I was honored to be accepted as beer judge for the recent Great American Beer Festival (GABF) held in Denver, CO. This was my first time to judge at the GABF, and the experience was even better than I had expected. I have a whole new perspective and respect for this competition (the largest in North America). 240 judges were tasked with judging around 6,800 beers in 92 categories over three days (Wednesday-Friday). While arduous, judging is really the glamorous and easy part and not the real reason I wanted to write about here.
The real work for the judging is done mostly by the volunteers, who sort, track, and eventually serve the beers to the judges, and then clear the table for the next round. Table captains, beer stewards, and needed volunteers all do the work because they want to, not because they have to do it. Most of the volunteers use their hard-earned vacations to participate in the judging sessions each year and there is a waiting list to be included. Yes, there are perks for them as well, but they all have a lot of passion for beer, and that is the big reason they do it, year after year.
As for Birko, our customers once again walked-away with over 25% of the gold medals awarded at the GABF. Brewers know that proper brewery sanitation is the cornerstone of making great beer (made to style) that tastes great and not only wins medals but sells well, too. Birko would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our medal-winning customers for their business. Keep up the good work!