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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

2014 Homebrew Competition: Judging is Complete

Judging the Best of Show
By Steve Siciliano

Preparations were going smoothly this past Saturday morning at the Guest House in Grand Rapids, the site of the judging for the Eleventh Annual Siciliano’s Homebrew Competition.

The entries had been carefully unboxed and the bottles were safely sitting on tables in the staging area. Water pitchers, dump buckets, sharpened pencils, tasting glasses, bottle openers, BJCP style guidelines and crackers for palate cleansing had been laid out for the judges. The sound system had been set up, the keg of New Holland Full Circle for post judging refreshment was on ice, and Barb, Greg and Katie and were setting up the computer and the printer on the registration table. I checked the time. There was still a half hour before the judges and stewards would begin arriving. We were ready.

I was in the kitchen talking to the caterer about the post-judging meal when the double swinging doors flew open. “Steve, there’s a problem with the score sheets,” Barb said. “A big one.”

The problem was indeed a big one. On Friday I had taken the flash drive with the forty-five PDF files of the judging packets to the printer. There should have been one separate pre-printed cover sheet and two separate score sheets for each of the two-hundred plus entries. The packets had instead been printed on both sides of the paper and couldn’t be used.

Crises mode. Barb retrieved the flash drive from her purse. We debated whether we should reprint the packets ourselves. Did we have enough paper? Probably. Did we have enough ink? Maybe. Did we have enough time? No, not with the basic, slow-moving printer we have at home. Barb raced off to get the packets reprinted at Office Max.

I’m happy to report that despite that rather major bump in the road the rest of the judging went smoothly. Some stellar beers were entered, six of which advanced to the round of Best-of-Show. You’ll have to wait until the May 17 Homebrew Party to find out which entry won but I will share this tidbit of information now—this year the winning homebrewer is from West Michigan.

Much thanks to the stewards and judges, some of whom traveled from as far away as Detroit and Chicago to participate in the judging. Thanks also to New Holland Brewing Company for their co-sponsorship of this year’s competition.

Score sheets and medals will be available for pick up at the Homebrew Party on May 17. Those not attending the party may pick up their score sheets and medals at the store beginning on May 18. Those residing outside the Grand Rapids area may request to have their results and medals mailed by contacting me at this address:

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