A Beer Judge’s Diary: The Batman Beer Judge Appears at Fugetaboutit 2015


Written by Ken Carman for The Professor

bjd-265x300  I knew I was in trouble when I got the E-mail that claimed, “I know you like high gravity,” so I wasn’t surprised when the morning was filled with Belgian Strongs. Hey, it’s what I do. Who’s da man who started an all high gravity competition and used to be one of the biggest suppliers for Big Bob’s Barley Wine Bash in Pensacola Beach, Florida?
 This edition of A Beer Judge’s Diary will be a little different. If I repeat a competition I try to mix things up a tad. This will be more about the beer, my method of judging, stewards and my fellow judge… since Jake Evers and I partnered for the day.
 Jake and I patiently worked through every entry we judged. Jake is semi-new to judging and I gave him the option (A) of silence until after (or just before) scoring, or (B) laying out our cards and discussing as we went along. I prefer this with new judges: it’s like teaching someone how to play pinocle or rummy with all the cards out on the table. But instead of learning how to play a game, how to achieve a winning hand, it’s all about putting a great judging team together. When the other judge chooses option “B” I always tell them to stand up for what they believe and I never push for them to agree if they really feel they sense something I don’t, or don’t sense what I do.
  The title of this edition came from a discussion that happened as I started to set up. I put out my modified lantern: non-led with white duct tape to focus down to just the contents of the glass, a special AWOG competition opener that doesn’t bend the cap and several aroma glasses that seal so I can do appearance first and wait to judge that all too easy to escape item: aroma.
DSCN0871   It’s always been an “A” or “B,” thing with me. Either the head fades, or the aroma leaks into the room. Shaking with a palm over a glass gets my hand wet, or spills if not careful. So an aroma glass that seals helps.
 Jake used the aroma glass a lot.
 We worked well together.
  As I set up one judge says, “Boy, you come with all the tools, don’t you?”
  Without even thinking I snapped back, “Yeah, I’m the Batman of beer judges.”
  “You just need the utility belt.” Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: The Batman Beer Judge Appears at Fugetaboutit 2015”

Best of The Northwest 2014: Breakout Breweries Break the Mold

pourFThis time of year – every year for the past six – I’ve compiled my most memorable experiences from travels around the Pacific Northwest – my heart and ‘hood – to come up with those I especially want you to know about. I say this just about every year because just about every year it’s true: This was a real banner year. The creaky Washington paradigm of “Nothin’ but Brits” is beginning to crumble. Oregon and Idaho breweries are not just pushing the envelope as much as ignoring the very existence of an envelope. Good breweries, promising breweries, and some right out of the wrapping paper have become great.

You’re going to read some names, here, that you’ve never heard or read. Two in particular – Tin Dog Brewing of Seattle and Big Block Brewing of Sammamish, Washington – are barely larger than the changing rooms Nordstrom’s. John Julum’s operation at Big Block, especially, is easily the most intelligently conceived, laid-out, and strategized nano-brewery I’ve ever come across. The whole brewery, because of his neighborhood’s CC&Rs, is in his garage! And he routinely has ten or twelve beers on tap, all amazing and all in decent quantities. This level of ingenuity is what sets the NW apart from the rest of the US and 2014 was the year of its full flowering, when breweries like De Garde, in sleepy Tillamook, Oregon, are birthed fully formed and hit the ground absolutely flying.

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A Taste of Oklahoma in Six Glasses

Written by Franz Hofer for Tempest in a Tankard

Mustang - Brandy Porter (label) 2Take two engineers, a linguist, a surveyor, a school administrator, a mycologist, an entomologist, and a historian. Add a dash of homebrewing expertise, BJCP judging experience, Scotch connoisseurship, and a general love of hops and malt. Mix all of this together with a beer-laden table on a Sunday night shortly after Halloween, and what do you get?

The Oklahoma Six-Pack Project.

The task: Choose six favourites in a blind tasting of some one-and-a-half dozen Oklahoma beers.

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The MaltHead Manifesto

Becoming Munich Dunkel.

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

A spectre is haunting the craft beer world –– the spectre of Sir Maltalot. Laid low by a tsunami of IPA, the wild yeasts have set in to consume his legacy. Extreme beerists have entered into an unholy alliance with sharp-fanged sours, enlisting sturdy barrel-aged beers to confine Sir Maltalot within their cavernous depths. Buried under layer upon layer of rum, oak, bourbon, and peppers, his spirit lies in wait.

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From the Bottle Collection: Tanner’s Jack


Without intent, I have collected well over 1,000 beer bottles since the early 70s. When something finally had to be done about the cheap paneling in this old modular, I had a choice. Tear down the walls while, oh, so carefully, replacing the often rotted 1X3s. Or: cover them with… The Bottle Collection.

Written by Ken Carman

 Tanner’s Jack is a beer that, according to the label, is brewed by Moreland Brewery, Bury St. Edmunds, England. It’s actually brewed by Greene King, not Moreland which is now kind of like Buick is to GM, or Mercury to Ford, only beer, obviously. I haven’t seen it in the stores for a while but I must be honest: I haven’t been looking.
 Morland’s opened in 1711 and proceeded over the years to buy out other breweries. Then Moreland was bought many times, eventually by one of their vend-ess they used to brew for: Greene King.
Continue reading “From the Bottle Collection: Tanner’s Jack”

Barrel Filling Procedure and ETF Updates

Written by Brandon Jones for Embrace the Funk!

I guess this is the longest lapse in updating the website I’ve had, but wow has there been a lot going on! I’ve had some questions on what pre-filling procedures we use at Yazoo and since wood barrels are readily available to home brewers nowadays I thought we would go over our techniques.

etfwtfBut first let’s rewind the calendar to October 2nd, 2014 in Denver for yes…The Great American Beer Festival. The first night we were in town we served up 3 different beers at What The Funk? Once again it was an awesome night put on by Crooked Stave that gathered brewers from all over serving up their finest funky beers. Continue reading “Barrel Filling Procedure and ETF Updates”

All Beer Lovers Should Try These 5 Winter Brews

Fall is finally over, which means the annual inundation of pumpkin beers has (thankfully) come to an end. For many, winter is the best time to cozy up to a glass–not a bottle–of beer. (Seriously, pour your beer.)

Winter seasonals are characterized by their rich, sweet flavors and particularly high alcohol content. These are the months where it’s not uncommon to see an entire shelf full of beers that have been aged in whiskey barrels, or a cooler stocked with “spiced” ales.

Although there are countless spectacular local beers in small corners of every market, these are the best ones that can be found in pretty much every part of the country. Cheers!

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout


From: Chicago, Illinois
Variety: Bourbon barrel–aged imperial stout
ABV: 12%–16%, depending on the vintage
Availability: Black Friday–Late Winter

The mother of all winter beers, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) has been wooing casual and hardcore beer fans alike since the early 90s. Every year, people line up for the release of BCBS and its myriad accompanying variants, which vary in style from year-to-year.


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Beer Profile: Old Money by Magnolia Brewing


Profiled by Ken Carman for PGA


Upfront we have a wine/rum like sense. That’s the barrel. The head is off white to tan with a pillow but it fades fast to almost nothing, except edge glass. Behind that… not much at all. It’s there: just so hidden that it almost might as well not be there.

Obsidian black.

It’s an excellent barrel focused quaff. But where is the Imperial Stout? Hidden well behind the barrel, that’s where. Don’t get me wrong: the barrel is marvelous, but the stout needs to be there.Yeah, it is: very well hidden.

The nose is barrel, with the slight hint of stout behind that,.

Balance is off, basically, otherwise interesting. If this were labelled as barrel focused, would have absolutely done better. There’s a hint of Guinness like sour, or some slight infection maybe?



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


______________________Beer HERE

FredricmartianKen Carman is an editor at PGA, endofthenet.org, entertainer, educational service provider, BJCP beer judge, columnist since 1972, author of Autocide and one hell of a weird dude.