty-six others-homebrewers, professional brewers, beer lovers and BJCP certified beer judges-in judging the 570 homebrewed beers entered in the 2006 Michigan State Fair Homebrew Competition. This was the largest homebrew competition ever held in Michigan (by about thirty entries). It also qualifies as one of the largest competitions in the country. We had beers entered in every category sanctioned by the Beer Judge Certification Program, as well as entries in every mead and cider/peary category (28 categories).
My job included judging two categories, India Pale Ales (IPAs) and Ciders/Pearies, along with another experienced judge. In the cider category, there were four of us judging twenty entrants,, two BJCP judges, each paired with a novice/experienced, non-BJCP certified judge (that's me!). We chose the best three entrants in that category, finding three nice examples of ciders/pearies (pearies are ciders made with pears instead of apples). The top three included one from each of three sub-categories: Common cider, French Cider and Peary.
In the IPA competition, there were forty-one entrants, judged by four pairs of judges. Sadly, the eleven entrants I assisted in judging were less than spectacular, having only one entrant reach the score of 39 (top score is 50, though rarely reached). One of the IPAs we judged did make it to the final three, though: a nice English IPA. It came in third, behind the first-place American IPA and a splendid Imperial IPA.
It was fun and educational. And, while I was finishing up the tally on the ciders, I heard a discussion at the next table about a Tamarind/Lemongrass Wheat beer they were judging. Hhhmm, I did enter such a beer into the competition. Wonder how it did?
As soon as the results are in, I will let you all know how the five beers I entered (and the one I assisted in brewing, with my friend, Jeff) scored.
Best of Show awards will be judged at the State Fair on August 26 at 4 P.M. I am going to be there this year, if just to observe the process. Best of luck to all participants!
NEWSFLASH!-I received a call yesterday notifying me that "at least one" of my beers has "placed" in the contest! I have no further information than that and won't until the 26th and the Awards Ceremony.
Man! I hate waiting!