Judging at GABF

I got into Denver late Tuesday night after a couple weeks of exhausting weeks of festivals and picked up my judging packet. After waiting a couple of hours, me and my GABF assigned roommate got our room. Wednesday morning we jumped right into judging. There are about 110 judges, so getting through more than 2,000 is going to take a couple of days. Here’s my styles judged so far:


  • 57. South German-Style Hefeweizen
  • 20. Kellerbier/Zwickelbier
  • Pro-Am – All categories, homebrew recipe brewed in a commercial brewery


  • 47. Imperial IPA
  • … more in the afternoon

Having Imperial IPAs for breakfast this morning made my teeth hurt. When are brewers going to learn that this style is about imperial pleasure rather then imperial pain? Enough with the hop tea. Pro-Am has been the most interesting category so far. I was paired with Erik Warner, formerly of Flying Dog, and we had a lot of very well executed beers in interesting styles. The mini-best of show for the style was actually quite challenging. I can’t say anymore yet, you’ll have to wait for the results on Saturday.

This is my first time judging at the GABF. I’ve been judging as a BJCP judge at homebrew competitions for a couple of years now. This is quite different; I’ll pull together my overall impressions after we finish up. But, for anyone who has received cryptic judging sheets from GABF you know there’s room for better communication.

Judging at GABF is not all grueling Imperial IPA for breakfast work. We had the brewers reception at Wynkoop last night and it was a good time. There was a very good Northern Virginia contingent present: the Pro-Am team of Nick Funnell (Sweetwater Tavern, judging) and Wendell Ose of BURP and the Wort Hogs, Jason from the Wort Hogs, Steve Marler and Phil Sides (judging) of BURP and the Pro-Am Team of Mark Thompson (Starr Hill, judging) and Lyle Brown (judging). I’m sure I’ll see more NoVa and DC folks as the week progresses and the festival starts Thursday night.

Well, back to judging for the afternoon. I have no idea what I’m doing tonight… nap?

Cheers, Bill


~ by billmadden on October 9, 2008.

One Response to “Judging at GABF”

  1. Imperial IPA for breakfast does sound tough…now, I have had the Pyle’s gueze for breakfast and enjoyed that. Look forward to hearing your views on GABF judging when this is all done.

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