A Beer Judge’s Diary: KBOTB


C.H. Evans: the early years.
C.H. Evans: the early years.

There were 312 entries and 155 registered participants, judges, and stewards.

1st Karl Weiss Kolsch 6C: Kolsch Morris Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH)
2nd Julie Belles Sugar Shack Brown 23A: Specialty Beer none
3rd Julie Belles Green Pond Pale Ale 10A: American Pale Ale none

The Pump
The Pump

Knickerbocker Battle of the Brews
Saratoga Thoroughbrews
Held at: The Pump House, Albany, NY

beerjudge-258x300 (1)   “Clear!”
  Restarting a heart may not have as many problems as restarting a competition. Once restarted a heart usually finds its rhythm. Done all the time in operations. Yet restarting a competition can be problematic. Luckily, unlike starting a heart that hasn’t been beating for almost two years, restarting a competition isn’t impossible. It just will have some problems, that’s all. I found this out when I submitted to a competition in Michigan earlier in 2013: web site not operating properly, instructions unclear…little of that at Knickerbocker Battle of the Brews, because the competition master was back in charge.
  We judged Knickerbocker Battle of the Brews about 4 or 5 years ago. Then, according to Greg Mobley: organizer extraordinaire, he bowed out and unfortunately the ball was dropped in 2012.
  No organizer should have to organize forever,so I understand.
  But this year it was.. on! And, as expected, there were a few bleeps and bloops, but due to an experienced organizer the show did go on.

Sign in, check out, prizes and main pull out hair out station due to computer glitches.
Sign in, check out, prizes and main pull out hair out station due to computer glitches.

  The day: Saturday, November the 9th. We were supposed to start at about 9 but there was a bad computer glitch according to our steward: Data had been corrupted. I think it was Riker who had started feeding him barleywine and the electronics went hickity Betty Boop-ity-bop…
Courtesy originalhipster.net
Courtesy originalhipster.net
  Yes, I’m joking, but Greg and staff should have been “in a panic.” Interesting: I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen Greg panic. He seems to keep a cool head. Having helped run a few competitions that can be a big problem when glitches keep beating at your door. “Glitches” tend to be a frequent “bugaboo” of competitions, or also could be described as… well let’s just say it rhymes with both “glitches” and “Mitch is.”
Sign in, check out, prizes and main pull out hair out station due to computer glitches[/caption]
 And, uh, Mitch Miller says ah one, ah two: back to the competition…

  Folks had to be at wits end. (Do “wits” have “ends?” Well, maybe if you’re at table with wheat beer.) You have close to 50 judges waiting and waiting and waiting while the computer is unsympathetic.


 It happens.
  Let me start here with compliments to the “chef,” uh, organizer. Greg knew: due to my bad handwriting, I use a printer for final results… not all the time but often… so he made sure I was near a plug. When I needed to know about how close we had to be in our scores he was there almost before I asked. And I’m sure sending our wonderful steward over to ask for missing specifics had to clog the wheels a tad. Oops. Sorry. My guess: the computer glitch probably kacked a lot of that.
 But we all went with the flow:. That’s what makes a great competition. My hand even gave me a break, so using the printer wasn’t all that necessary.
  Our entries were a mix of a few really good and many missing style elements. One of the things
The brewery above the bar: how convenient is that?
The brewery above the bar: how convenient is that?
you have to watch judging with novice judges is you can start going too fast and folks think they have figured it all out.
 An, “Uh wait a minute people, we need to look at the guidelines more closely, how well does it fit the style?” …certainly may be needed. So easy to just go with the flow, I know.
 We were upstairs on a walkway that circles the brewery, and where you can see below. But most important you can see the brewery, kind of an icon and an appropriate punctuation mark for an event that’s all about great beer and making it better.
Millie hard at work: judging and ignoring her annoying husband.
Millie hard at work, judging and ignoring her annoying husband.
 I hate to say it, but I haven’t heard back from Greg and I had other things that needed attention so this article was published before I could credit our wonderful steward. Our two judges, at my table, did a wonderful job too: Erin Lemieux and Sarah Hettinger. But I never did write down the steward’s name. Not only did he do a great job but we both teased each other back and forth: a lot.
 I admit: we may have been too loud a few times. My fault. Apologies.
 Last time I judged here we were the last table, but our steward kept us on the mark and, knowing what happened last time I was well aware we needed to keep a good pace. Luckily my fellow judges: Erin and Sara, agreed to work through lunch. I was worried the wonderful sandwiches provided by The Pump House might blow our palates, but I think we actually improved.
 We were finished before most.
 Millie was at one of the last tables to be done, but they got their entries last too.
 Last time we stuck around for awards and such but our relatives were watching our two dogs, one being an elderly collie stating to show signs of Alzheimers.
 So “Welcome Back…” to KBOTB.
 All thanks to Mr. Mobley.

Greg Mobley
Greg Mobley

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