A Beer Judge’s Diary

Tim Belczak judging at Haztoberfest in Erie, PA. Courtesy H.A.Z.A.R.D. Home Brewing Club
Tim Belczak judging at Haztoberfest in Erie, PA. Courtesy H.A.Z.A.R.D. Home Brewing Club

Written by Ken Carman

The Topic: On His Way to Grand Master… Tim Belczak

bjd-265x300  A few years ago I realized, while on tour, that there was a competition down the road in Niagara Falls during the same time I was usually performing in northeast Ohio. Being a native New Yorker, who has been living in Tennessee since 1978, brewing since 79, I wanted to share my own passion for homebrewing and judging with other equally passionate folks, so I drove north to the AWOG competition: Amber Waves of Grain. I think it was at the third AWOG where I judged with Tim Belczak. A short while latter, for the first time, we met again at King of the Mountain and NY State Fair.
 You really need to stop following me, Tim. I won’t get a restraining order… yet.
 Or am I following you? I hope you don’t get a restraining order. Besides, as Millie might say, tis tough to restrain me. Bet Cheryl has NEVER said that about you.
 Well, in one way, many of us are following far behind, for in such a short time here is just part of what Tim has achieved…

Recognized: 1/9/2014
Certified: 4/1/2014
National: 3/18/2015
Best scores:
Written: 83
Tasting: 90
Total: 87

 Yet, despite the speed with which Tim has been ascending… did I see a hint of a halo last time we met, or was that just the rim of a competition sample glass? …most interviewers might consider interviewing a Grand Master judge, or even Master, instead. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary”

New York’s Finger Lakes Region: A Backroad Craft Beer Tour

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankatd

You might be asking why the Finger Lakes aren’t more well-known outside of New York State craft beer destination. The answer, fellow intrepid beer traveler, is one of the main reasons you’ll want to visit the region. Many of the breweries that dot the landscape are “farmhouse breweries” that have taken advantage of favourable legislation passed recently to stimulate the local hop and malt industry. Production at these breweries is small-scale –– so small that the only way you’ll get to sample the beer is to head to the taproom or a local tavern that might occasionally have a keg or two of Finger Lakes beer on tap. Only a small handful of the breweries in the region bottle or can their beer, and even then, distribution doesn’t stretch much further than a few hundred miles beyond the brewery.IMG_1171

Want to read more? Please click…


Behind the Scenes at the NHC

In all this time we have been entering brewing competition, I had never given much thought to the behind the scenes.  Very little thought that is until Art Whittaker asked me to be the official brewcaster for the NHC.  Thrilled, I packed up my blogger gear, dedicated camera woman, and husband on a quest to get an exclusive look behind the scenes at the NHC.


 The first round of the NHC, or National Homebrew Competition was held at Blackstone Brewing Company’s production.

Want to read more? Please click…