Fest-Of-Ale Beer Judging 2014 – Penticton

I was asked to be a judge for the Fest-Of-Ale and at first I was not sure if I should do it.  Not being a certified judge weighed on my mid a bit.  I felt unqualified or at least under qualified.   I decided though that there is no way to get experience without just jumping at an opportunity that you are given.  This blog has given me opportunities to do things that I would never have had a chance to do usually.  The judging took place on day two of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale on April 5th, 2014.  There was 42 Beer and 3 Ciders to be judged from 35 different Breweries and Cideries.  There were 9 Catagories including Lager/Pils (6), Pale Ale (4), Ale (4), IPA (13), Stout (5), Belgian (2), Wit (4), Fruit Beer (4) and Cider (3).  The following Head Shots are from Kim of DogLeg Marketing.  Meet the Judges.

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David Beardsell – Brewery Owner/Consultant

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Joe Wiebe – Author

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Alan Moen – NorthWest Brewing News

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Me

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Jim Martin – Metro Liquor (Senior Wine Consultant)

As with all Beer Judging competitions this one is done blind.  Beers are brought out in their categories with only numbers on them to differentiate them.  Here are a few examples of how the beer is laid out for the judges and what our scoring cards looked like.  This competition was overseen by Martin who is the owner of the upcoming Bad Tattoo Brewing and runs the Kettle Valley Station Pub both in Penticton.

There are many ways to judge beer from what I can gather talking to this group after the judging. From what I can gather it is best to take notes and sample all the beer and then go back and give your final scores.  I didn’t do it this way and I wish I did.  If there is a next time I can always do it differently.  Judging this competition you are allowed to discuss with the other judges on all points of the beer and if it actually fits into the category it is submitted as.  Saying that it was very quiet in the room from around 10am when we started to 3pm when we finished up.

Once all the samples had been judged our score cards were handed to Martin.  He then tallied up all the scores and were were given a sample of all the winning beers.  This is were the discussion on Best of Show began.  The best of show has to both be a very good beer and it also should be true to the style.  There was a long discussion comparing the merits of each beer.  When it came down to it though it was a fairly easy choice.

 

Group shots by Kim

Winners

Lager/Pilsner: Hoyner Pilsner – Hoyne Brewing Co., Victoria BC
Pale Ale: Red Truck Ale – Red Truck Beer Company, Vancouver BC
IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC
Wit/Wheat: Robson Street Hefeweizen – Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Ales: Naramata Nut Brown Ale – Cannery Brewing, Penticton BC
Stout/Porter: Holy Smoke Stout – Firehall Brewery, Oliver BC
Belgian: Sunkissed Tea Saison – Deep Cove, North Vancouver BC
Fruit Beer: Stiegl Radler – McClelland Premium Imports, BC
Ciders: Red Roof Cider – Orchard Hill Estate Cidery, Oliver BC

Best of Show

IPA: Four Winds White Rye IPA – Four Winds Brewing Co, Delta BC

Four Winds Brewing doesn’t seem to slow down on the awards front these days.  Congratulations to all the winners.  You all deserved the awards and should be proud of the medals you received!

Here are some more photos from Kim

Full sized photos can be found here

We then dispersed into the hall for the remainder of the second day of the Okanagan Fest-Of-Ale.  After doing the judging for this event I would jump at the opportunity to do it again.  There was no doubt that the other judges had a better understanding of how the judging process worked and the flavour profiles of the ingredients in beer.  But then they are professionals that either work in the field or have been writing about beer for a lot longer than I have.

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