Beer Knowledge

5 weeks.Sour beers for the bjcp exam.

That’s how far away the BJCP exam is.

For some background, I’ve been wanting to become a certified beer judge for years now. Last January it was one of my New Years Resolutions to pass the exam; a group of us formed to study for it.

There is a huge demand for the BJCP and not enough resources, so the earliest we could schedule it was March 2013. In hindsight, I’m glad we’ve had over a year to study because it’s a ton to learn and a whole lot of fun.

We’ve been fairly consistent about meeting every two weeks. The study sessions generally go like this:

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Book Review: Bitter Brew

by Billy Broas


My experience with Anheuser-Busch goes far back and beyond beer. Growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia I was constantly exposed to AB. Many of my friends’ parents worked at the giant factory. Busch Gardens was an annual summer tradition. It may even surprise (or horror) my readers to know that I was once employed by AB. Not in beer, but as a lifeguard at their Water Country USA theme park.

I remember the time that August Busch came for a visit. The entire place went into panic mode. I cleaned the hell out of the bathrooms that day. You would have thought that God himself was coming down for judgement.

That was my first experience with the Busch men and the power they wield. Or should I say, wielded.

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Beer books make a great gift for the beer drinker in your life. There are hundreds of great ones, but for this post I’ll focus on books that were released in the past couple of years because there’s a good chance the person you’re buying for hasn’t read them yet.

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My Favorite Beer Glass

by Billy Broas

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Is studying the psychology of a beer drinker like studying the psychology of a fruit fly? Shallow and futile?

I like to think we have a few more marbles rolling around, and it seems we can even offer valuable insights into human behavior.

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Imported Craft Beer on shelvesWay back when, if you wanted to drink something different in the U.S., it had to be an import. You could argue that dark beer meant import. To many it still does.

Things have obviously changed. There are around 2,000 breweries in the U.S. each producing around a dozen beers, which if my math is correct, equals a shit-ton of different beers.

I know it’s overwhelming for me. I try to drink as many different varieties as possible. My uniques on Untappd are more important to me than my total.

But we don’t live in a bubble, and the craft revolution is taking place at a worldwide scale. Mikkeller, Brew Dog, and Baird are all familiar names of international craft breweries. Not to mention the “old” imports: Sam Smiths, Chimay, Orval, Weihenstephaner, etc.

My question is this – do you make an effort to drink craft beers from other countries, or is trying American craft beer enough of a challenge for you? Let us know below.

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Review of beer jobberSome of you might have heard about an interesting new service for buying beer online called Beerjobber.

I spoke on the phone with Beerjobber founder Sean Nevins to get more info on how the whole thing works.

BeerJobber has a unique business model. They have two main goals:

  • Give you access to beers not available in your area
  • Get those beers to you fast and fresh

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Bottles of Biere de Garde and Biere de Mars
It’s getting pretty damn hot outside and you might be tempted to cool off by reaching for a summer beer staple – the Saison.

But slow your roll.

Take this opportunity to try a lesser known beer style that will remind you of a Saison but offer something a little different.

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There’s a very naughty word I like to use.

“Dark fruit”

It comes up repeatedly when I’m describing beer. Like, “I get dark fruit up front…”

In my defense, I’m not alone. A search for the term on Beer Advocate yields over 765,000 results.

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It was an ironic situation.

Our BJCP study group was holding one of its bi-weekly meetings. Studying for the exam means refining your tasting abilities. Ideally, you and the other judges are in agreement on what you smell and taste in a beer. The first thing you do after a round of scoring is compare your score to that of your cohorts and hope you’re not too far off.

Yet this particular night, we were about to prove that no matter how hard we studied, mother nature has ensured that we’ll never taste things exactly the same.

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