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John M. Esparolini | profile | all galleries >> Judging Homebrews at the Spirit of Free Beer Competition tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Judging Homebrews at the Spirit of Free Beer Competition

Spirit of Free Beer is an annual Mid-Atlantic regional homebrewing competition sponsored and operated by Brewers United for Real (BURP).

BURP is a Washington, DC-Maryland-Virginia homebrew club and one of the largest and oldest clubs of its kind in the USA. BURP's focus is the art and craft of both making and appreciating fine ales, lagers, ciders, meads, wines, and even sodas.

BURP has an active core of between 50 and 75 members involved in competitions such as this one, as judges, stewards, or contestants. These pictures show what takes place at this all-day event, in this case involving the judging of over 400 entries.

CLICK on the images to enlarge.

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The day-long judging begins early in the morning with free coffee, juice, and bagels for the judges and stewards
The day-long judging begins early in the morning with free coffee, juice, and bagels for the judges and stewards
Stewards retrieve contestants' brews from the walk-in fridge at Old Dominion Brewing Co....
Stewards retrieve contestants' brews from the walk-in fridge at Old Dominion Brewing Co....
...and take them to the judges' tables in the brewery's bottling area
...and take them to the judges' tables in the brewery's bottling area
The judges begin their work...
The judges begin their work...
...of evaluating over 400 entries to this year's SoFB  Competition
...of evaluating over 400 entries to this year's SoFB Competition
Evaluating such a large number of homebrews requires close attention and...
Evaluating such a large number of homebrews requires close attention and...
...dozens of judges and stewards
...dozens of judges and stewards
In addition to smelling and tasting them, the judges hold the samples up to the light to evaluate color and clarity...
In addition to smelling and tasting them, the judges hold the samples up to the light to evaluate color and clarity...
...and record their opinions on evaluation sheets
...and record their opinions on evaluation sheets
At noon, the judges and stewards break until the afternoon session begins
At noon, the judges and stewards break until the afternoon session begins
Host and owner of Old Dominion Brewing Co., Jerry Bailey chats with BURP president Bill Ridgely
Host and owner of Old Dominion Brewing Co., Jerry Bailey chats with BURP president Bill Ridgely
Rod Rydlun runs the Dump, where leftover brews are left after the judgings
Rod Rydlun runs the "Dump," where leftover brews are left after the judgings
Rod shares a beer with one of the stewards
Rod shares a beer with one of the stewards
Behind the scenes, careful tracking and recording of the 400-plus entries and the judges' results...
Behind the scenes, careful tracking and recording of the 400-plus entries and the judges' results...
...keeps the competition process running smoothly and on schedule
...keeps the competition process running smoothly and on schedule
Judges and stewards check out the Dump after the judging is over
Judges and stewards check out the Dump after the judging is over
Competition organizer Bill Newman (center) talks with two of the participants
Competition organizer Bill Newman (center) talks with two of the participants
Once the judging is completed, the winners are announced....
Once the judging is completed, the winners are announced....
...and applauded
...and applauded