San Diego International Beer Festival

June 16-18, 2017

Five Sessions. Hundreds of Beers. One Glass.

Judging Process

beer judging: it’s all about style

The judging for our Competition is serious business.
Judged by their hops-and-barley-loving peers, and according to the high standards and definitions of the Brewers Association style guidelines for beers and by Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) guidelines for meads and ciders, the competition awards the best of the best.

Beer judging is a closed, blind event. Select industry professionals and BJCP certified judges are combined into small groups. Without knowing the brand or brewery name, these judges evaluate beers in defined style categories.

Categories must have at least 6 entries to be judged.  Categories with fewer than 6 entries will be combined into a new sub-class at the discretion of the coordinators.

Each beer brand may be only entered once.  If the same beer is produced at multiple locations, only one location may enter the brand.  Each entry must meet the TTB definition of beer, mead or cider and must possess the general characteristics of beer, mead or cider and conform to the general trade understanding of beer, mead or cider.

At the discretion of the coordinators, entries not meeting the eligibility or entry requirements will be moved or disqualified.  Local and State Rules will be followed.  Beer will not be returned after judging.

No judge may participate on a panel where he or she has an entry or where there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest.  All decisions of the judges are final.  All volunteers participating must sign a waiver at the check-in table prior to the start of judging.

Beers served at the San Diego International Beer Festival, held during the San Diego County Fair, will be provided by the breweries that participated in the competition. SDIBF beers are also served during the live horse racing meet.

Judging the San Diego International Beer Competition


interested in being a judge?

Brewing professionals are encouraged to participate in the judging process. If you’re interested in being an SDIBF judge, download our online instructions before starting your application. (Note: application is for Judges only; we are no longer seeking Stewards). Questions? Get in touch at beer@sdfair.com.