Jared Whalen and Chris McGreevy. First place for 19C: American Barleywine. Name: Big Fâ€™n Beer. From Northern Kentucky Homebrewers Guild.
Graham Barron: second place for 16C: Saison. Name: Rye-Son. From Covert Hops Society.
Robert Miller: third place. 12C: Baltic Porter. Name: Baltic Winter. From Brewmasters of Alpharetta.
For the rest of the winners, please click HERE.
â€‚ 347 total entries, 216 judged on Saturday, December 7th, 22 judges on Saturday, 7 stewards.
Fugetaboutit: 2013, this isnâ€™t the first time for us to this delightful beer judging-based rodeo. Itâ€™s kind of like a yearly tour of Chattanooga. This year it was at the Knights of Columbus, and I must say for all the locations this one seems to provide the best atmosphere: no restaurant noise, no workmen below building a yet to be open pub and no pending kid’s party rushing us through judging.
The plan was to leave Nashville at 4 because of the time change: the competition started at 9. However, an aging collie decided to wake me up at 1 by pacing the room and by the time we were through I had cat napped maybe half an hour at best.
So down I-24 we rolled, up the big Monteagle hill, as the GPS lady was getting ready to bark orders. We stopped at a rest area, and Millie drove as I rested just a few more minutes. I woke up to a, â€œWhich way do I goâ€¦â€ as my eyes slowly turned triple vision down to normal.
Ah, getting old. Taint it fun?
Then we pulled into the parking lot of Knights of Columbus.
The inside was spacious and soon we were down to business. Millie judged Specialty
and I judged Herb and Vegetable: mostly they were Pumpkin, as expected this Thanksgiving time of year, just before da big Ho Ho gets ready to insert himself down chimneys.
Shame on you if you have a dirty mind after reading that last sentence.
In the morning I judged with Zane Condo, and in the afternoon David Graham. Afternoon
steward was Ryan, our morning steward had the greatest name in the world: Ken. For a brief while at the end we had another steward but we were bouncing between categories so fast I forgot to ask.
The room filled fast with the silence of judging, though often punctuated by laughter and discussion about each entry. One of the most annoying misconceptions is judging is all
about the joy of drinkingâ€¦ a lot. To be honest itâ€™s more talk, smelling, sensing and by the time the day is over youâ€™re quite sober and often burned out via small, occasional, sips.
Lunch time was barbeque: beef and pork. Hot sauce was available, and though I tempted burning out necessary taste buds, I tried just a smidge. The barbeque: both types, excellentâ€¦ they had beans, coleslaw and banana pudding. The last two have never been â€œme,â€ and to be honest the beans were Boston-style. Iâ€™m weird: thatâ€™s not â€œmeâ€ either. So I delighted in the barbeque. It was well worth the gobble.
Then on to the afternoon. I started with Bocks and Millie did Belgian Strongs and she said she canâ€™t remember the rest. It was a busy end to the judging because both of our tables finished early, so we helped the other tables.
In rapid fire we had Pale, Wheat and, to be honest I think there may have been a third category we helped with at our table, but I canâ€™t remember what it was. The last entry judged? Well letâ€™s just offer a polite: “very problematic,” but I have to agree with David: â€œHate to end on such a low point, but itâ€™s great to relax.
They were warming up a small bus outside to tour the local breweries, but we had to get back to our aging collie so we stayed for awards and pizza, then left for Nashville.
Kudos to Brad Lumley for yet another great competition.