Thursday, June 6, 2013

My First BJCP Homebrew Competition

I entered my first homebrew competition last week at The Ram downtown Indy. The judges were all BJCP (beer judge certification program) and so far I really had only been judged by my friends and a couple other home brewers. The competition was the Rye Not competition, and we could do any type of style that we wanted, as long as we included at least 20% rye. I really haven't done a rye beer, so I figured let's make this doubly difficult and try a style I haven't brewed.

So that is why The Empty Can's Farmer's Ho American Farmhouse Ale was born. It's a farmhouse with 25% rye and American hops. I knew that the judges would look at style and judge based on the appropriateness of that style, but I really wanted to give the beer my own flair. Just so everyone is clear, I am probably not good enough or experienced enough to give beer my own flair, but I try every time

We all showed up at the Ram's downtown restaurant this past Saturday to hear the results, pick up our score cards and drink some limited release brews from the Ram. Keep in mind this was my first time being judge by people with true credentials and experience, so I was basically shitting my britches. My wife came with me to clean up if there was really a problem. 

Right away when we rolled in, I saw Jake from Indiana Beer and Will from Sun King, two guys I have tasted with in the past. They welcomed me and totally chilled out a little bit of my personal freakout. This was Will's first go around and Jake has done it so many times he's a judge now (well done it so many times and passed the certification exam, which the Little Lady and I are planning to take this fall).

I got my score back and I was just above mediocre. This was a huge hit to the ego, but one of the judges did such a great job outlining what I should have done, that I started thinking about my next brew. I also got some help from Jake and Will deciphering the intricate score card (by the way, I am more firmly rooted in the Beer Barons 1-5 overall scale after seeing how silly some of the criteria really can be). I took both judges advice and brewed up something new on Sunday. We'll see how it comes out!

Whether it's the craftbeer community or the homebrew community, everyone wants you to succeed. We are lucky enough to be a part of a culture that really cares about the movement, not just their own profit line. 

On that note- there's been a lot of talk about the Magic Hat VS West Six lawsuit. For me it is too bad that it got this far. In a business that is more like a brother / sisterhood, I expect more camaraderie and a great desire to make sure that everyone is taken care of. It sucks that the lawsuit happened, but as a craft drinker it really turned me off to both breweries. I was never a huge Magic Hat fan, but I wont be buying their beer again anytime soon, and I haven't had West Six, but I wont bend over backwards to find it. 

Thank you to the Indiana craft beer and homebrew scene. You are a great group of people and we are lucky to be able hang out!

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