Registration for judges, entries, and volunteers for the

2019 New Jersey State Fair Homebrew Competition 

will open shortly.  Check back here soon.

(updated 21 May 2019)

The BJCP has release provisional style guidelines for New England IPA.  Judges will use these guidelines at this year's NJSF Homebrew Competition.  Read on for the full guidelines, or check out the BJCP site.

Returning to the NJ State Fair Homebrew Competition in 2018


The Jersey Pride Category!


If you have a beer, cider, or mead that captures the essence of the Garden State, enter it into this battle for Jersey cred in this non-BJCP special category.  Maybe you’ve gathered all your ingredients from Sussex County, maybe the recipe is inspired by a Springsteen song, maybe there’s Taylor Ham in the secondary, maybe you’ve aged it in a Laird’s barrel... Anything goes – you don’t need to specify a typical beer style  or subcategory – but you DO need to describe the ingredient, technique, history, and/or concept that makes your brew particularly Jersey.  Entries will be judged on “Jersey Pride” (concept and name) “Execution” (how well the concept is expressed) and “Craft” (technique and overall enjoyment), and will not receive normal BJCP scores/scoresheets.

Many a judge has commented that the key to a successful and fun judging day is a good steward. Thanks for your interest in stewarding our competition!


So, what is a steward? Stewards are the link between the cellar and the judges - they bring the appropriate beers from the cooler to the judging table. Stewards are also responsible for compiling, checking, and organizing scoresheets and transferring them to the data entry staff. Stewards maintain judging supples on the tables - cups, crackers, water, paperwork, etc - and remove empty bottles and other uneeded stuff.  And not least, stewards are beer afficionados who are open to new styles, and each steward is a possible future judge-in-training!


Many volunteers enjoy stewarding as much as (and sometimes more than) judging. Stewards see the judging process from many different angles and get to hear several groups of judges discuss the stylistic merits of each entry. Judges are encouraged to share beers with stewards whenever possible. Stewards spend the day with many like-minded brewers and beer lovers of all degrees of experience. Stewards at our competition get breakfast and lunch, and all volunteers are guaranteed a prize in our free raffle.



Here's a rough draft of the "day-of" instructions that are provided to stewards:


Keep an eye out for judges who need beers. They will hand you a pull-sheet and tell you which number they want.  Ask the cellar master for this bottle number.  Upon receipt, check that both of the labels on the bottle correspond with what you asked for (very important!).  Return the bottle and pullsheet to the judging table.  Report ANY problems to the Cellar Master immediately.


Stewards are encouraged to sample beers and listen to judges comments whenever applicable. However, do not remove bottles from judging tables or sample a beer (unless invited by judge to do so) until ENTIRE Category is judged because judges will need beers conduct mini-Best of Show after scoring all of the beers in category.


When a category is finished, all half-empty bottles should be grouped on the samples table for volunteers to taste.  Apply a sticker or piece of masking tape to any medal winners if possible.


Stewards are responsible for restocking cups, paperwork, crackers, paper towels, etc and keeping tables free of empty cups and overflowing dump buckets.


Please keep an eye on the overall neatness of the entire room.  Empty garbage cans and clear bottles/plates/etc whenver necessary.


Q:  Can I enter 22 oz. (or other non-standard) bottles?

A:  Starting with our 2017 competition, we will no longer accept any non-standard bottles.  A standard bottle is a brown 12-oz non-embossed crown-capped bottle with no identifiable markings on the bottle and the cap.

We require 12 oz bottles because we must sort, store, transport, and distribute over 700 bottles of beer, and it’s most manageable if they all fit into normal 12 oz case boxes.  During judging, we must accurately distribute bottles to over 20 pairs of judges simultaneously; it adds to the burden if different sized boxes must be gone through for a particular entry. 

We require non-identifiable bottles with crown caps (versus swing tops, corks, etc) in order to maintain the integrity of blind judging.  Additionally, different bottle types may encourage conscious and unconscious biases in judges.  We run a fair competition that attempts to conform to blind, objective judging as much as possible, so please respect our requirements.

For 2016, we do give some leeway!  Please contact the organizers for permission to enter non-standard bottle sizes.  HOWEVER, you ARE required to submit TWO bottles, regardless of size (12 or 22 oz), because one of the bottles is needed for the Best of Show round if the entry receives a gold medal in its category.


Q: My entry is marked unpaid, although I have paid through Paypal.  Should I send you a receipt or include one with my entries?

A: There is a quirk in the registration software that does not mark an entry "paid" in certain circumstances (ie. after editing the entry).  You can ignore this if your Paypal account shows that you have paid for your entries, and you DO NOT need to include a paper receipt (or any other paperwork other than a bottle label on each bottle) with your entries.  Furthermore, you can ignore the "unpaid" checkbox on your bottle labels. We check whether entries have been paid by looking at our Paypal account, and we will notify you if we don't find evidence of your payment.