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Monday, September 8, 2008

Canadian Brewing Awards Judging: Sept.6th

Saturday was a long day. A fun day. An interesting day.

While most people were still in bed sleeping off the effects of Friday night, I was on my way to Markham to work the bar for the Canadian Brewing Awards judging. I arrived shortly after 9:00am to the Duchess of Markham pub located on Main Street and started preparing for the 10:30 start time. Small stemmed glasses were arranged on trays and were individually marked with the corresponding identification numbers (category, brewery, # of entries). The first two categories were pulled from the fridge, allowing them to warm slightly.

The judges started to arrive and mingle amongst themselves. Last years CBA judging featured only 8 judges, but due to the record number of beer entered this year 13 judges were recruited. For some it was a chance to catch up with a friend they haven’t seen in a while and conversations about the brewing industry were shared along with other beer related stories.

Just after 10:30 the judges took their seats and buckled in for their long daunting task of sampling from 24 categories ranging from light lagers to German Hefeweizens to Barley Wines coming from all corners of the country. I poured the beer into the appropriately marked glassware (thanks Kristina) and ensured that there was just enough left for myself to sample. There were some beauties.

The trays were then dispatched to the judging tables and the certified judges (BJCP) blindly reviewed the products appearance, colour, aroma, taste, mouthfeel and more. The beer in the tasting glasses was swirled around to awaken all the flavours and glasses are held up in the air to score the beers colour. Then discussions take place between the group; chatter about the beer, why the scores were marked the way they were and so on. Once each table completed a category, a new one was poured and identified before landing on their table for another go.

This took place until the last category of the day was completed, which was at precisely 7:10pm as the Barley Wines were tasted. So everyone had a long day as you could imagine. However, this group of judges decided to stick around and help finish off some of the remaining India Pale Ales that were rated and did their best to polish off some growlers (don’t worry, they were provided with a free shuttle home). I was behind the bar serving these dedicated beer lovers and serving them some IPA’s they’ve never experienced before (knowingly) was a real treat.

I myself was very lucky on Saturday as I mentioned. I was able to sample each beer that I cracked open from each category, from each brewery in Canada that submitted. I had the advantage though of knowing what I was trying and made sure some extra’s went home with me for sharing. There were some notable breweries absent from the judging that I would have loved to sample, but nothing is perfect.

This years judging turned out well and now we must wait until September 25th to unveil the winners at The Richmond in downtown Toronto as TAPS: Canada’s Beer Magazine (who run the CBA’s) will be hosting a posh gala. Stay tuned for more details as they happen and the full list of winners once their announced on the 25th.

Pictures compliments of Karla Dudley, editor of TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine.


Teena in Toronto said...

Sounds like fun! Lucky you!

sstackho said...

Mmmm, after tasting some of Biergotter's products last year, I am curious to taste what other homebrewers are able to come up with.

Let me know if you're up for a tasting or some trading!

Troy Burtch said...

Hey Shawn,

The CBA's are for breweries across Canada, Biergotter's were not part of it.

The featured beers at the CBA gala will be from the winning breweries. And there are some fantastic stuff.

I'll be having a tasting shortly. I'll let you know.


sstackho said...

Ah, I thought this was the homebrewers' awards... I should look more closely at the CBA website!

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