Judging Sheet for Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2008
Judging Sheet for Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2008

How I was chosen to be a judge at this year's Spring Beer & Wine Fest was serendipitous to say the least. As I was happily browsing through the German beer section of Belmont Station, I was approached by a certain Oregon Brewers Guild member who inquired if I could be bothered to wake up early on Saturday and judge some beers.

...as if I'd say no. Are you kidding?

I arrived early, and helped my OBG friend carry a few items into the hall, whereupon some of the other judges started showing up. Some I recognized, most of them had been at the Fest the day before, and from the looks of their faces, quite a few had been up late celebrating with brewing buddies. But beer waits for no man, and we soon took our seats.

I was assigned the Lager category, and I was lucky to be paired up with some seasoned industry folk who knew their way around a tasting. Dave and Jamie were throwing out tasting notes left and right, while I chose to take notes and stay a little quieter, lest I be looked at funny for not knowing the difference between German and Czech style Pilsners.

Though our experience levels were quite disparate, we all had relatively similar things to say about the beers. We all agreed that the top two beers were the American Light Lager and the Dortmunder. Though not what we'd normally order at our favorite pub, the American Light Lager won out, being spot-on for style and drinkability.

PBR Traveling Art Gallery
PBR Traveling Art Gallery
So after my breakfast of beer, the sheets were turned in and tallied, and the winners were announced. Much to our surprise, the beer we awarded the gold medal to was...

...Pabst Blue Ribbon?

Yes, you read that right. Hipster beer of choice, PBR. And yes, the other tables booed us.

Now before you begin crying about our how our tastebuds must be malfunctioning, remember that judging is mainly based on specifically defined style points, and the PBR simply met all the criteria, whereas the other beers all had notable detractors.

So read 'em and weep Portland. I love me some locally crafted beer, but there's a blue ribbon on the label for a reason.

Beer Chips & Chicks
Beer Chips & Chicks
...And now, a totally gratuitous shot of the Beer Chips girls, who apparently shop at party outlets for their mylar bodysuits.