Third annual Inquirer Brew-vitational: Meet the judges

Posted: May 31, 2012

Meet the esteemed judges for our third annual Inquirer Brew-vitational local beer competition:

Jan Matysiak, our special guest out-of-town brewer, has been the brewmaster at Sixpoint Craft Ales in Brooklyn since late 2011. Before that, Matysiak studied brewing science at University of Munich-Weihenstephan, worked for several German breweries, and was most recently managing the brewing operations at Live Oak Brewing Co. in Austin, Texas.


Tom Peters, co-owner of Monk’s Cafe and the Belgian Cafe, is one of the nation’s leading experts on Belgian beer. He was the first American to debut La Chouffe and Chimay Tripel on draft, and was the only judge to pick out both winning beers (classic and new) as his favorites from the blind tasting.


Lew Bryson has been writing about beer and spirits since 1995. He is the author of Pennsylvania Breweries (4th edition) and managing editor of Whisky Advocate magazine, and has served as a judge at the Great American Beer Festival. His laugh grows louder as the tasting progresses.


Nancy Rigberg is co-owner of Home Sweet Home Brew in Center City, "fermenting Philly’s beer Renaissance since 1986." Also a maker of mead and cider, she is the founder of Philly Beer Week’s Ladies Beer Tea, and is an advocate for the return of women as brewsters. She and husband George Hummel live in Brewerytown.


George Hummelis also co-owner of Home Sweet Home Brew, and the author of The Complete Homebrew Beer Book. He is an award-winning home brewer himself and a seasoned beer judge, and he collaborated with Nodding Head brewpub on "George’s Fault," which won a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival.


Mike "Scoats" Scotese has run Northeast Philly’s Grey Lodge Pub, one of Philadelphia’s original beer bars, since 1994. Aside from presiding over nationally known beer cult events such as "Friday the Firkinteenth," Scoats has written for several beer publications, and is on the Philly Beer Week board of directors. He organizes PBW’s annual Hammer of Glory Relay.


Rick Nichols, Inquirer food columnist emeritus, is a champion of well-behaved hops and witty copy with bold local flavor. He is a thirsty veteran of three Brew-vitational judging showdowns.


Craig LaBan, The Inquirer’s restaurant critic and "Drink" columnist, eats, drinks, writes, and learns with every sip. He recently traveled to Belgium on a beer mission with members of Philly Beer Week, and finally got hooked on the funk of sour ales.


— Craig LaBan

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