Monday, June 11, 2012

Beer Cheese Festival

This weekend I had the honor of being one of three judges for the Commercial Beer Cheese Contest at the 4th annual Beer Cheese Festival in downtown Winchester, Kentucky.  Last year I participated in the festival as an art & craft vendor.  Though I'm taking a break this year from selling my jewelry at art shows, I was thankful to still get to take part in this unique festival!

Judging for both the Commercial and Amateur Beer Cheese Contests took place early Saturday afternoon.  As a judge for the commercial category, I had the task of blind judging 14 entries based on taste and texture.

Before sampling even my first cheese, I took note of the remarkable variation in color and consistency from one cheese to the next.

After sampling each cheese at least twice, judging them on taste and texture, and leaving any appropriate feedback for the contestants, I had narrowed the lot down to my three favorite cheeses.  For me, what makes an outstanding beer cheese is one that manages to pack a lot of well-balanced flavor while still maintaining a smooth, creamy texture.  From sampling the entries on nothing but a spoon so as to get the full experience, I noticed that around half the cheeses had what I found to be an unpleasant grainy texture, likely caused by the use of powdered spices.  A couple had unpleasantly overpowering flavors (too much mustard or too heavy on the beer).  There were several that I found quite delicious though; the one that really stood out to me ended up being the winner overall among myself and the other judges.  Larry Mac's beer cheese had a bright, but not overpowering flavor and a smooth texture with what I found to be a pleasant subtle crunch from finely minced onion.

After I finished judging, the hubby and I walked through the large festival.  The Beer Cheese Festival not only offers the option to visitors of tasting each and every beer cheese entry, but there are also a large number of art & craft vendors to enjoy.

Walking through the festival, you'll notice a few live musicians performing.  There is also a section of Kentucky Proud vendors & demonstrators as well as your usual festival food vendors scattered throughout the downtown streets.

Downtown Winchester is full of charm with numerous adorable shops and restaurants, and makes a darling backdrop to a unique event.  If you're a fan of beer cheese, or simply enjoy checking out local festivals, I highly recommend you make a note on your calendar to visit the Beer Cheese Festival when it rolls around again next June!

For more information on the festival, visit the official website, and to see who the top three winners of the Commercial and Amateur Beer Cheese Contests were, visit their Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. My boyfried is from Winchester and I'm DYING to go to the Beer Cheese Festival! How fun!


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