Judges for the Ipswich Show beer and wine competition Liam Ahearn and Tony Bilbrough at Yamanto Tavern.
Judges for the Ipswich Show beer and wine competition Liam Ahearn and Tony Bilbrough at Yamanto Tavern. Sarah Harvey

Serious business at beer comp

THE consumption of 36 different pale ales, dark ales, bitters, brown ales and stouts would be considered a binge by anyone else's standards.

For six connoisseurs of the amber liquid, however, it was serious business at the Yamanto Tavern yesterday, as they got down to the brass tacks of deciding who should be the winner of this year's Ipswich Show home brew beer competition.

The annual contest attracts dozens of amateur beer makers from across the Ipswich district, as well as a couple from the greater Brisbane area who are keen to see how they stack up against some of the best brewers in the state.

Among those on the judging panel was three-time former Ipswich Show champion Tony Brown, who decided to take a break from competition this year to focus on getting his beer out into the market.

"I decided it was time to give someone else a go," Mr Brown said.

"I am really looking forward to seeing what the beers are like."

While the layman's opinion of beer quality tends to get bogged down in subjectivity, the Ipswich Show judges must look for very specific qualities. Panel member Liam Ahearn said each individual beer could take as long as 20 minutes to judge properly.

"For each variety of beer there are specific guidelines for how it should appear and taste," he said.

After pouring, the judges will cup a hand over the glass to let the aromas build up

The next step is to taste the beer and savour the immediate flavour, as well as the lingering aftertaste.

"Beer brewers get into this type of competition to get quality feedback on how they are going so that they can improve their brewing," Mr Ahearn said.

Competition chief steward Janelle Kerr said genuine grain brewing was quickly growing in popularity.

"Anyone who is serious goes for grain brewing because you just can't beat that flavour," she said.

After finishing the beer section, the panel of judges also tested just over a dozen locally made wines.

The winners of each category were awarded vouchers for Brewer's Choice stores and cash prizes.



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