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.
Well fellow travelers, we have done it. The journey to my becoming a BJCP certified judge has come as far as I can take you. We have covered the characteristics of beer (aroma, appearance, flavor and mouthfeel), the ingredients of beer, the basics of judging beer and we also touched on a couple of aspects of the craft of brewing. At this point, I have taken the tasting exam and feel that I have done quite well. All that remains for me to complete my goal is to accumulate five experience points and receive my score. The receipt of my score can take anywhere from a month or two, up to six months and will decide my ranking.
The tasting exam was held at the brewing facility and taproom of New Helvetia. Thanks New Helvetia for allowing use to use your space. Our steward was none other than David Teckam himself. I would like to thank David for all of the time and effort that he put into this class. He is a great teacher and is very passionate about beer. I am very glad to have taken the course and I know that I would not have done as well as I feel that I have without taking it. Here's to David Teckam, CHEERS!
Week 12: Journey's End
There were 6 beers to be judged and 90 minutes with which to do so. I honestly didn't think that I would be nervous going into this exam. I mean, it is just drinking beers right? There is some truth to that, as one must drink beer to judge it; other than that, there is much more to it than just drinking beers. The exam was taken closed book, no style guidelines or notes of any kind. Additionally, we were given no advance knowledge of which styles we would be judging. In a competition setting, judges are given a copy or at least allowed access to the style guidelines and they can discuss the beer being judged. Not so in the tasting exam. I utilized each and every one of the allowed minutes, and while I can't go into too much detail, I will say that the beers to be judged ranged from very poor to excellent. I would divulge more information about the beers that I judged were I in the last grouping of peoples to take the tasting exam. Let's just say that I certainly used a vast majority of the knowledge that I have gained over the last few months and that taking the exam preparatory course was more than helpful. I am excited to be finished with this aspect of my goal, now to just earn some more experience points. Congratulations to all who have taken the tasting exam and good luck to the rest of the class who will take it in December.
Shortly after completing the tasting exam, I meet up with Ted and Scott of Beers In Sacramento to talk about continuing writing for them. Ted brought up a question that begs answering; what is my biggest take away from this experience? I could not give an answer on the spot as I feel that I have taken away so much. I have given Ted's question much thought over the last couple of days and came to the following conclusion: lagers are not for losers, sours are not scary and ales are for all. What that means is, this experience has opened my mind even further to the great wide world of beer and I can appreciate many more beer styles now than I had prior to taking the course. I cannot thank Beers in Sacramento for providing me with this platform to share my journey.