Beer Buzz: How to make a winning brew

Ron Smith judges some brews.

Talking mouthfeel

Three Indiana breweries brought home medals from the 2014 World Beer Cup Competition in Denver, Colo., where 4,754 beers from 1,403 breweries representing 58 countries were judged April 6-12. Carsons Brewery in Evansville earned silver for Red Dawn, in American-Style Wheat, which drew 23 entries. Thr3e Wise Men earned Silver for Hot for Teacher Ms Dopelbock, in German-Style Doppelbock with 52 entries. Sun King earned bronze for Johan the Barleywine in Barley Wine-Style Ale with 53 entries.

NUVO checked in with certified beer judge, educator, homebrewer and Cicerone Ron Smith for guidance on what sets one brew apart from others in competition. Smith explains, "A winning beer must first be a well-made beer, with no off flavors or technical issues. Then, the beer needs to meet the accepted style guidelines for the beer style it was entered as (which can be half of the battle, i.e. getting a beer in the best category for it to score well). Once a beer is determined to meet the style guidelines, which are always a range for each major aspect of the beer style, including Aroma, Appearance, Flavor and Mouthfeel."

"Then the judges look for the overall aspects that make the beer outstanding, which is often the balance and harmony of the ingredients and the various flavor, aroma and mouthfeel characteristics. When there are no flaws, and all the appropriate aspects of the style are present, along with the perfect balance and harmony for that beer style is achieved, which is all much easier said than done, then you usually have a beer that is going to win awards." Learn about Smith's top-rated brewery tour to Brussels, Brugge and Antwerp, July 20-29, at

Notes from BRBP

John Treeter, Broad Ripple Brewpub head brewer, tells us: "Every year the Broad Ripple Brewpub honors the home brewer who was Best in Show at the Indiana State Fair Brewer's Cup Competition by brewing their beer. Tim Palmer lifted that trophy in 2013 with a Pilsner he calls A Noble Daughter and also was crowned Home Brewer of the Year. Tim started home brewing in 2009 and has been a member of F. B. I. (Foam Blowers of Indiana) homebrew club since 2010. On April 30 at 6 p.m. at BRBP lift a pint and toast Tim."

On May 1, the Brewers of Indiana Guild will honor Broad Ripple Brewpub founder John Hill at Tomlinson Tap Room with a festive dinner including a toast and roast. Reservations required by April 25. Contact BIG executive director Lee Smith at 439-9131.

Notes from elsewhere

Voted "Best Beer of 2013" by Hoosier Beer Geek, Bloomington Brewing's 10-Speed Hoppy Wheat is making its 2nd-annual appearance in honor of bike riders. Brewers Floyd Rosenbaum and Nick Banks tell us, "Like an early morning summer ride through the Indiana countryside, this American wheat ale is golden and hazy with earthy pine and tropical fruit notes rippling throughout each sip. Mosaic hops bring their unique aromas of crisp citrus and juicy pineapple, creating an invigorating finish full of single-hopped bliss." Check out HBG's judging notes.

Upland Brewing's 7th annual UpCup homebrewing competition deadline is May 31. Here are contest rules and event details. Judging is June 7 at 3 p.m. at the Upland production facility, 4060 Profile Pkwy, Bloomington. BJCP judges, professional brewers and other brewing industry professionals will judge all entries. 2013 UpCup winner was homebrewer Tom Wallbank for Breakfast Berliner.

Flat 12 invites: "Tell us What You Want to Drink. In May/June we will pick 8-10 ideas and brew them for Indiana Microbrew Festival at Opti Park in Broad Ripple on July 19." Here's the entry form.

Recommended for you