A Beer Judge’s Diary: New South Brew Off

Most pictures courtesy Jackie Lawrence

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 There are a lot of competitions, like AWOG (Amber Waves of Grain) in Buffalo area we’ve always wanted to get back to, but timing and distance have prevented that. We finally did get back to Knickerbocker in the Albany/Saratoga Springs area. When New South Brew Off started Millie got to go, and that’s a good thing because that’s one of the clubs we are members of. But I was always up north helping to run Old Forge BIG Beer and Odd Ale, a competition I started. So I couldn’t judge.
 Of all the things COVID has done the one good thing I can think of is, since I needed to come home to be with Millie, I was able to judge NSBO too. So, after two weeks quarantine were over because I came from Tennessee, mead test on Long Island done, both places drained for the brutal winters, home I sped, boat in tow. And straight into prejudging for New South at Amber and Jerry Wood’s castle in Clarksville, TN.
 Clarksville, Tennessee, of the many great things Clarksville is it’s a military town: Fort Campbell, 101st Airborne.
 I didn’t bring the boat. So no boating around in Jerry’s backyard. But I’ll bet Jerry Wood’s pup: Bear the Saint Bernard, and the puppy edition Roxy, would have enjoyed the trip. Everyone say, “Hi, Bear!”
 Of course, as judges, we don’t get to see most of the preparation, for obvious reasons. We don’t need to know who entered what. Of course one of us just got home so… not possible. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: New South Brew Off”

Beer Profile: Ommegang Helles Superior


Profiled by Maria Devan for PGA

This is a collaboration between Ommegang and Big Ditch brewing.

They are using mandarina Bavaria and hallertau blanc hops. The mandarina has the sweet scent of orange and the hallertau give it a light powdery floral.

Golden yellow and clear with a big creamy head of white foam that fizzes as it pops. Falls hugging the glass and feels soft not soapy on the lips.

On the palate the hops are bitter and less fruity than on the nose which lets the malt come through crisp and dry in the finish. A little bit more than moderate carbonation. The dry hopping leaves a sweet softness to the middle of the beer and the lightest taste of mandarin oranges. Finishes malty with a slightly lasting bitterness and dry.

Would go anywhere white wine would go just like the brewer said. Cheers.