Brew Biz: Werts and All

Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Salt City and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Beer Snobs

Having dealt with a few pro-brewers and highly ranked BJCP judges with attitude problems, I know there is such a thing as a “beer snob” among craft beer lovers, competition judges and homebrewers. In fact I know one pro-brewer, no names mentioned, who thinks every time someone writes something on his brewery it has to be positive: essentially a promo. You may have read my comments before where this same highly ranked judge and pro-brewer would loudly lecture everyone during competition about how they should judge every, and any, beer. Or the highly ranked judge whose first comment to me when I questioned his ruling that a green apple taste was “always a defect,” because Pomme: which uses apples, might have that taste, he insisted there was “no such beer” as a Pomme. (Wrong.) And he then claimed I had “inferior taste buds.”
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Beer Lesson: Host Your Own GABF

Written by Chris Outcalt for

Don’t have tickets to the Great American Beer Festival? (This year’s festival did sell out in a record 45 minutes.) Don’t fret: Hold a mini-GABF at home. We spoke with Ian Clark, who operates one of Colorado’s tiniest commercial breweries, for tips on how to put together a beer tasting in your living room.

Pick a style: Although it might seem like a good idea to try as many different beers as you can get your hands on, Clark suggests sticking to one style, say, IPAs or stouts. By focusing on one type of beer, Clark says, you’ll learn more about that particular style and what flavors you prefer. “Whatever the style, it’s amazing when you sit it down side by side; it’s a very unique experience,” Clark says. “I love the education behind it.”

Quantity: GABF is all about quantity, but for smaller at-home tastings, Clark has found seven different versions of one style of brew works well. That number offers variety, but also ensures that you won’t completely blowout your taste buds.

Write it down: Clark jots down notes on each beer in a small notebook, including things like appearance, hop character, and mouthfeel. That way, he says, after the tasting is over, you’ll remember which brews you liked.
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