Bloody hell, that was some thunderstorm yesterday. Massive bolts of lightning, one after the other. I fell asleep to its insane crackling.
It's another early start. After dragging myself out of bed as the sun rose, I drag myself some more down for breakfast. It's full of judges. I get some cheese, some sort of sliced meat product and a coffee. I really can't stomach much this early in the morning.
I've a full table today. Both fellow judges are Brazilian. Their English is pretty good, which makes life easier.
We have three mini BOS on our schedule: Classic English Pale Ale, English Barley Wine and Sweet Stout. It being a BOS, all we have to do is decide which beers, if any, get medals. No filling in electronic score sheets. This is a piece of piss. We quickly rattle off the first two categories with no real disagreement.
It takes a little while for the Sweet Stout to come out. But there are only two beers and we're quickly done.
What happens now? Will we get more Mini BOS? It's a little unclear. It's still pretty early - just 10:00. It seems we will be assigned more. Except they're having some technical problems. We sit around and twiddle our thumbs. Bu 13:00, when it's time for lunch, no more beers have appeared. So we head off for lunch.
The buffet is better than yesterday. Really tasty meat. Though obviously not as good as yesterday's barbecue.
We're told more beer will be arriving. But it takes a good 20 minutes before the Export Stouts appear. As all but one have faults, or job is pretty easy. The one clean beer is pretty damn good.
Are we finished? I finish off the Stout samples while we're waiting. It's not much after 14:00.
There follows a lot of sitting around. Some of the other tables are still getting, beers, most not. While nothing much is happening, I enquire about getting a COVID test. Not being able to use my phone to make an appointment, I'm given an email address. I hope that works.
At 16:15, we're told that our table is done for the day. I unwisely ask the steward if I'll be judging the final BOS. She goes to the technical area to ask.
When she gets back she says: "Yes, I got you the last spot."
That wasn't what I wanted to hear. It's a compliment to be asked, but I know how long these things can take. Especially if there are a couple of argumentative bastards on the panel.
I've been chatting with Dick Cantwell. "Maybe I should just fuck off and pretend I misunderstood."
Dick, who will be on the panel says: "I won't tell anyone."
I really can't face any more hanging around. Plus all the arguing. It's amazing how a day of hanging around tires you out more than actually doing stuff.
The bus to the hotel should be leaving in 15 minutes, at 17:00. I move quickly to the exit. The bus is already there and the driver lets me on.
At 15:20 I'm still sat there on my own reading Viz. I'm such an intellectual. The driver says something in Portuguese that I don't understand, but it's clear from his hand gestures that he's wondering where the fuck everyone else is, too. He gets off the bus and makes a phone call.
15 minutes later he tells me that the bus has been put back an hour. At least I think that's what he says. He gestures for me to get on the other bus. The one allocated to the other judges' hotel. I say Ibis several times so the other driver knows where I'm supposed to be going.
It all works out perfectly. I get my own private bus back to the hotel. The right one.
I've some time to kill before the bus at 20:00 to tonight's restaurant. It would be stupid not to spend the time wisely. Drinking capirinhas in the hotel bar.
Martyn turns up when I'm just starting my third. He joins me in a capirinha. No sign of any of the BOS judges. We chat away merrily. We get two more capirinhas. This is fun. I'm getting mine sem azucar. Can't be doing with that sugar stuff.
It's getting on for 20:00 (the time when we're supposed to leave for dinner) when a bus with judges arrives. Not all of them. Just the ones who only did the first BOS round. With 100 gold medal beers, they had to do it in two phases. If it's possible, I feel even happier about dodging judging it.
We depart for Pomerode and the Schornstein brewery before the last of the judges return. I suppose they'll be going there directly from the judging.
Pomerode is a surreal place. With its Easter egg trees, giant Easter egg and signs all in German. We pile into the taproom and grab seats. I'm sitting with Martyn, Chris, Michael Hall and his wife. Soon were wrapping our lips around a pretty good Pils.
The buffet this evening is feijoada, Brazil's national dish. A black bean stew with various bits of meat in it. It's pretty good, but I'm starting to feel meat burnout. I've eaten a fatty mountain of it in the last couple of days. Can't turn my nose up at some lovely fatty pork, mind.
While we're eating, it starts pissing it down again. Tropical style. We're in a covered area outside and I have to move to stop getting drenched.
It's well after 9:00 when the bus with the last judges rumble up. I really dodged a bullet there. It's exactly what I expected to happen, based on my past BOS experiences. Both times, I barely got any dinner.
Chris trails off to the brewery, but Martyn and I resist. When I was here 2 years ago I had to abort a visit because it was so fucking hot.
Chris comes back and entices Martyn and I with tales of a cachaca shop. We follow him to the brewery. Where there's a crowd of judges tucking into beers directly from the tank. I get a Stout with cumaru. It's pretty nice. Best of all it's really cold. I'm already regretting coming in here. It's really hot. Sweat is dripping off me.
Next is a fresh hop beer, made with hops from Sao Paolo state. I'm surprised that they can grow hops that close to the equator. I thought they needed more hours of daylight than you you get at those latitudes.
We chat briefly with the female brewer, then I have to bale. I'm already half melted.
Around midnight, everyone is stocking up on drinks for the bus ride home. I get a nice cachaca. Far latter than planed, the bus bounces away. I hope everyone got on. I didn't see anyone counting heads.
Some one asks the driver to put on the radio, but it's broken. Instead, the Brazilians at the back make their own entertainment, singing away. It's much noisier than on the outward journey. I wonder why? Rather like a school trip.
It's getting on for 1 AM when we stagger off the bus. I head straight to bed. Yet another early start tomorrow.
Rua Hermann Weege, 60
My accommodation most of my food and some beer were paid for by Concurso Brasileiro de Cervejas Blumenau. All travelling expenses I paid myself.