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Posted: 16 February 2011
Last week I had the great pleasure of being a Judge in the 125th Brewing International Industry Awards held up in Burton upon Trent. There were 796 entries in the competition, samples sent in from all over the world. The judging panel was comprised of 30 brewers who were onganised into small groups for the initial round of tasting. Judges were not allowed to taste and select their own beers.The tastings took up the whole of Wednedsay and Thursday from 8.30am to 5.30pm and I have to say it was actually quite hard work. Selecting the beers was not done on a strict scoring basis, rather a "consensus" aproach was used requiring a great deal of discussion among the various panels.
After the formal tasting had finished a series of evening events were organised including last Wednesday evening when we all went to have a look at the burton union system at Marstons. It was an amazing sight to see with wonderful frothy yeast bubbling away in all the collecting troughs right across the fermenting room. Emma, head brewer did a great job explaing how the system worked and followed this up with a beer and food evening in the visitor centre. Great fun.
Tension was mounting by Friday morning when the panels had to taste and select, first, the winning cask beers and then eventually all of the winning beers. People were arriving from across Europe and beyond to hear the results which were released late afternoon. I was thrilled when Shepherd Neame won three prizes, a Gold medal for Asahi, a Silver medal for Sunlik and a Silver medal for Whitstable Bay. A great end to a long week.
David Holmes - Head Brewer
You can follow me at twitter.com/dholmesbrewer