OK, so I got completely skunked at the Minnesota State Fair this year. This comes as no surprise for me, since I repeatedly get snake-eyes at this particular competition. The one year I actually got a blue ribbon was the time I put an untested Mild ale into it, about three years ago now. For some reason I seem to be able to medal with the exact same beers in different competitions, but not the State Fair! For instance I put 5 beers into first round of Nationals and two went on to second round. All five of those beers were put into State Fair...and nothing! But I'm not bitter at all!
I feel that I received good feedback this year, and am very glad that the check box score sheets of last year's fair have gone the way of the dodo. Each of the sets of score sheets I got included a certified of higher BJCP judge paired with a less experienced judge, so this was well organized. My friends with The Primary Fermenters Homebrew Club took over the organization this year and did a great job considering how large this competition has become in the last few years. Kudos to them and to all those who helped judge and steward.
I actually scored pretty high marks on most of my beers, so the competition must have been pretty stiff this year. To score a 44 out of 50 points for a Belgian Specialty beer and still not get a medal tells me that the other beers were freaking fantastic! My lowest scoring beer was an American Barleywine that I hadn't really shared with anybody before. I think I'll avoid putting it in any more comps! I'm actually happy that competition is high, as this points out the improvement in our local scene's brewing and judging skills. I'll happily take my place in the middle if most of the homebrew around here gets so much better!
I'll keep trying! On the positive side, a bunch of my friends and club mates from Jack Of All Brews and the Primary Fermenters won ribbons, so I can bask in their glory. I really do value the friendships I've formed through this strange hobby and the super-nerdy offshoot of judging and taking part in competitions. I get why some people have no interest in the competition side of things, but for me it gives me something to look forward to, people to meet with a few times every year, and some good homebrews to try.