Would you like to have some certified constructive feedback on where your brewing capabilities stand and how to improve them? Why not take your best beer and enter it into a homebrewing contest? There are all types of BJCP certified contests listed at this link. It lets you know the entry deadline, the point of contact, specific requirements, a link for more information, and whether there is an entry fee or not. The schedule has contests listed all the way through December. If you want a chance for your beer to reach the masses you should consider entering it into Sam Adam’s Longshot Contest. Just follow this link for more information on that contest. You’ll need to have four bottles to send and three bottles set aside in case you make the semi-finals. If you decide to enter the Longshot contest you better hurry. You have to get your entry in between May 11, 2012 and 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 25, 2012.
Entering your beer into a contest, big or small, isn’t about winning a ribbon or gaining bragging rights. Those are just extras if you happen to win. The scoresheets that come from certified BJCP judges will provide you with valuable insight and feedback on how to improve your brewing skills. It will let you know the areas you need to work on and the areas you are strong in. Plus…..its fun!
Remember that it is illegal to ship alcohol via the US Postal Service, so if the contest is too far away to drop it off at an official drop-off location then box it up and send with UPS or FEDEX. They can be a pain too if you provide too many details so just hand them a sealed and addressed box. Make sure to package it so your beer arrives intact without leaks.
Finally, I know the most common exuse for not entering contests is the pain of bottling. Well, for a small investment you can bottle just enough for the contest right out of your keg. Check out the Blichman Bottle Filler Beer Gun! So, no need to worry about a beer not carbonating in the bottle or having to wait two weeks for it to do so. Carbonate in the keg and then transfer it to the bottles. Make sure to get the accessory kit too. Its an investment of about $100 total.
So, what are you waiting on? Brew up something you think worthy to be judged, send it in, and see where you stand.