Throughout 2012-2013, my husband and I took a class for our business. No, it wasn’t a social media “how to class” nor was it a “Write a Business Plan in 5 Steps” class. It was a beer tasting and judging class. The Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is a formal way to recognize beer styles, classify a beer, and grade the beer based on the style description. There are five main elements to judging a beer: aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel, and overall impression. Everyone has different talents for perceiving aromas and flavors, so the classes helped us to understand what we were strong at and what we really needed to focus on to pick out.
We tasted every style while we were in those classes so that we could be prepared for the BJCP exams. Yes - exams, plural. The first part of the examination is an online multiple choice, timed test that is meant to see if you know styles and descriptors well enough to continue through the program. Once we passed that test, we took the tasting exam. We were given six beer samples and 15 minutes each to swirl, taste, and furiously write everything we could perceive down onto the paper in front of us. It was an intense 90 minutes!
Once we turned in our exam pages, we had to wait five months for the results in the mail. They sent us both a packet with our overall score and a thorough critique on our judging skills. The bottom line for us though? We passed! We are now officially recognized BJCP judges! We plan to use the skills we obtained to make great recipes as we start up our microbrewery, Eternity Brewing, in Howell and to host our own tasting classes to pass on the knowledge that we have obtained.
You can find the article on page 12 of the Inside Howell magazine online here: