A Beer Judge’s Diary: The Long Wait

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 This may seem a minor complaint, so I offered a few minor suggestions, and one BIG caveat.
 I have taken BJCP tests several times. After I became Certified I took them because, by the time I was done studying for the next exam, my knowledge base expanded exponentially. Becoming National was pretty much beside the point.
 Recently I decided to advance horizontally. In other words add mead and cider, figuring I could be of more use in competitions, and maybe these additions might help me organize my thoughts more efficiently when filling out scoresheets. Once I started that I went beyond these two goals, IMO. Especially with my most recent cider exam.
 I firmly believe the different ways mead, cider and beer are judged can be used across that divide. Some terms, some methods like “first attack” (to the palate) are useful judging all 3.
 However one thing that I think drives judges nuts is waiting on results. About three months is not unusual. After I achieved mead I pursued cider and it’s been almost 4 months since that test.
 First I think judges in wait need to understand is why it takes so long. This is important when it comes to understanding the long wait… Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: The Long Wait”

Two Beers “Southern Resident”: Killer. Whale. Beer.

Please forgive me, Joel VandenBrink, but this beer got lost in my review shuffle a LONG time ago. I meant to sing LOUD praises of it – God, how long ago WAS that? Eight years? Ten?!? – and just…fumbled at the one yard line. But let me do it now – in NO uncertain terms…

I had two breweries in Seattle (or, as we hip NW types say, sometimes, if not prevented, “Sea-patch”) that I constantly confused and I have no idea why, as their names are not even remotely similar: Two Beers Brewing and Schooner Exact Brewing. See? Just as I confuse Christine Baranksi with Wendy Malick and Christine Lahti, for no rational reason, I got these two intertwined in my twisty brain practically ever since they came on the PNW brewing scene. This was complicated by the fact that both started in 2007 and both started as nano-breweries which struck a nerve in the Seattle-area IPA culture and blossomed. Joel VandenBrink was a home brewer who eventually decided that, “…if we all take some time, we can see things a bit more clearly. The daily grind will become less, the pace of life will slow, and friendships will be enjoyed.” This was his hippy-dippy rationale for the perilous financial risk of opening a brewery. If this sounds a bit, well, Lollipops ‘N’ Unicorns for ya, rest assured that here, in this soggy corner of America, second only to Parisian attic apartments as fertile growth medium for belly-button gazers, it resounded with a LOT of folks.

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Hale’s Ales closes pub, to re-open as a taproom

Hale’s long-running pub — a restaurant serving hamburgers, pizzas and sandwiches — has closed, and it will turn into a taproom serving a shortened menu in the new year.

The announcement was posted on Hale’s door. “Keep your eyes open for more information on our new hours and a new concept as we bring in the new year,” it explains.

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