Monday, October 24, 2011

Board Membership & The Waiting Game

This past Saturday the 22nd of October, I was officially selected as the next member of the Board of Directors for the Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery.  It's been a long road since I first joined Flying Bike as member #12 earlier this year, but I'm ready to take a leadership role and do all I can to help Flying Bike move forward and become a great success. 

It seemed clear at the annual meeting, that the members desire more communication from the Board of Directors regarding what's happening with the cooperative 'behind the scenes'.  As someone who's only been a member up until now, I fully agree.  During my time on the Flying Bike Board of Directors, I intend to do all I can to make the activities of the Board as transparent to the members of the cooperative as possible. 

Fly-PA Judging Last Month at Pillager's Pub

Next up for Flying Bike is something very exciting.  Our first beer is going on tap!  For those who members who didn't get a chance to try it out at the annual meeting this past weekend, gather your friends and acquaintances and come on out this Thursday, October 27th, where Fly-PA will be on tap at the following locations:

Pillager's Pub
8551 Greenwood Ave. N
Seattle, WA  98103

Beveridge Place Pub
6413 California Ave. SW
Seattle, WA  98136
(West Seattle)

Fiddler's Inn
9219 35th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA  98115

Also, this past weekend, I took my long-anticipated BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) exam.  It was a three-hour written exam, but I was so busy writing the whole time that it felt like it was only about 15 minutes!  The test consisted of several 'essay' style questions and four beer tasting/judging challenges, done at half-hour intervals after the first hour of the exam. 

It's an extremely challenging exam, and the three-hour time limit may sound long, but it's not!  The test requires a vast amount of knowledge regarding all the various styles of beer, the 'classic' examples of what each of those styles should encompass, as well as an extremely thorough knowledge of the entire beer brewing process - all the way from grains to glass. 

Now I play the waiting game.  Unfortunately, the BJCP is so backed up in scoring exams, that I won't have my test results for approximately six months; a long time to wait.  Due to this, however, the BJCP is changing the format of the test next year.  The test will be given in two parts starting next year: The written part which, for the first time ever, will be available to take in an online format, and the tasting portion, which will have to still be scheduled and attended in-person like the current exam. 

I'm hoping I did well enough my first time taking the exam to get 'Certified' status, which requires an exam score of 70% or higher; no easy task.  Otherwise, I'll likely be 'Recognized' status, which requires an exam score of 60% or higher.  But I can always take the exam again next year in the new online format. 

My whole motivation for taking the BJCP exam has been to increase my own personal knowledge about beer and the brewing process, mainly so that I can better articulate my various beer experiences and tastings to my readers.  There is no other benefit to me or to any other BJCP judge beyond the personal satisfaction of gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to continually improve our beer tasting and evaluation skills.  And, though I have now taken the test, the journey is not over.  I'll continue to learn more and improve my tasting and evaluation skills, so that I can provide better information to my readers about all the various and wonderful beers out there to try. 

I'm looking forward to putting some of my sharpened tasting skills to the test this December, when I hope to visit as many of the following breweries during my vacation as possible.  I plan to contact each brewing I'm going to visit beforehand, to see if I can setup some interviews and get you all as much 'inside' information as I can:

Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. - Portland, OR

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA

Russian River Brewing Co. - Santa Rosa, CA

Lagunitas Brewing Co. - Petaluma, CA

Moylan's Brewing Co. - Novato, CA
(Moylan's is the 'Sister' brewery to Marin Brewing below.)

Marin Brewing Co. - Larkspur, CA

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA

Stone Brewing Co. - Escondido, CA

Whew!  I hope I'll have time to hit 'em all. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there!

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