To make the introduction of beer something really special, we added a commercial beer competition to the mix to highlight local and regional breweries. We thought this would be a great way to bring attention to the growing craft beer movement and give you a chance to explore new beers or beer styles and plan your beer tasting experience once you step through the gate.
All of the beers that entered the Best In Fest competition will receive a full pints&pairings write up that will feature food pairing suggestions for each beer. The two runners-up and the winner will get full pints&pairings podcasts to help you better plan your beer and food experience at the Casa Pacifica Angels Wine, Food & BREW Festival on June 1st.
I would also like to thank my judging crew. They took time out of their busy Saturday morning schedule and put their palates and beer knowledge to the test for me. Believe me, it's no easy task judging commercially produced beers. You can read more about the judges HERE
Last, but not least, a big THANK YOU to Kristin Palos (behind the camera) who is the events coordinator for Casa Pacifica and the person who gave me the opportunity to get involved with such a great organization. Thank you, Kristin.
Now, let's get to the competition.
Seven local breweries entered into the inaugural Best-In-Fest competition. To ensure the integrity of this competition, the beers were poured out of sight (called blind judging) so the judges didn't know anything about the beer in front of them except its style. In this round, each beer was evaluated against its own style and given a score based on its aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and overall impression.
The scores were entered into spreadsheet and added together and the three highest scoring beers moved to the second round. Only 18 points separated the bottom scoring and top scoring beers.
The identity of the beers that moved on to the second round were kept a secret, again to ensure an unbiased evaluation. Round 2 doesn't use score sheets, rather a round-table style of discussion was used to choose the best of show beer.
The conversations in this round ranged from style accuracy to food pairing possibilities to drinkability before the winner of this round was picked.
In the end, it was Institution Ale Company's Restraint that won Best in Fest. Their American Brown Ale got top marks by all the judges for its food pairing possibilities and drinkability.