The Brew is Out There!
One problem with us sitting here and giving our brewing advice – you never get to taste our beer! While we can’t ship everyone a beer, you can finally hear Denny’s feedback about Drew’s canned IPAs. We’re tasting Drew’s 45th Birthday IPA and Cape Point New South African Hazy IPA.
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Over twenty years had passed since I stopped off briefly in Bamberg en route between Prague and Heidelberg with an old friend on a crazy road trip in my grandma’s rickety Renault 5. On that sunny afternoon in the early nineties, we snapped the requisite photos of the Altes Rathaus straddling the River Regnitz before heading off for a Bamberger specialty that a fellow traveler in Prague had told us was absolutely de rigeur: Rauchbier. I still remember the light breeze that cooled that midsummer’s day as we sat down to a meal of Weisswurst and a taste of this fabled beer. For the life of me, I can’t remember where we ate, but I do remember that first perception-altering smell and sip of Rauchbier: this was possible in a beer?
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I don’t think of myself as some guru or know-it-all answer guy. A lot of my experience comes from making mistakes and running into dead ends. And I have made a LOT of mistakes. And as this edition of A Beer Judge’s Diary will show I have been greeted by some dead ends.
I must admit I agree with Andrew Luberto’s comment in his excellent youtube interview that those who score very well to begin with may be missing something. Trial, error and trying again can make better judges, just like it makes better songwriters, better actors, better on air personalities and better almost anything in life. Those additions to “beer judge” are mine, not his, but strike me as truth. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Return to Atlanta; Taste Test, Take 2B”
In a few short day’s time we will joyously re-release one of our most sought after creations, The Original 006 Hazy Double IPA. This little beauty has gotten us some great press this last year, being named among both the top IPAs and beers period in the USA by Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine, Thillist, and Forbes to name a few. But, it will only be sold in-house through our Tasting Gallery. Why you may ask? Because the brewing industry is fucking crazy and it’s almost perfectly engineered to make earning a profit as elusive as a North Korean travel agent.
This beer has prompted lots of questions over the years. For example people ask us all the time, “Why don’t y’all make this beer year-round?” Now people will inevitably clamor, “Why are you assholes not sending this out to the market and keeping it only for yourselves! We want it in our stores! We want it in other states! Pitchforks and torches! Rabble Rabble!” The answers to both these questions might give you some visibility into how the brewing industry works, and especially the game-within-the-game – hop contracting.
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The first edition will be an overview of that day, Take 2B gets to specifics that might help potential judges before they take the tasting test.
If I were to pass on a warning to those who haven’t taken it yet it would be, “Use the few minutes you have per beer well, otherwise time will be your enemy.” 15 minutes per beer: try practicing to get it down to 10 or 12. That’s per completed sheet.
Unlike my last column on this topic this is not going to be about my score at all, or how I did. Enough of that: whatever the score is it is. Besides, I don’t know the score yet and most likely won’t for up to six months, maybe more. That’s OK. As I told Phil Farrell it’s not about getting a better rank, and only a little about a better score. More than anything it’s about the fact every time I take the test I learn a lot through intense study, including how I know less than I think I do. Even the study involved is a humbling experience, not to mention the review after the test. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Return to Atlanta; Taste Test, Take 2”