After much deliberation of which beers to submit for judging at the Great American Beer Festival Competition, the detailed task of entering each one and the final effort of shipping it off to Denver, the next step in the process begins. What takes place behind the scenes of the GABF competition is as impressive as the public session is chaotic and loud.
The Brewers Association uses about 330 judges for the competition. Over the course of three days, judges will blind taste beer in their assigned categories, comparing them to style guidelines.
“As we’ve grown the competition, we’ve also grown the number of judges to keep the tastings at a reasonable number of beers,” competition Director Chris Swersey says in a CraftBeer article. “In fact, the total number of beers each judge evaluates on average is about five percent lower than it was 10 years ago.” In each session, a judge tastes no more than 12 beers.
The judging process utilizes about 210 volunteers who sort, gather and pour the beers for tasting. It is a process that takes place from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., for three straight days.
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