SIX brave volunteers spent Monday sniffing, swilling and mentally dissecting almost 50 different beers in the search for Nowra Show’s finest home brew.
While to many it sounds like the perfect day, the reality is far more serious.
Drew Fisher from Nowra volunteered to judge beer for the first time this year.
A couple of hours into the judging, he summed it up as “tricky”.
“The easy part is drinking beer and having fun with your mates on a day off,” he said.
“But you need to pull each beer apart and analyse every aspect of it.
“You really can pinpoint the different flavours.
“I’m a chef, so I’m pretty into this sort of thing.
“Considering the amount of effort people put into brewing, it’s important to treat the beer with respect,” he said.
The Nowra Show home brew competition received record entries with 47 passionate brewers submitting their creations.
Among them were American amber, Bohemian pilsener, heated barley wine and smoked Belgian-style saison.
Tim and Tess Thomas from Hopdog BeerWorks, who hosted the judging, were pleased with the interest shown this year.
Mr Thomas has been judging beer for 13 years in professional and amateur competitions.
He remembers some “interesting” beers in his first year judging for the Nowra Show.
“This is the biggest we have seen. We even have an entry from St Ives in Sydney,” Mr Thomas said.
“I remember a few years ago I think there were five entries, last year there were about 20 and this year we have 47.
“After the beers are delivered we chill them for two days, then it’s up to the stewards to make sure it is poured well and looks good.
“All the judging is blind. The beer is brought to us in a plain glass, we have no way of knowing who they are from,” he said.
Nowra Show steward Paul Anderson was pouring the beers and keeping track of the scores.
“I’ve been doing this for four years now and I can smell a good brew as soon as I open the bottle,” he said.
“I can also tell what it’s like by the comments and the looks on the judges’ faces.
“People put a lot of time into the brewing process but if they get one part of it wrong it can ruin the whole batch,” he said.