I took a picture of the Best of Show round for the OBC Fall Classic, where I was the head steward, so people can see what that might look like.
As I’ve said, the best thing about being the head steward is getting to watch the judges at work on something like this. They’ve already eliminated a few beers at this point; there’s a spill on the table where I hurriedly tried to clean and didn’t quite make it.
The thing I noticed this year was that as the beers got whittled down, discussions of ‘politics’ started to come up. Eventually, the final four beers were a rauchbier, an American brown ale, an IPA and a rhubarb wheat. The rauchbier was soon given honorable mention and the rhubarb wheat ale, after much deliberation given best in show.
But the debate between the second and third place was where the meatiest conversation happened. There was a push to reward the brown ale because that style is so poorly represented in the market. Yet they are really tasty! It’s a bit like having a band that you know should be more popular but just cannot capture the public interest.
At the same time, while the IPA was superb there isn’t a place in America where you can go and find yourself bereft of IPAs. Awarding a high profile style a high profile award felt redundant.
In the end, the judges felt that the brown was just a nudge off from style and the IPA was so well done that they just couldn’t ignore it. Still, I was really happy to see a brown ale go so far; the beer was incredibly good!
Of course, every beer that they rejected for best in show had still won the best beer in their respective category so they were perfect for these amateur beer judges.
That’s a not-awesome picture of some of the stewards who helped out during the day, getting to try some well-deserved beer after all their hard work. I appreciate all the help I got: I certainly couldn’t have made the event work without them.