Where and when

There will be 2 preliminary judging days and then the final competition day. The dates are :

  • Prelims 1 : Saturday March 1st 2014
  • Prelims 2 : Saturday March 8th 2014
  • Finals : Saturday March 15th 2014

Stewards need to be at Linden St. at or before 9:15am in order to get the steward orientation and get setup for judges to start judging at 10:00am

The Prelims and Finals will take place at Linden St. Brewery located at 95 Linden St. Oakland, CA in the back building furthest from the street.

You can get to Linden Street Brewery from West Oakland BART by a 0.7 mile 15 minute walk. There is a sidewalk the entire way. Here is a map of the path to walk.

What is stewarding?

A steward manages a beer judging table. You can think of it like a waiter if that waiter had only one table in his section. Instead of moving between tables taking orders and brining food, he would only have to focus on one table.

How does the day start?

You’ll be assigned as the steward for either one or two judge panels. At prelims each panel will be a pair of judges and at finals each panel will be a trio of judges. For those stewards that are stewarding 2 panels (typically 4 judges (2 + 2) sitting at the same table) you’ll be doing double duty (like a waiter with 2 tables in his section).

Each panel will be jointly judging a flight of beer. A flight will typically be a series of up to 12 beers, all within a single style. This means that each bottle of beer that’s brought to the panel will be sampled by the 2 or 3 judges in the panel at the same time. The day will begin at 9:15 when I gather all the stewards and run through some of this information and answer questions. I’ll hand out a waiver to all of the stewards that they’ll need to sign. I’ll also be sharing last minute changes to process and updates. I’ll tell each steward which panel (panels) they’re assigned to and where their table is. I’ll hand out shop towels to each steward. I’ll show the stewards the locations of :

  • where to put used plastic glasses
  • where to get clean plastic glasses
  • where to get extra dump buckets and shop towels in case of overcarbonated beers
  • where to turn in score sheets Stewards will need to fill out nametags and wear them so I, judges and other stewards can remember everyone’s name.

Each stewards table will be setup before the stewards arrive with the starting table setup. This setup consists of :

  • New butcher paper table cover (judges use this to write notes on)
  • a stack of clean plastic glasses
  • a white plastic tub of bread
  • a metal dump bucket
  • 4 water bottles (6 for finals)
  • a cooler with ice and beer in it on the floor next to the table

Breakfast (muffins and danishes) will be available before judging begins at 10am.

Just before 10am each steward will find his or her table and judge panel. I’ll endeavor to tell each steward their judges names. When you find your table, introduce yourself to the judges telling them that you’ll be their steward. I’d encourage stewards to also talk to their judges about :

  • do they mind if you sit with them and listen in (if you’d like to do this)
  • if you’re interested in becoming a judge let your judges know

You can either sit at the table with the judges if you wish or stand nearby.

For finals only, the judges will look at their flight and come up with an order that they’d like to taste the beers. This may be based on the subcategories of the style their judging. You’ll want to know what this order is to make it easier to get the right beer. You may want to jot the order down on a piece of paper to keep with you, or just keep the final flight score sheet in view where they’ll indicate the order of the beers.

How to Steward

Beer and Glasses

First you’ll want to grab the first bottle of beer in the flight. For prelims this will come from the cooler located at the cellar table for your beer category. For finals this will come from the cooler on the floor at your table.

Bring out the first bottle of beer. Typically the judges will want to open and pour the beer themselves. If they ask you to open the beer go for it but it’s unlikely.

If, when they open the beer, it’s overcarbonated and starts spewing on the table, go to the table with the extra dump buckets (or extra plastic bread buckets) and snag one. They’ll want to put the spewing bottle into a bucket and let it spew. Clean up the mess with your shop towel.

The judges will pour the beer into the first round of clean glasses. If you’re sitting with them they’ll likely pour you some as well.

The most efficient sequence is :

  • Start with a stack of clean plastic glasses
  • Judges pour beer 1
  • Judges finish tasting beer 1
  • You bring out beer 2 and dump the beer in the used glasses into the dump bucket
  • You stack the dirty glasses and take beer 1 away, dropping the stack of dirty glasses at the dirty glass table and the half empty beer at the finished beer table
  • Repeat

As you see in this sequence above, when the judges are finished judging a beer, there will likely be beer left in the bottle. Take the cap that came from the beer and put it back on the bottle best you can. Note the average score that the judges have given the beer and take the half empty beer bottle over to the judged beer table. On this table will be all of the half finished beers placed on the table in positions roughly equivalent to their score. There will be a masking tape gauge on the table showing scores going from 0 on the left all the way up to 50 on the right. Put the beer roughly where it should go based on it’s score.

The reason to put the half empty beers on this table and organize them by score is so that you and all the other stewards (and other volunteers) can sample more beers than just the one’s that show up at your table. You can correlate the style of the beer based on the entry number on the cap. There should be a style list up on the wall to correlate style number to style name.


As the judges go through and judge each beer in the flight they each will fill out this form for each beer :


After each beer is judged by the judges in the panel, collect their score sheets along with a blank cover sheet like this one :


Next you’ll validate that the judges filled the form out correctly by :

  1. The Category, Subcategory and Entry # in the upper right are all correct. You’ll find these on the bottle cap
  2. The “Stylistic Accuracy”, “Technical Merit”, and “Intangibles” checkboxes at the bottom right are checked.
  3. The 5 score numbers on the right add up to the Total score that they wrote correctly

Here’s how to translate the bottle cap into it’s category, subcategory and entry number : The bottlecap format will look like this :


This would mean :

  • Category : 21
  • Subcategory : A
  • Entry Number : 5-43

As you can see, the Entry Number is a combination of the first lines number after the dash, and the third lines number after the dash

Here’s a graphic showing the bottle cap and it’s translation :

World Cup of Beer 2014 Bottle Cap Label.pdf

Next you’ll fill out the cover sheet by filling out the :

  • Entry #
  • Category #
  • Subcategory
  • Take the 2 or 3 scoresheets (depending on the number of judges in the panel) and average their scores, putting the value on the cover sheet in the “Final Assigned Score” field.
  • Fill in the “Ordinal Position in Flight” field with which beer the judges are on. For example if this is the 2nd beer they’ve judged in this flight, and there are 11 beers total then you’d put “2” of “11”.
  • The “Place Awarded” field is left blank

Next, confirm that the judges have filled in the column on the Flight Summary Sheet for the beer they just finished correctly.

  • The entry number, category and sub-category should be correct
  • Each judges score should be in the column
  • The “Assigned Score” should match the average that you calculated on the Cover Sheet

Leave the flight summary sheet at your table and take the validated score sheets and cover sheet to the clerical staff who will be receiving the score sheets and re-validating them. There should be a pile on their table of incoming scoresheet/cover sheet packets which you can put yours on top of.

Bread and water

While the judges are progressing through the flight, if they’re running low on bread, go get a new full bread bucket from the bread table and swap it in for the near empty one on your judges table. If judges finish their water bottle offer to take the empty and bring them a new one.

Beer temperature and more beer

Sometimes when the judges go to pour a beer they’ll find that it’s too cold. If this is the case they’ll give you the bottle to have it warmed up. Take the bottle over to the cellar team who will have a warm water bath running and put the beer in the bath. Your judges will likely move on to the next beer and come back to the one that was too cold.

Sometimes the judges need more of a given beer for some reason (spilled it, ran out, etc.) This is not common but if it does happen, find out the entry # and go to the cellarmaster to explain and ask for another bottle.


If at any point you have any questions or need any help, ask Gene, the head steward. He’s there to help.

Wrapping up

Different judge panels will finish their flights in varying orders. Your table may end up being the first done or maybe the last. To help deal with this issue, when your panel finishes, find another panel of the same style as your panel, walk over to that panels steward and ask them for the beer at the end of their panels list. Take that beer back to your panel and serve it up to your judges. Keep doing this until there are no more panels of the same style as yours with available beer. If your judges are one of the last you may have to wait until their done to get lunch even though other tables may be done and already eating lunch. When your judges finish up their last beer and there are no other beers available at other panels of the same style do the following :

  • collect the :
    • score sheets for the final beer
    • the cover sheet for the final beer
    • the summary sheet that has all of the scores from the judges for every beer they tried
  • validate and turn in the final score sheets and cover sheet along with the summary sheet
  • clear the final dirty glasses

If this is the first session of a day of prelims :

  • if the the butcher paper table cover has been destroyed in the process of judging (either by spills or by judges writing copious notes), remove the butcher paper and throw it away. Get a new sheet of butcher paper and masking tape it to the table
  • put a new stack of clean plastic classes on the table
  • either pour out the dump bucket in a sink, or give the dump bucket to the glass washing staff and snag a new dump buck to put on the table
  • refill the bread bucket
  • place 2 or 3 bottles of water on the table (depending on the judge panel size)
  • go grab lunch and some beer (we will be providing pizza and salad)

If this is the last session of a day of prelims

  • throw away the butcher paper table cover
  • give the dump bucket to the glass washing staff to wash
  • return the bread bucket to the bread table
  • fold up the table and with someone’s help put it against the wall with the other tables
  • fold up the chairs and put them against the wall with the other chairs
  • hang out to help further or head home

If this is finals:

  • throw away the butcher paper table cover
  • give the dump bucket to the glass washing staff to wash
  • return the bread bucket to the bread table
  • fold up the table and with someone’s help, carry it outside and set it up to be used by people eating lunch
  • fold up the judges chairs and take them outside to put at the table
  • get your lunch voucher from the head steward and go get lunch, have some beer and hang out