Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ohio Brew Week Beer Judging

Ohio Beer Week, my annual excuse to visit Jackie O’s, came knocking again. Jeff, Jeffrey, and myself rolled on into Athens last night in a borrowed mini-van, and hit up the town. Today, though, was about the beer judging, which meant that I ate all the bacon I could find at the free continental breakfast. Yes, all of it. Nothing says due diligence like proper preparation.

4th beer of the day: 10:14 am

The morning flight was 13B. Sweet Stout, and nothing against the beers entered, but the less said, the better. If I ever decide to brew a sweet stout, I will remember the two things I learned this morning: 1) a sweet stout needs to be sweet, so I will mash my grains higher that 150˚ F and also include an addition of lactose in the boil to help provide the necessary residual sweetness and mouthfeel, and 2) roasted barley/black malt requires a judicious hand, even in a stout, so I will use care not to make my beer acrid and bitter via large additions of either grain.

The afternoon flight was 23. Specialty Beer, and, well, it was huge. Twenty four beers for two sets of judges from all over the map: my group judged, among other things, a Rye IPA, an Indian Brown Ale (which ended up 3rd in BOS), a Black IPA, a gose, a historically-based Wee Heavy (soured with a lactic acid-producing bacteria), a doppelbock with espresso, and a Double Black IPA. Plus several others. It was some work, but there were some good beers in the mix.

After all the judging was said and done (well, except for the BOS), we hung around for a bit of “Worst In Show” sampling, our patented name for randomly selecting and trying beers that didn’t win, and then headed up to Jackie O’s for dinner, beers, and the awards ceremony. I entered two beers, both of which did well: the Belgian Quad I brewed with Jeff Fortney won in the Belgian and French Ale category, and my APA got 3rd in the APA category. After that, the wheels pretty much came off the wagon. Highlights from the evening include the successful quest for a taco for Jeffrey and watching people attempt to ignore a dancing Vanderglas. Just when I thought we were about done for the evening, we had three more pitchers of beer (one of which was Fat Head’s Texas Brown, which was delicious), I scored us some wings, and we took our cab-ride of victory back to the hotel.

P. S. One added bonus that needs noting: the next morning, we got to have brunch with Jennifer Hermann of Market Garden Brewery and Tom Robbins and Scott Randolph of Lagerhead’s Brewing Company & Smokehouse, where we all talked about our shared love of hot peppers and Futurama. Seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up. It was awesome.


1 comment:

  1. This was easily the best time I have had since returning from Florida. Bro's with air guitars, derby chicks, VanderLast, MIA Fortney, VanderSmashed, lucha masks, and oh yeah TACOS FROM A TRUCK!!!