A Beer Judge’s Diary: Good People

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Any competition is an adventure: the unpredictable happens, the entries provide even more of an adventure and interaction between judges is almost always, well, interesting…
 Millie, my wife, and I are somewhat unfamiliar with Birmingham, Alabama. I promoted this city a few times with my own shows I do for kids but never got any bookings. To be honest I didn’t do much promotion because I was staying at Coast to Coast resorts in my gas guzzling tour bus. To make the touring affordable there needed to be one close enough to make morning commutes rational and affordable. There weren’t any.
 So most of my contact with Birmingham was incidental: driving through to serve clients in the Gulf Coast, or going to Big Bob’s Barleywine Bash in Pensacola Beach. But when we were contacted by Lauren McCurdy about Good People Brewing’s Heart of Dixie Open we decided to go and judge.
 This was also Millie’s first competition judging as a Certified judge. She did well, but she always does.
 We didn’t have to be there until 12:30 to start judging at 1, so we left Nashville at about 6am.
 Remember what I said about “unpredictable?” The GPS sent us out to a project in west Birmingham. So we called the hotel: Highland, and they gave us more info. Apparently there are many 14th Streets in Birmingham.
 We arrived at about 11:15 and parking was, well, confusing. Money into the meter and then we went inside. But, first in, many judges checked in before us. We waited well over an hour and they acted surprised we were told we could check in early even though this was confirmed later by those who ran the competition. But let’s leave it at that and not get into the gruesome details, OK? You know, the bandana wrapped around my head, the squirt gun, the possum and raccoon we released who had a merry time chasing each other up and down the elevator shafts. Besides, none of that happened. We just wait: none too patiently I must admit, until wrinkles were ironed out by the bulldozer I hired.
  OK, I’m joking again. Let’s just say that after this snafu passed the stay at Highland was OK, the staff was kind, and other than the guy knocking on all the doors but ours at almost 3am, it went off without a hitch. And that’s NOT a joke. Seriously Dude?
 On to the main attraction! Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Good People”