Arizona's highest-ranking beer judge shares tasting tips
The Valley is home to one of the world's best beer palates, and he's sharing his expertise to help us all appreciate our brews even more.
What's happening: Gilbert resident Dennis Mitchell is the president of the international Beer Judge Certification Program. He's the highest-ranking beer judge in Arizona and one of the top 30 in the world.
How it works: Sadly, becoming an official beer judge takes a lot more skill than just liking beer.
- Multiple examinations and significant practical judging experience is required to reach Mitchell's rank.
I got to drink and judge alongside Mitchell last week for Scottsdale's One Water Brewing Showcase, which featured five beers crafted by local breweries using recycled water from Scottsdale.
Of note: Our judging panel awarded the blue ribbon to Goldwater and Four Peaks brewing companies, who teamed up to craft an exceptional wet hop lager.
- You can try it and other beers made from recycled water at Scottsdale's Canal Convergence event this weekend.
The technique: Mitchell helped me and the other four amateurs on the panel by walking us through what to pay attention to on our first few sips.
- Aroma: Could we smell the hops? Was the aroma overwhelming or alluring?
- Appearance: A good porter shouldn't look like a Coors Light and a good lager shouldn't look like a Guinness.
- Flavor: This one's obvious, but we slowed down on our first sip and appreciated what we did or didn't like about the flavor.
- Mouthfeel: Was the carbonation too much or was it too flat? Was it thicker or thinner than we'd like it to be?
The intrigue: Mitchell said learning about beer styles and techniques can help understand what makes a good or bad beer and can help you to figure out what type of brews you like best.
Yes, but: Don't overthink it. Beer isn't meant for tasting — it's meant for drinking, he said. 🍻
More Phoenix stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Phoenix.