Joseph Formanek

Joseph Formanek's picture
Beer Judge

​Joe Formanek started homebrewing nearly 30 years ago as an undergraduate in Microbiology at the University of Minnesota. He was bitten by the brewing bug after taking a tour of Summit Brewing Company within a year after they had opened in St. Paul in 1987, and he has been going ever since. Joe later went to Graduate School at the University of Illinois and helped found the Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots (BUZZ) Homebrew Club. He currently resides in Bolingbrook, IL, is a Director for a food ingredient company in Itasca, IL, and is a proud member of the Urban Knaves of Grain Homebrew Club. Joe holds a National Judge ranking with the BJCP, and is a previous Midwest Regional Rep and Vice President of the organization.

Over the years, Joe has received many honors related to homebrewing. He has won numerous BOS awards at local and regional competitions, is a 6 time winner of the Midwest Homebrewer of the Year award (1999, 2001-2004, 2007) and won the American Homebrewers Association Meadmaker of the Year award in 2004.  Joe is a 2 time winner of the American Homebrewers Association Ninkasi Award (2000, 2006) for winningest brewer in the final round of judging, and was honored as being named one of the two homebrewer winners of the 2011 Sam Adams Longshot American Homebrewing Competition with his Russian Imperial Stout, which was distributed nationally in the 2012 Longshot multipack.

My reviews

The Gadget

The Gadget, Urban Artifact
Judges Rating:
92
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

The Gadget by Urban Artifact is, like its stable mate (Fire Iron), a smoothie in beer form. However, this offering has berries as the star of the show instead of tropical fruit. However, while Fire Iron was evaluated as a Category 34C Experimental Beer simply because it didn’t fit anywhere else... Read More

Loving Cup

Loving Cup - Southbound Beer
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Southbound Brewing Co’s. Loving Cup is an interesting take on the traditional Saison style. This light golden-colored slightly hazy brew with an impressive head exhibits the appearance and the Belgian fermentation character that's expected of the style. A mildly earthy and slightly tart... Read More

Fire Iron

Fire Iron, Urban Artifact
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
4 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
19 / 20

Fire Iron by Urban Artifact is a smoothie in beer form, pure and simple. The fruit character overwhelms all. This is really pushing the envelope for beer. I was originally considering evaluating this concoction as a Category 29A Fruit Beer as per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, but I couldn’t... Read More

Culture Two

Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Culture Two by Fulton is labeled as a Golden Ale aged in oak barrel. It was evaluated as being a 28C Wild Specialty Beer in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines. As such, there should be a marriage of flavors from the wild fermentation as well as from the wood aging. In this case, the wild fermentation... Read More

Upslope Craft Lager

Upslope Beer Craft Lager
Judges Rating:
88
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Upslope Craft Lager by Upslope Brewing Co. is a refreshing American lager that, when cold, is a quite delicious treat, but when it warms, there are a few issues noted. This beer is being evaluated as a Category 1B American Lager as per the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines.

A light Saaz hop... Read More

Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
37 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Éphémère Strawberry & Rhubarb by Unibroue is an offering with quite intense fruit character, though the base Belgian beer character, particularly the fermentation flavor, is somewhat subtle. Considering that the base beer is a Wit, this is a bit more acceptable. This beer is being evaluated... Read More

Pages