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Well, here's cheers

Posted on : 14 August 2017

What constitutes a well-trained palate for beer tasting and judging? The judging panel for the Sydney Royal Beer & Cider Show comprises a combination of beer & cider producers, industry educators and communicators, brewers, industry professionals, sommeliers, retailers and journalists.

Each judge is an expert, with an appreciation prepared by years of professional experience. And what exactly are they tasting for in blind judging of beer, cider and perry? Drinkability is important – do you want to drink some more and do you actually like it.

Overall, the exhibit is judged on Appearance, Aroma, Flavour, Technical Merit, and Style. When it comes to beer, head retention is amongst the criteria judged, clarity and colour are counted, and hop character is also important. The criteria for cider and perry judging include finish and carbonation, fruit character in the aroma, and acid/fruit/sugar balance.

The correct balance of taste, aroma and appearance for the style can mean the difference between a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal for beer, cider and perry exhibits.

At Sydney Royal, the judges don’t only taste and rate each product but they provide individual feedback to every exhibitor. This alone is a tremendous reason to enter but coupled with the opportunity to benchmark your product against others and to receive recognition from industry peers, participation is more than rewarded.

Neal Cameron, Chair of Judges is the developer and teacher of the Certificate III in Microbrewing at TAFE NSW – Sydney Institute. Neil is also Technical Director for Brewtique, specialising in brewing equipment installs around Australia and Asia. When asked what he would spend his last $10 on, Neal answered: “A decent craft beer, naturally.” 

And if you’re wondering, as apples are to cider, so pears are to perry.