Sunday, April 18, 2010

AHA NHC East Region Beer Judging

This weekend was the American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewing Competition East Region, which was held at Weasel Boy Brewing Company in Zanesville, OH. I was down there judging and stewarding, and generally making myself obnoxious. Would you really expect anything less from me?

Hard at work

I drove down Saturday morning with Dave Williamson—we left, as Dave worded it, at “0’ dark thirty.” In other words, much much earlier than I normally see the light (or dark) of day. Well, unless I’ve stayed up from the night before, but that’s a whole another issue. During the morning session, I stewarded for Category 22, which is Smoke-Flavored and Wood-Aged Beer, and during the afternoon session I was part of the large contingent judging Category 18, Belgian Strong Ale.

Category 22 consists of three sub-categories:
22A. Classic Rauchbier
22B. Other Smoked Beer
22C. Wood-Aged Beer

The possibilities are endless in this category—anything goes as long as it has either smoked malt or wood-aged characteristics to it.

Category 18 is a bit more traditional:
18A. Belgian Blond Ale
18B. Belgian Dubbel
18C. Belgian Tripel
18D. Belgian Golden Strong Ale
18E. Belgian Dark Strong Ale

Of the nine beers in the flight I judged (there were 40+ beers overall between 5 groups of judges), we got at least one of each.

Afterwards, Dave and I took a (much needed) nap in the hotel before the final banquet, which was also held at Weasel Boy. After the dinner and the award announcements, everyone either took off or settled down for a night of drinking and tall-tale telling of the kind that might be indicated by the picture to my right. Anyone want to take a stab at what is going on in this photo? Bonus points awarded for the best answer, although said points will not count towards the Ninkasi Award...

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