For those of you who don't know, the BJCP is the Beer Judge Certification Program. They are the ones who set all style guidelines and the guidelines for judging a beer contest. I have never entered a contest before but this year decided I would like to . What is the problem with this? It's the style guidelines. In a contest, judges are instructed to judge based on how well a beer represents a particular style and so you must enter your beer into a specific style. I on the other hand almost never brew to style. Most every recipe I make is related to a style, but it almost never strictly adheres to any of them. I don't think you can make a truly artistic beer if you limit yourself to stay in the style guidelines.
For instance, the black IPA I made yesterday, there is no black IPA category. It is too dark in color for the double IPA category, and far too aggressively late hopped to be a Russian Imperial Stout, so unless the BJCP creates a new style to get with the times, this beer is screwed in any contest I try to enter it into. Same issue with my Marzen Madness, it is too strong to be either a Marzen or a Vienna lager, yet too hoppy and not malty enough to be a bock. Also, there is no Belgian stout category, so my Brussels Stouts would either have to be entered as a Russian Imperial stout in which I fear it would be too funky and dry to win, or I could enter it as a Belgian Specialty Ale, but it is not spiced and probably too much roasted barley to do well.
BJCP does have category 23, Specialty Beer, but I feel like all of the beer I have made are not weird enough that they can't fin in a style, they just don't fit into the too narrowly defined styles created by the BJCP. It is time that the BJCP loosen style definitions, and probably also time for a few new styles that have become popular in the last 5 years or so, like the Black IPA.
On a side note, I've never attacked a large organization in this blog before. I wonder it it'll get me more hits than the 8 I typically get.