A Look Back on 2018 and BJCP Exam Results

Keg Tree at BeerLab University

With the announcement of BJCP classes being offered for free on O’ahu in early 2018, I didn’t know it would set my focus for the year. In the fall of 2017, I volunteered to be a steward for the first Oahu homebrew competition, which offered a window on the world of beer judging. I knew right away I wanted to take the courses but was unsure if it would yield anything, including whether or not I even wanted to take the exam. For those following along, there were half a dozen monthly classes focusing on many topics related to the BJCP and beer in general. More on this later.

The latter part of this year ended up being all about my own personal beer journey, as is the theme of this post. If you’re reading now and have been all year, I thank you for taking the time to do so! It’s fun to share all the opportunities that are out there to learn about beer and not just get drunk every weekend on the same swill.  Part of my lack of motivation for not writing as often as I originally planned is that there are too many little happenings to keep up with on this medium, and simply not enough big ones worthy of the effort. For the most part though, the holidays are a busy time of the year for my hobbies outside of beer! For the little things including beer notable beer releases and smaller events, be sure to check out my Instagram at alohastatebeer. Two of my favorites were the New Belgium Sour Symposium at Village Bottle Shop and the re-inauguration of the HOPS Homebrew Club in Kailua!

We had two beer festivals on Oahu. There were many tap takeover events and pub crawls around, including with the Hawaiian Craft Brewers Guild. I was hired by them to design the new website, which quietly went live a few months ago. Please check it out here.

My personal highlight was the much-delayed publication of my article about the growing beer scene in Honolulu in BeerAdvocate magazine. I had a ton of fun writing it and sharing it, and this is the last I mention it, I promise!

There were no brewery openings on Oahu in 2018, but we did get to experience Paisley Meadery downtown and Paradise Ciders’ taproom in Kalihi. I know there are many coming down the pipe, so 2019 should be an exciting year for new beer!  I was honored to be invited to Aloha Beer Company a few weeks before the release of three new beers; it was great to talk to Dave, taste unfinished products, and share my experience.

In October, a group of seven of us took the tasting exam, which was hosted by Aloha Beer Co. in the HiBrau Room on a Saturday morning. It was a fun yet exhausting experience; taste, think, and describe 6 beers in 90 minutes with no access to notes or guidelines.  The written exam scoresheets are graded by experienced judges, so in the time between I figured I’d start working on something else.

I started with the Road to Cicerone Coursebook: Brewing Ingredients and Process. These books offer a focused approached to a single group of subjects and include the coursebook and exam.. Once you pass, you get a badge on your profile and subject pin to compliment to the one for Certified Beer Server. I passed in mid-November and received my pin shortly thereafter. I purchased the Beer Keeping & Serving book, which I’ll be starting in the new year. I saw the Certified Cicerone exam is scheduled on Oahu in the spring, but that is probably too soon for me to tackle.

That brings us to today. I received the exam results for BJCP and could not be happier! I passed the tasting exam at a percentage level high enough to be awarded Recognized Judge immediately and eventually Certified Judge rank when I accumulate enough experience judging points. I earned two in November’s Brew Oahu Homebrew Competition, so I only need three more for the next rank. It’ll be fun gaining experience at competitions around the state!

Again, thank you for reading! Mele Kalikimaka me ka Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!