A Beer Judge’s Diary: Knickerbocker 2018

Judging at Racing City Brewing, Saratoga, NY

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 We started judging Knickerbocker probably sometime in the early 2000s, maybe earlier. But only two of them. Then, many moons later, we came back.
 We really enjoy judging Knickerbocker but, for various reasons, we didn’t for many years. This year we normally wouldn’t have but the only way we could make Millie and my schedule work right was for me to stay up north from May to barely November.
 Aw, shucks, gee whiz, golly willikers, did I have to?
 No, just kidding, I really enjoy being where I partially grew up.
 While some judging took place at Artisanal Brew Works, we didn’t judge there. A lot of the judging was at Racing City Brewing; a new brewery in Saratoga Springs: just a little north east of the city and close to the Northway. Old friends were there, including Judy Pardee; one of the first Grand Masters in the BJCP. It’s amazing how you judge the same competitions and see people again and get that, “Oh, THIS is where I remember you from,” feeling.
 They had 213 entries, 33 judges and 18 stewards judge over two weekends, according to John Lee.
 But, unfortunately, we missed most of that. We had to be back to Nashville before the main event, so we only did prejudging.
  A lot of other regulars as well as organizer John Lee. John and I follow each other around so much I swear we’re like Great Danes sniffing each other out. EWE! OK, John, I’m sorry, the best I can give that aroma is a 2
That’s Judy and the long haired blond creep is me.
 I judged IPAs in the morning with Michael and again with Mike Bell in the afternoon with American Strong, once we used dynamite to get
Big BOS. We weren’t there, unfortunately.
the hop glow out of our mouths. Wouldn’t you know it: this category included Double IPA. Ranked judges did mini-BOS in both cases.
 First day, after judging, Millie and I went out to the serving room with Judy and talked about… BEER!
 Sunday morning Jim Alexander and I judged together. He was at my Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale Competition and we judged BOS there.
 We really enjoy Knickerbocker, but since we still live in Tennessee if we can do it is always in question. Here’s hoping for 2019.


A Beer Judge’s Diary is one of many columns by Ken Carman, Certified BJCP beer judge, homebrewer since 1979 and seeker of both simple and complex quaffs who once upon a time thought he didn’t care all that much for beer. Then he discovered brews beyond the standard fare’ available on the east coast in the 60s. Thus the adventure began.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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