Beers In Sacramento reached out to Mike Ungerbuhler to post about his journey to become a certified beer judge. Mike will post every Sunday for the next three months to share his experiences. Mike has his own blog, Insatiable Thirst, make sure to check it out. Here's Mike.
Greetings travelers! It is good to have you back. I took a little vacation last week and missed one week of class. The week prior to that there was no class due to the Queen of Beer Homebrew Competition. That being said, I don't have a whole lot to discuss this week. However, that does not mean that I haven't been doing some practicing and studying. The end of the journey, to my becoming a BJCP certified judge, is right around the corner. We have only two classes remaining until the tasting exam. That's one test that would be detrimental to your health to cram for, but certainly one that must be prepared for by tasting many beers.
Photo Credit: A great friend, Janie (I pronounce that as starting with an H)
The little vacation took me to Palm Springs; where the wife and I spent a few days with some great friends at a rented house with a pool. I took it upon myself to provide the beer selection for the long weekend. My favorite of the pictured line up is the second from the left, the Houblon Chouffe. This beer is, in my opinion, a perfect Belgian IPA. Its aroma is balanced between cirtusy hop characteristics, enticing fruity esters from the yeast and a sweet biscuity malt. The puffy cloud like head rests upon a pale golden beer that just shy of clear. The citrusy hop flavors are in the forefront until they fade to a light tropical fruit character. This is paired with a malt flavor that is reminiscent of a biscuit with honey. Houblon Chouffe is wonderful by its self or paired with a meal. We had ours with my wife's scrumptious butter chicken. We also made a stop at Ritual Brewing on our way down to Palm Springs. Look to my blog in the next week or so for a post regarding my visit to the brewery
Week 9: Balance
I take judging beer seriously and I work toward maintain a separation of drinking beer for pleasure and judging beer. In judging beer one must pay strict attention to every detail of the beer and its conformity to style descriptors. While drinking beer for pleasure is best done with a group of friends and maybe discussing what you like about the beer, or possibly while getting caught up in a hilarious round of Cards Against Humanity. After my short vacation, I took the BJCP Entrance Exam and passed which gives me the rank of "Provisional Judge". The last remaining steps to becoming a "Certified" BJCP Judge is obtaining 5 experience points and passing the tasting exam with at least a 70. Here's to exam preparation!