Brew Biz: Werts and All

The Topic: An Absinthe of Information

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.

 Imagine you ask for a beer. A friend hands you a glass and you take a sniff. Huh??? Then a sip: you gag. What, did he think you wanted liquid licorice, or black jelly beans? Of course what your “friend” did, most likely, is pour you some absinthe instead. Indeed it may be bad absinthe that has been flavored with star anise oil. The good absinthe uses green anise. Real fans of the legendary quaff will tell you there’s a lot more to really good absinthe than the harshest, black, licorice; and certainly not some black jelly bean drink.
 Maybe he thought he was being funny. But you probably aren’t laughing.
 Beer judges sometimes have experiences almost as off putting, and it may not be the fault of the brewer who entered it.
A previous edition of Brew Biz mentioned a competition I was entering which had just restarted after a few years and their web site, their instructions, were confusing: at best. I understand competitions are run by volunteers, and I have no wish to dump on those who work their garbanzos off: not getting a single bean for their efforts: all for the cause of better brewing and better beer.
 Indeed let me start by saying I found the organizer helpful and kind, especially after working with him through the, “OK, what now,” phase when site instructions were confusing and links didn’t work. The web site seemed professional: until I tried to use it. Even the organizer admitted he wasn’t surprised: since this was the first competition after a long time things weren’t a little messed up. This competition had been on a hiatus for quite a while.
  Yes: I am deliberately trying to be vague to avoid giving you clues as to who I am referring to. Since we’re talking about the same competition, and I wish to do nothing but encourage more competitions: no names mentioned. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”