In order to broaden my knowledge of beer styles and learn how to improve my homebrewing, I have decided to take the Beer Judge Certification Program exam. The BJCP is the premier beer judging body and its style guidelines and judging process are utilized by the majority of brewing competitions in America. As it says on the BJCP website, “the purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills.” Luckily, my local hombrewing club (the North Texas Homebrewing Association) is hosting an exam on October 15, 2011 and a study course to prepare exam-takers for the big day. Chuck, a NTHBA member, has graciously offered to lead the course and has assembled an outstanding array of beers for us to sample during each class.
Over the course of the next 5 months, we will have a total of 11 classes, covering everything from the BJCP process, to water chemistry, to the geography of beer. At each class, we’ll also taste commercial examples of two beer styles (20 styles total since not all styles have commercial examples). Unless no one from the class can source a suitable beer, we’re looking at a total of 219 different beers that we’ll taste. In addition, we’ll taste and mock-judge a homebrew from a club member that fits one of the two styles for the day.
My intent is to chronicle each of these classes, primarily the tastings. Tasting the premier examples of almost every major beer style back-to-back is a pretty uncommon experience for your average boozer, so this should be quite fun. Besides, blogging about this will probably help me retain some of the knowledge I am gaining. Hopefully some of my classmates or anyone else with an opinion will chime in on the tastings. Stay tuned!