Ye Olde Scribe’s: Another WORST BEER IN THE WORLD

Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? Looks can be so deceiving.

Scribe bought 2 four packs. One was fabulous, the other qualifies for yet another “worst beer in the world.”

The can says, “Northway Brewing Co.,” but actually brewed by Glens Falls Brewing Company. Scribe can’t say anything about their other brews, just this on called Oat-Bituary.” It’s like the brewer chose too much roasted barley and combined it with too much black patent. What hops there are bitter and annoying. The best aspect is chewy oat sense way in the background.

Scribe has had worse beer, but for this edition “worst” applies. If Scribe had the time and the ability he’d line them all up and see which is THE worst, however they tend to disappear fast. Gee, wonder why?????????

The mouthfeel is annoying due to the other. However, Scribe can recommend Slushy XXL by North Brewing Company, Columbus, Indiana, if you like over the top fruit and chocolate/fudge beer. The fruit practically dances in the mouth.

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Cider and UNYHA

Written by Ken Carman

Written by Ken Carman
    It was a busy weekend starting with a rather shoddy Motel 6 where the shoddy wasn’t much of a problem. First morning: on to Studebakers at Dunkirk. We own a 63 Stude truck and I had a book I wanted to hawk, Studebaker Hawk pun somewhat intended.
    Back to the Motel 6 and next morning off to offices at Genesee Brewery to judge for UNYHA: Upstate New York Homebrewer’s Association. Beautiful offices! Even down to the bathrooms.
    Neither of us had ever been to the Genny brewery, so we even stopped the night before. Good porter, the orange and cranberry “sour” was orange and orange peel dominant, light cran. Where’s the malt? If we had wanted something seltzer like we could have ordered that.
    The morning was amber lagers, the afternoon cider. The lager judging was clockwork, as was amber lager mini-BOS.
    I still feel we need more BJCP cider judges, being a freshly minted cider judge last year, having taken the test 12/21. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Cider and UNYHA”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Oh, Where, Oh, Where Have All The Beer Events Gone?

    How most of our tasters made it to this quaint railroad town with no roads going to it!

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
    Festivals, competitions, tastings… seems beer events are waning.
    Oh, I get the superficial reason. COVID kind of put a kibosh on a lot of this. Clubs that ran competitions have backed off. HEY, IT’S A LOT OF WORK! And getting volunteers is often an issue. I ran a few myself and I would still be running the one I alone invented if not for…
    A. COVID, B. My fellow organizer hadn’t tossed me under the brew bus too late in the game. It didn’t help we kept getting the same winner, like we did at another competition in Nashville: Let’s Get WEIRD!
    But the festivals seem to have waned too. I understand: again COVID and some folks don’t know what the &%$! they’re doing. There were 2 competitions that died. Millie and I were to blame, partially, for killing one. When COVID slammed into the nation like a plane hitting our health instead of the towers we had to back out. People started abandoning the sinking brew ship, making rats seem braver than the band on the Titanic. But with all who died I can’t blame them. It didn’t help the organizer had no idea he had to tell us what style the beer was and other parameters. You can’t just say “IPA.” Brut, NEIPA, Black… we learned to judge the style without such help.
    Another one was right next to big lake with the wind blowing off it. He tried to get 3 of us to judge 40 beers in 2 hours (My comment was, “Unless you want 3 very drunk judges we need a 4th.) …and the festival goers were all around us. To be fair they left us alone, mostly. But not what I would call a great environment to judge beer. It also doesn’t help someone called the cops who hovered around the entrance to the park. I was WAY under everyone else because, well judging beer is not a “get drunk” experience But I had, at the time, maybe you guessed it, out of state plates. luckily (?) some jerk passed me on the wrong side speeding and he was off to at least another ticket. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Oh, Where, Oh, Where Have All The Beer Events Gone?”

Brew Biz: Werts and All, Anchors Away to Bikini Bottom’s Graveyard

    You can almost see SpongeBob holding his nose as the now leaky ship Anchor sinks into Bikini Bottom’s graveyard.

    Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Salt City Homebrewers in Syracuse, NY. Former member of Escambia Bay Brewers, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers. Ken has been writing on beer-related topics, and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for well over 20 years. Opinions here are not necessarily representative of opinions or education presented by the BJCP or their representatives.

By Ken Carman
    Following the downward path powered by bad business decisions that crushed OceanGate’s Titanic tourism sub, Sapporo‘s bad decisions sank beloved Anchor. Sponge Bob probably held his nose and waved as Anchor sank into Bikini Bottom’s Craft beer graveyard.
    I have had a passion for their Foghorn barleywine for a long time, which has nothing to do with “Leghorn” if I am going to continue with these cartoon metaphors. Foghorn, to me (original recipe), was a TRUE Barleywine. Not the more recent poor attempts by other breweries to turn the barleywine style into just another version of a super hopped, ultra bitter, IPA.
    Sometime after Fritz sold the business, I bought a pack of Foghorn. Horrors! I LOATHE that green rubber hose/Band-Aid phenol and this pack had nothing else but that defect in every bottle. It’s almost like watching a Road Runner cartoon and from the start the coyote dies, end of story. Nothing funny about ruining a product because management doesn’t want to do what they should do keep the business afloat. Why it’s almost as if the Japanese concern could have cared less about Anchor and their customers. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All, Anchors Away to Bikini Bottom’s Graveyard”

A Beer Judge’s Diary

Our Topic- When Craft Beer is Bad

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman

    What exactly do you do? Tell the server every beer is crap? Be more sensitive about it? Do what we did, be polite, pay and leave?
    I am not going to tell you the name, or where we were city/village-wise. Please don’t tempt me by guessing: I have no desire to destroy anyone’s business. It’s just a damn shame such places give craft a bad name.
    I had been here once before, but it was closed and the hours didn’t work for me. This time we came into town to buy something else, so…
    We bought the sample tray, filled with an oatmeal stout, a brown, a red, and a fruit Kolsch. We sampled dark to light. We agreed about all 4. The best was the stout, but seemed rather thin, needing more oatmeal. We went down the line and down hill from there: literally and figuratively. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary”

Of Beer Judges and Bench Judges

Originally published as an Inspection column. These opinions are not officially approved by the BJCP This editorial is the opinion of Mr. Carman, and not the opinion of all the staff or writers here at Professor Good Ales.

Written by Ken Carman

    What does the assignment of Aileen Cannon to the Trump case, after this Trump appointee’s previous Trump case remind me of?
    The kind of potential beer judges who, if honest, shouldn’t be judging an entry in a beer competition because they know the brewer. Also the kind of test taker who might not pass a beer judging test, if they were honest. Example paraphrased question, “Can you judge an entry if you know the brewer?” The answer is obvious, “NO.”
    Beer judging tests are actually quite hard. But the bar should obviously be higher for bench judges than beer judges.
    I have heard some lawyer wannabes compare the written BJCP beer judge test to being harder to pass than the Bar. Once you become a beer judge you are expected to judge according to, and within, the BJCP Guidelines. If you’re judging IPAs but somehow a stout got into the flight you’re not supposed to make it a winner because you prefer stouts. In fact before even judging that entry you need to ask if it was placed in the wrong category, essentially the wrong group of judges.
    Equally, as bench judge, guidelines for getting assigned to any court case should be at least equally tough. If there are no uncompromised judges (like no conflicts) in a circuit then a uncompromised judge should be brought forth from elsewhere. Just letting THEM decide if they’re compromised isn’t good enough. Indeed a beer competition organizer, and/or the judge organizer, has/have the job of making sure Judge Ken doesn’t judge his own beer, and like bench judging one of the highest, most important, ethical calls is to tell the organizer of such conflicts. Continue reading “Of Beer Judges and Bench Judges”

Brew Biz: Werts and All, Bagg’s Square Brewing

    Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Salt City Homebrewers in Syracuse, NY. Former member of Escambia Bay Brewers, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers. Ken has been writing on beer-related topics, and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for well over 20 years.

    A casual review of one of Utica’s newer breweries.

By Ken Carman
    Millie and I met in 1974 at MVCC: Mohawk Valley Community College. Back then we felt blessed we had ONE brewery: FX Matt Brewing, noted mostly for Utica Club, Matt’s and occasional one offs like Maximus Super. This was just a few years into the craft boom and almost all of them out west, like Anchor.
    Once we got married we lived, briefly, in Utica, then moved to Nashville area for 45 years. Meanwhile when we came back to visit relatives, and then when I was on tour, FX morphed into Saranac, basically the same brewery, same family owning it, but now increasingly more dedicated to craft beer. And eventually breweries like Woodland, Nail Creek and Bagg’s Square popped up.
    On St. Patty’s Day Millie had a doctor’s appointment, so we stopped. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All, Bagg’s Square Brewing”

Brew Biz: Werts and All, Lake Placid

    Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Salt City Homebrewers in Syracuse, NY. Former member of Escambia Bay Brewers, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers. Ken has been writing on beer-related topics, and interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast, for well over 20 years.

The Topic-A casual review of two breweries with the same brewer, and what may cause at least one difference between the two.

    It was almost my birthday so what did we do? GO TO BREWERIES! I had had previous contact with Big Slide Brewery. Their beers looked interesting, as did their menu. The brewer also provided a second brewery he brewed at in his message to me: Lake Placid Brewery. Home to UBU Ale.
    Right up front: this is no BJCP-driven review. More like a “drive by” commentary. By necessity we were more focused on “drive by” because of the distance from home.
    In Lake Placid we stopped by two breweries. Two breweries with the same brewer: Kevin Litchfield.
    How can THAT be interesting? Well, we found one distinct difference between the breweries. But, before that, other notes….
Big Slide
    The first visit was to Big Slide. Small, comfortable, establishment on the way to the site of the Olympics. Last time I was here I was a student at Town of Webb in Old Forge, NY, and performing at All State Choir along with my fellow classmates. They were still building the slide and everything else.
    At Big Slide we had the “Birra Torta.” The menu called it “Chile Beef Stew, grinder roll, pepper cheese, cilantro, cup of birra broth for dipping.” Especially this time of year (winter) I was expecting a beef stew with a chili spin. No, it was an EXCELLENT hoagie with marinated beef and a dip that was somewhat tasteless. Good for the waffle fries. Kind of threw us at first, but pleasurable. May I suggest up front the hoagie-like aspect to the description.
    Unfortunately I lost my beer notes from Slide. Here is what I remember… Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All, Lake Placid”


I wrote this piece on Edinburgh’s pubs during the depths of the pandemic but didn’t post it because, well, no one was sitting in pubs back then. Now seems a better fit, not least because it’s the time of year when we’re heading indoors to ward off the chill of frigid evenings. And with the new year upon us, it’s an ideal time to start thinking about which places and pubs you’ll “resolve” to visit this year or next.

A brief note: I visited Scotland well before the pandemic. All the places I visited then are still going strong. What may have changed in the intervening years is the beer selection.

“Edinburgh, where have you been all of my life?” That was my very first thought when I stepped off the train at Haymarket Station on that sunny autumn day. The stone buildings, bustling thoroughfares, and convivial pub terraces overflowing with people reminded me of London. But the further I got from Haymarket Station, the more Edinburgh revealed its own unique charms, by turns cosmopolitan and whimsical.

Want to read more” Please click…HERE!!!

Schlafly Beer Releases Its Latest Stout Bout Sampler Pack

ST. LOUIS, MO —Schlafly Beer, the original, independent craft brewery in St. Louis, announces today the return of its winter sampler pack, Stout Bout, which features four stouts, including two new stouts, one year-round and one returning favorite: Mexican Chocolate Stout (6% ABV), Chai Latte Stout (ABV: 6.0%), Coconut Coffee Stout (ABV: 5.7%), and Oatmeal Stout (5.7% ABV). The variety pack is now available to the public.

“The Stout Bout name is a play on the boxing term for a match, and every year, our customers wait to see what flavors or “winners” make the pack. The sampler always features one of Schlafly’s classic stouts, Oatmeal, this year, and one variety that has to make a return appearance, which was Mexican Chocolate Stout,“ says Schlafly CEO Fran Caradonna. “We’re especially excited about two new beers entering the pack this year as they were submitted by fans last year.”