The Oregon Brew Crew recently held a small competition at Laurelwood. There was a small range of styles represented, so that we could focus on an easily brewable beer, that Laurelwood would brew and then present at the GABF in the Pro-Am category!
What was very weird about the experience was that two of the four beers, one American one Imperial, had Belgian qualities: heavy clove nose, green apple flavors, no hop bitterness or aroma to speak of. I couldn’t help but wonder if something went really, really wrong or if they used the wrong yeast and were hoping we wouldn’t notice? Or worse, just hoping to get lucky? Or even worse: Screw it, I want feedback and they’re judging so the heck with what they’re asking for.
Which is why I can see some judges getting testy. Fortunately, we didn’t: we did our best and I wrote out as many positives as I could while identifying the things I didn’t like. There was a really solid Imperial IPA that, if it had been carbonated, would have been excellent.
Judging is good practice: I hope I get some more chances to do it in the future.