Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Blumenau judging (day two)

The bus has been brought forward to 8:00 from 8:30. Using nature's alarm clock, I rise at 6:45. Leaving enough time for a shower before breakfast.

Which is a very rushed affair, as I get distracted by the internet. Just cheese and orange juice today. That's all the major food groups, isn't it?

It's already pretty hot when we roll up at the judging location. Luckily, the airco is on full blast inside.

I've only one fellow judge today: Juan Martin Villareal from Argentina. Is this a good or a bad thing? With any luck, it will mean we rattle through the flights quicker.

First up are English Summer Ales. Happily, just four beers in the flight. It doesn't take too long to get through them. A couple are quite nice. Then there's the one with the Brettanomyces infection.

The styles I'm judging have definitely been tailored to me. Next it's Koyt, Koit, Kuyt or however you want to spell it. I don't notice much of an oat character in any of them. Other than a good degree of murk in some.

We finish the morning with English Brown Ale. The guidelines we're using are total bollocks. The strength is given as 4.2% - 6% ABV. I explain to Juan that most UK versions, Newcastle Brown excepted, were 3.2% ABV, tops.

Many are too pale. Almost none of them have any sweetness, which is one of the defining characteristics. Only two resemble UK versions at all.

It's a buffet lunch, obviously. Brazilians do love their buffets. It's OK. I shovel on some of the bacon-flavoured sand. Yum.

Historic beers greet us after lunch. Starting with an East India Porter, Lichtenhainer and Grisette. All are pretty good. The Lichtenhainer having just the right level of slight tartness. Things are looking up

A couple of indistinct beers follow, where I'm not sure what they're meant to be. Vague descriptions don't help. Then there's the mysterious Bavarian Lager, Old World XXXX. Where the XXXX stands for a redacted name. I immediately twig what it is: a Kulmbacher. I guess they've missed that off because Kulmbacher is a brand name. It's wonderful Strong, black and hoppy. Full of dark malt flavours. Easily the best beer I've judged. We're happy to award it a gold medal. I just wish I could buy it back home.

A torture style follows: Irish Red Ale. They're as bad as I expected. Only one drinkable example among them.

The day ends with Robust porter. The first beer up is a delight of dark malts. Sadly, that isn't typical of the beers that follow. Which are full of faults. Until the very last beer, which is also pretty good.

We've been at it since 8:30, and it's now almost 19:00. When the bus to the barbecue is due to leave.

I sit next to Martyn on the bus. He always has new and interesting beer history stuff to regale me with.

The barbecue is amazing. Especially the pork. I get myself a big plate of meat and some token salad.

There are two indoor bowls courts. Sort of like a stretch version of bocci. Several of the other judges have I go. I'm happy to watch. Too knacked to do much moving. And too full of meat. Tim Webb gets a second plateful. How could he possibly et more?

It's spitting rain as we wait for the bus outside. It doesn't make it any cooler. Even though it's 22:00, it's still boiling. It's been so fucking hot today. And really humid. 34 C, but feels like 41 C. Just as well I've been indoors all day. Though even there the airco was struggling to keep the temperature reasonable.

Back at the hotel, I go straight to my room. No capirinhas tonight. Just the soothing embrace of Laphroaig.


My accommodation most of my food and some beer were paid for by Concurso Brasileiro de Cervejas Blumenau. All travelling expenses I paid myself.

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