BEER JUDGING

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1. I HEARD THERE WAS A BEER JUDGING COMPETITION INVOLVED IN THE CALGARY INTERNATIONAL BEER FESTIVAL, WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?

Essentially, a panel of certified beer judges (yes, it’s a thing) will deliberate over beers registered in 30 different categories, awarding gold, silver and bronze certifications to the best beers in their respective categories, to the best of their ability.

Terms & Conditions (please email ABFHeadJudge@gmail.com with questions or for further clarification)
* The Canadian International Beer Awards are based on BJCP guidelines but not an official BJCP event.
* You may enter as many unique beers as you want – each unique beer may only be entered into one category (ie. if you enter a beer into IPAs – it cannot go into another category).
* The one exception to this rule is the ‘Rookie of the Year’ category. If a beer has never been at the event, it may be entered in its style category and also in the ‘Rookie of the Year’ category. This is the sole exception.
* First 2 beers per brewery entered into the CIBAs are free. Each additional beer entered is $25 and will be taken out of sample tokens after the show so there is no up-front cost.
* A brewery must be registered as an exhibitor in order to qualify for the judging. (ie. A beer may be poured at a restaurant/pub/eatery booth, but if the brewery itself is not registered in the festival as an exhibitor, it does not qualify for the CIBAs)
* All beers entered into the CIBAs must be poured at the event and available for consumers to sample. Judging stewards will be coming to your booth to collect the beer at any point starting at 3:30pm on the Friday, and noon on the Saturday. It is your responsibility to have the equivalent of 1.5 litres or can/bottle equivalent to give to the steward as soon as they arrive. Timing is crucial for the CIBAs – if your beer is not ready, you will not be judged and no refund will be given.
* We judge a maximum of 22 beers per judging group. If there are more than 22 beers entered into a certain style category, we will break them in to 2 or more ‘heats’. If one of your beers makes the finals, a steward will need to come and collect another 1.5 litres or can/bottle equivalent.

2. CAN ANYONE REGISTER AND PARTICIPATE IN THE COMPETITION?

No, only breweries and agencies participating in the festival may register a beer to be judged. There are strict rules and regulations governing the number of beers they may register, as well as the availability of those beers for judging, which have been posted for those who are eligible to register.

If you represent a brewery or agency wishing to register for the beer judging competition, please contact Bill Robinson with any questions you may have.

3. CAN REGULAR FESTIVAL GOERS PARTICIPATE SOME HOW?

Yes! the Calgary International Beer Festival’s beer judging competition has a fan favourite component. Look for voting cards throughout the BMO Centre during the first weekend of May!

4. WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES?

There are 30 categories in the beer judging competition. They are:

  • Light Lager
  • Pilsner
  • Amber / Dark Lager / Bock
  • Light Hybrid
  • UK Ales
  • American Ales
  • Porters
  • Stouts
  • India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • Gluten-Free
  • Wheat, Wit, Rye
  • Best of Alberta
  • Best of British Columbia
  • Best of Canada
  • Best of United States
  • Best of England
  • Belgian Ale
  • Belgian Strong Ale
  • Cider
  • Specialty Beers
  • Mead
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Fruit Beers
  • Best Friday Cask
  • Best Saturday Cask
  • Best of Germany
  • Best of Belgium
  • Best of Rest of Europe
  • Best of International (countries that do not fall into other categories)
  • Best in Show

5. WHO ARE THE JUDGES?

Each judge has been selected through the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), a rigorous course designed to promote beer literacy and appreciation. for more information on the BJCP, visit www.bjcp.org

6. HOW DOES ONE JUDGE A BEER? WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN JUDGING A GOOD BEER?

Beer is the second most popular beverage in the world – after water, of course. Its consumers can range from those who just want a cold brewsky after a long day at work, to those who sip each beer with the same appreciation as a wine connoisseur. No matter where you fit in, your beer won’t judge you. But if you want to learn how to judge a beer, look no further. Calgary International Beer Festival is the perfect event to try out some of those beers that you’ve seen on the shelves of a store but haven’t tried yet. Who knows – that new beer could be to you like scotch was to Robbie Burns.

There are two general classifications to break beer into – Ales and Lagers. The difference in a nutshell? Ales are fermented at warm temperatures and turn out more robust than their lager brothers. Lagers, fermented at cold temperatures, are more mellow.

From here it gets more complex. There are large varieties within the ale and lager families, and even some beers that don’t really fit in either.

How do you pick which classification is right for you, and then which beer within that classification will suit your mood or go along with your meal?

There are five main criteria to look for when judging beer:

  • Bouquet & Aroma
  • Appearance
  • Flavour
  • Body
  • Drinkability & Overall Impression