Why become a beer judge?
Becoming a beer judge is perhaps the best way for an established homebrewer to learn more about beer and become a better brewer. And it’s an incredible fun activity to add to your homebrewing hobby. The company of homebrewers and beer judges is wonderful.
The BJCP “Scheduled Competitions” list is always current, and shows all BJCP-SCP events around the world that have been registered as of a week or so ago. (It takes a 3 – 6 days for the database to refresh into the webpages). The BJCP makes rather few requirements of sanctioned competitions. Read about that in the Sanctioned Competition Manual.
History of judging in the THC
(L. Swihart, revised Dec 2015)
Bill Friday (1952 – 2002) is listed as Recognized in the list of Departed BJCP Judges. Not sure when he took the test but he did. None of us who were around then and still around now can recall hearing much or anything about the BJCP program until after Bill was gone. Before he died (before he even told people he had cancer again), Bill asked Linda Swihart to “take over scheduling the meetings for a while.” A while turned out to be longer than she had supposed. But the club survived the sad episode of Bill’s passing and learned that there is nothing like the legacy of a departed friend to drive and inspire accomplishment.
Linda learned about the BJCP program from San Diego buddies in early 2004, and in June of that year she attended the National Homebrew Conference in Las Vegas, stewarded for the 2nd round of the National Homebrew Competition. The inspiration provided by this and other beer judging experiences in 2004 and 2005 was amazing. When Anita Johnson (Great Fermentations Anita) announced in August 2005 that Indianapolis would host a BJCP exam in March 2006, a group of us decided to go for it. Lloyd, John Blichmann, and Rick and Linda took the test with over 20 people at the State Fairgrounds. It was one of the largest BJCP exams yet given, and it quadrupled the number of judges in Indiana.
In the Fall of 2006, strong interest in an exam study course was expressed by a young man nobody in the club had heard of, and a study group met in Linda and Rick’s basement, and in April 2007 Lafayette Brewing Company hosted Lafayette’s first exam, with Victor, Jerome, Robert, Nancy, and Kurt taking the exam as first timers, and Linda re-taking it.
In May 2010, Dec 2013, and May 2015 there have been exams. Club members already in the BJCP program have helped organize study groups and administer the exams. There’s an exam on the schedule for Aug 2016 and there will be some study sessions if there is some interest.
As of late 2015 I count 28 people, most of them very local or formerly very local, some moved away, who have started their affiliation with the BJCP in an exam at the LBC, or who have come to an exam here to advance their rank: John Blichman, Jon Boley, Kurt Brenneman, Lloyd Chatham, Sandy Cockerham, Tyler Dare, Jarrod Doucette, Nate Engelberth, Tom Ferguson, Evan Ferree, Pete Fletcher, Jerome Grskovic, Nancy Hartman, Jessica Holsinger, Victor Kostyuchenko, Chris Mills, Ryan Mitchell, Scott Moll, Derrick Schertz, Alan Schwab, Justin Sciscoe, Linda Swihart, Dave Truett, Kyle Vester, Alex Webster, Rick Westerman, Robert Wright, Joe Yakimicki. There are a handful of others who have come from further away (Kansas City, even Florida) to take a seat in an exam here.