A Beer Judge’s Diary- Trusting Your Senses

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I think perhaps one of the first personal lessons that I learned as a judge, and have to keep learning because there are almost an infinite number of variables, is problems I might have when identifying aromas, mouthfeel, etc. Sometimes it just takes more experience, but sometimes it is caused by relying too much on those who insist everyone visualizes smells and other perceptions the same. And when someone doesn’t sense the same the second biggest (perhaps just as important or more) mistake we make is automatically blaming it all on them for having a different perception.
 How easy and self aggrandizing is that?
 When it comes to judging beer I think one time one of these ongoing lessons was emphasized, reinforced, had to do with the ‘pine’ descriptor. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary- Trusting Your Senses”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Pensacola Battle of the Brews and New Breweries

Blue Wahoos Stadium
By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I won’t be able to do as complete a job as I would like on this competition because it all came down pretty fast, so I’m adding a brief report on three new Pensacola breweries: more profiles than anything else.
 It started out as the trip from hell: blown tire, nuts for the spare didn’t fit quite right, no new tire until the next day and the dog was sick all weekend long. This was the first year for Brewery Battle in the Square: a pro brewer competition somewhat based around Irish beer. We had three categories: Irish Stout, Irish Red and Pilsner. It was done in tandem with a competition of area offerings from chefs. We have no comments about the food competition because we got there late: the BJCP competition was after the food was judged. We did have a Boston Butt from one of the competitors after the competition and it was excellent. The food trucks obviously arrived in a swarm earlier, stinging visitor’s palates with pleasure. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Pensacola Battle of the Brews and New Breweries”

Beer Cafes and Bolleke: Beer for a Day in Antwerp

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Like so many cities and towns in Belgium, Antwerp is but an hour and change by train from Brussels. If you’re like me and your trips to Belgium never amount to more than about five days at a time, these medieval cities and towns end up as day trip destinations, even if they merit several days. But with a modicum of advanced planning, you can spend an enriching day in Antwerp. And you won’t be at a loss for beer and places to drink it.

A historic port that accrued its wealth through the diamond trade, Antwerp started life as a fort during Charlemagne’s time. During the 1500s, it emerged as the region’s premier port after Bruges’ once-bustling port silted up. By mid-century, Antwerp was one of Europe’s most important cities, boasting a population of around 100,000 inhabitants, one of whom was Pieter Paul Rubens. The city suffered several reversals of fate over the next three centuries till Napoleon Bonarparte rebuilt the ports in 1797. By the late nineteenth century, Antwerp was the world’s third-largest port after London and New York.

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