Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Take note of your beer

Chris WrightEvery once in a while I come across a product that's related to my hobby that I like to pass along to my readers. I was fortunate to run into Chris Wright from Monument, Colorado at the Great American Beer Festival. I noticed that he was taking notes on the beers that he was tasting in a handy bound book. It turns out he created the book himself and is the author of a publication called "The Beer Journal".

Chris describes The Beer Journal as follows:

"It is a great time to enjoy or start enjoying fine beer. So why keep a journal of your experiences with beer? Because it can be a lot of fun. You can track changes in your tastes or powers of perception, changes in different beers, and share your thoughts with other beer enthusiasts. You can challenge yourself to try as many different types of beers as possible and keep track of how you are doing. You will also be able to remember a particular beer and why you liked it. In the other sections of this book you can also keep track of your visits to beer festivals, brewery tours, create your own beer cellar, and develop and track your own beer and food pairings."

The Beer Journal contentsI am a firm believer in keeping notes on all of the beers I try. You'll usually find me jotting down some scribbles at almost every brewery or beer fest I visit.

I picked up a copy of The Beer Journal and found it to be a wealth of information. The journal itself is not only an organized way to document everything about the beer you're sampling but it is also a handy reference guide to the many beer styles that exist out there.

Chris dedicates nearly the first 100 pages of his book to describing the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines. This way, you can understand what each style is supposed to be like before you taste it and then be able to judge for yourself whether or not the beer you're drinking meets up with that standard.

Fermentedly Challenged loves The Beer JournalThe rest of the book has well over 100 pages for beer tastings, beer festival records, tracking the beers you keep in your cellar, brewery tour notes and even food and beer pairings.

There are several versions of The Beer Journal. They come in hard cover, soft cover, spiral bound and even a handy pocket edition. I personally love the spiral edition because I can easily write in it and fold it over when taking notes.

Don't worry if you end up filling up the entire journal. That's fine because you can always pick up another one and continue where you left off.

Hats off to Chris Wright for coming up with a great way to document the beers that we love to drink. The Beer Journal is available from, or from Chris' web site at

Update: Chris Wright went on to become the owner and brewmaster of Pikes Peak Brewing Company in Monument, CO which opened in May 2011. The publication was last printed in 2010 and is still available on

Related articles:
- 2009 Colorado Beer Festivals & Events.
- 2008 GABF Video tasting notes.
- 2008 Odell Small Batch Beer Festival.
- Caught in the act by the press.

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