Wednesday 8 February 2012

Wanna Judge Beer?

Once again I'm leading the judging for the Lancaster Beer Festival awarding the "Lancashire Cup".

This beer festival was formerly know as the Lanacster Round Table Beer Festival, and it is now in its 23rd year.

The dates are March 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Here's the website:

The judging will take place at Lancaster Town Hall on March 1st – and we have vacancies for judges.

If you can be in Lancaster (at your own expense, sorry – it is a charidee gig) on March 1st and you feel you know your beer then get in touch.

Some things I look for in a beer judge:

Open-mindedness: If you've ever uttered something like "all lager is rubbish" or "all keg beer is rubbish" then you should think again. As it happened, last year we had no lager or keg beer but nonetheless, to be an open-minded beer judge you will NOT have written off beers in these categories purely because of some dogma you have swallowed.

Open-mindedness: If you live by restrictive self-impose rules, e.g. "I never drink beer that is over 4%" or "I never drink stout", you're probably not cut out to be a judge.

Open-mindedness: you are intrigued by every new beer you encounter, regardless of style or country of origin.

A willingness to treat beer judging seriously. If, upon reading this, you thought something like "great, that'll be a laugh, pissing it up on free beer for day, count me in" then we don't want you.


Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

Good points, am judging at SIBA tomorrow and last year when judging Kraft Keg someone said to me I don’t like lager and I asked what they disliked: bock, Helles, Pils(e)ner, Dunkel, etc etc — and the final point is very pertinent: I have stopped judging at one event cause I feel that it has a lot of people on the pish and I have often asked brewers if they would like their beers to be adjudged on whether it gets one scammered or not. sadly Lancaster is too far for me otherwise I would stick my hand up.

Jeff Pickthall said...

I was disappointed by the standard of some of the judges that were foisted on me last year. There was a particular table of blokes who refused to follow my randomised seating plan and sat together treating it as a free beer piss up jolly. Yeah, I know they sink a lot of beer at a sponsor's pub but that is not a qualification to judge beer. Melissa was a judge, playing nasty copper to my nice copper, and put them in their place - eventually after they'd pissed off a lot of people.

Jeff Pickthall said...

Oh yes, last time I judged for SIBA (North, Oct 2010) I was also disappointed by some of the judges. Cluelessness mainly. Too many who had won things like raffle prizes to "judge beer for a day". It devalued the whole exercise.

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

I’m at the National Awards and have found myself enjoying the debates with the likes of Paul Hegarty, Annabel from Cask Marque and several others in the beer world — I remember a good discussion about whether black pepper could be added to mild and where did it go then, for me it remained a mild albeit with black pepper in it and it worked.

Cooking Lager said...

So it's not an opportunity to get pissed up for free, like?

I can at least pretend that I'm not just on the piss and I don't mind who I sit with, as I don't really like anyone.

What would one have to do? Come up with tosh like "This is hoptastically awesome" whenever someone gives me grog and hold up a sign with a score on like on Strictly?

Steve Wright said...

I've put the call out to the homebrew community who are often a LOT more experienced, open minded and interested - via Jim's Beer Kit (, Northern Craft Brewers ( and the people taking the BJCP exam course at the moment - hope that will get a few involved.

I'll be along myself but am not sure which end of the partcipant-observer spectrum I'll be on as I'm studying how people learn to judge and assess taste for my PhD thesis which is why I'm there... Fingers x'd you'll get some good people.

MetaFilmList said...

I am your man. I collect and revew beers. 360 bottled beers 50 ciders and 140 casks. I'll drink everything once. Twice if I like it. I am your man. Lagers, Ales, Lambics. Bring it on.

Jeff Pickthall said...

Can you confirm by email that you can do it?
Send Mail

Jeff Pickthall said...

Can you confirm by email that you can do it?
Send Mail