|Beer judges back in the 1920s, they’ve changed a bit since|
And now as it ever was, the brewers remain in the judging chair (though beer writers have occasionally dipped in and helped out including Michael Jackson, Roger Protz and Mark Dorber), men and women from all over the world, including Portland, Patagonia, Bavaria and Cornwall; and in a room at the National Brewing Centre they sit, their faces a collective mask of concentration, noting this, noting that, the eternal patience of the beer judge, carrying on a tradition and securing and anchoring a competition that began when Victoria was on the throne. For three days these week, the brewing world is in Burton and the town is all the better for it.
I’m here keeping an eye on things, a guest of the competition’s organisers, but there’s another aspect to my visit — I have written a history of this competition, Brewing Champions, which should be out in the next few weeks, I’m rather pleased with it. And when the judges go home, the hundreds of beers in bottles, cans, casks and kegs will be thrown open and shown to the public at the International Festival of Beer, which starts on Friday. Roger Protz and I are there talking and tasting on Saturday, followed by Stephen Beaumont. It should be great fun, do come.