Sunday 27 February 2011

Organising a Beer Festival Judging. Part 2.

As I mentioned in this post, I've got my first beer festival boss judge gig.

It's the Lancaster Round Table Beer Festival, which is in its 22nd year. For the first time this year it will incorporate a beer competition – the Lancashire Cup.

The festival is dedicated to showcasing the brewers of Lancashire. As there aren't actually that many Lancashire brewers the numbers are being swelled by the breweries in the bit of Lancashire which was chopped off in 1974 and bundled into Cumbria (my homelands).

The Lancashire beer list (see below) is firmly within the cask ale paradigm. The festival does include some imported keg beers, as the event is thankfully unconstrained by CAMRA dogma. The Lancashire Cup is open only to the domestic beers.

The categories are: Mild; Bitter; Best Bitter; Porter & Stout; Premium Bitter and Strong.

There's always a debate burbling in the background about stylistic definitions but my life is too short to go there. These are the categories the organisers have defined and we've got to live with them, however vague they are.

As far as I know, the organisers have not defined the judging criteria, and this is something I'll be doing.

The common criteria tend to be: Appearance; Aroma; Taste; Aftertaste (SIBA also uses Saleability).

The big question for me is: what's the optimum weighting for each criteria?

For instance:

Appearance – mark out of 5
Aroma – mark out of 10
Taste – mark out of 20
Aftertaste – mark out of 10.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Whether you've ever been a beer judge or not, how would you do it?

I'd like to incorporate a pumpclip design rating but I don't think I'll be allowed to do that. (Notice the legendary Hart Brewery is in the comp).

Your comments are appreciated.


The beer list:

BarngatesCat Nap3.6%
Bowland BreweryGold3.8%
Burscough BreweryPriory Gold3.9%
Irwell WorksCopper Plate 3.8%
Kirkby LonsdaleRuskins3.9%
Kirkby LonsdaleTiffin Gold3.6%
Lancaster BreweryAmber3.7%
Prospect BrewerySilver Tally3.7%
Robinson'sDizzy Blonde3.8%
Rossendale BreweryFloral Dance3.6%
Ulverston BreweryFlying Elephents3.7%
WinsterOld School3.9%
WinsterBest Bitter3.7%
Arkwright's BreweryTrouble at Mill 4.0%
Arkwright's BreweryRun of the Mill4.1%
Bank TopFlat Cap4.0%
Burscough BreweryRingtail4.2%
Cumbrian Legendary AlesLangdale4.0%
Cumbrian Legendary AlesLoweswater Gold4.3%
Fallons Exquisite AlesLancastrian Gold4.0%
Fallons Exquisite AlesGoblin Ale4.3%
Garstella (2.5BB)Eccles Cake Ale4.2%
Hart BreweryDishy Debbie4.0%
Irwell WorksRichard Mason 18884.0%
Lancaster BreweryBlonde4.1%
JW LeesBitter4.0%
Lytham BreweryGold4.2%
Mayflower BreweryWigan Bier4.2%
MoorhousesBlonde Witch4.1%
MoorhousesPride of Pendle4.0%
Rossendale BreweryGlen Top4.0%
Three B'sBee Blonde4.0%
Bank TopDark Mild4.0%
Fuzzy DuckMucky Duck4.0%
JW LeesBrewer's Dark3.5%
Prospect BreweryNutty Slack3.9%
Three B'sStokers Slate Mild3.6%
ThwaitesNutty Black3.0%
ConistonSpecial Oatmeal Stout4.5%
HopstarSmokey Joes Black4.0%
Kirkby LonsdaleJubilee Stout5.5%
Lancaster BrewerySlate4.2%
Lancaster BreweryBlack4.6%
Mayflower BreweryLancashie Stout4.0%
Rossendale BreweryPitch Porter5.0%
StringersNo 2 Stout4.0%
BarngatesRed Bull Terrier4.8%
Bowland BreweryAdmiral4.4%
Fuzzy DuckTangerine Duck4.4%
Hart BreweryValadiction4.8%
Lancaster BreweryRed4.9%
Lytham BreweryRoyal4.4%
ConistonNo 9 Barley Wine8.5%
ConistonWinter Warmer Blacksmith's Ale5.0%
Liverpool OneMaharaja IPA5.3%
Liverpool OneBrass Monkey6.0%
Lytham BreweryIPA5.6%
StringersVictoria IPA5.5%
Ulverston BreweryBad Medicine6.3%


Baron Orm said...

I've got two thoughts on this:

1) Use the SIBA point ratings as it makes the judging consistent

2) Have all categories out of 5 as it's much easier selecting whether it's a 4 or a 5 rather than if it's somewhere between 13-20

MadAleMan said...

"As there aren't actually that many Lancashire brewers"
They won't be having any Brysons on though... I suspect that's because we're changing brewplant currently, and name shortly, so we won't be Brysons for long. I'll leave the paranoid conspiracies well alone.
I'll probably pop along at some point, will say hello if I see you

Ben Steel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben Steel said...

I kinda got carried away in the comments box! Please find my rant/response here --->