Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Stuttgart’s Cannstatter Volksfest is the largest beer festival you’ve never heard of. It’s similar to Oktoberfest but unique enough to merit a visit in its own right, especially if you find the crowds at Oktoberfest to be a bit much. For starters, the Cannstatter Volksfest is more of a local affair, albeit one that attracts about 4.2 million folks from across the region over the course of its seventeen-day run starting in late September. You’ll hear barely a word of English, and you might even learn a few words of the Swabian dialect after a few beers with your tent-mates.

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Improving Your Descriptive Ability

While this article is excellent, the Editors at PGA feel sometimes some approach this topic in a problematic way. No one wants word Nazi, yet there are preferred words, descriptors that have ben suggested. The tests given sometimes include grading via acceptable adjectives. This eliminates judge ability to describe by substituting preferred words that are no more object and just as objective.
 Of course, using one example in the article, when you order a ham sandwich you want a hand sandwich, but some takes on word usage could have menus “juicy” considered to be inappropriate (probably due to dirty minds), so “liquid retained” preferable, ending our analogy. In BJCP terms, yes, just saying “nice” or “good” is no good enough. Adjectives help. But the editors feel preferred adjectives goes too far.

By Emma Schmitz

The author interviewed sensory experts Kristen England, Shawna Cormier, and Jen Blair for this article.

“Language is an incomplete tool providing a limited choice of words,” Morten Meilgaard, the guy who wrote the “book” on Beer Flavor Terminology, admits in an essay in Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications).

However mediocre language is when it comes to representing what we actually experience, it’s our job as judges to do our best to relay what we’re tasting in concise, relatable terms. We can accomplish this by learning ways to strengthen our vocabulary. The more measly words we know and the more we practice, the better judges we can become.

Good Judging Is All About Respect

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