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.