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

Jeez Louise

Lazy magnolia beer jeez louise
Judges Rating:
89
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Lazy Magnolia’s Jeez Louise is a multi-dimensional spice beer that fits the style quite well. This golden-colored, slightly hazy brew with a solid, fine bubble stand has a spicy peppery aroma with evident citrus notes. The flavor of this brew is a fascinating fusion of citrus and jalapeño... Read More

Ape Snake

Ape Snake Prairie Artisan Ales Beer
Judges Rating:
88
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Prairie Artisan is renowned for brews with amazing complexity. Ape Snake, their dry-hopped Dark Farmhouse Ale, delivers on this promise to a certain extent, but less so than with other offerings. This deep brown-colored brew has a huge tan-colored head of small bubbles that maintains its... Read More

Moonlight Drive

Southbound beer Moonlight Drive
Judges Rating:
87
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

Southbound Brewing Company’s Moonlight Drive is an Imperial Coffee Stout, according to the label. Imperial and Coffee, in that order, are the key words here.    

The first thing noted with this brew is the impact of the coffee aroma immediately upon opening the bottle. The intensity rises... Read More

Cold Press Black

Cold Press Black, Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Cold Press Black by Bent Paddle Brewing Co is a bit of an anachronism. While having the strength of an IPA and comes off similar to a Black IPA, it is actually a Coffee Ale due to the addition of locally-sourced cold pressed coffee. Due to this, this beer is being evaluated as a Category 30A... Read More

Moondance

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

Southbound Brewing Company’s Moondance is another one of the brewery's creative and interesting specialty beer offerings. There have been Belgian takes on a wide range of traditional beer styles by many breweries over the past few years; in this example, Southbound tried its hand at “... Read More

Upslope Citra Pale Ale

Upslope Citra Pale Ale, Upslope Brewing Co.
Judges Rating:
91
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
36 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Upslope Citra Pale Ale by Upslope Brewing Co. is an extremely dank rendition of the BJCP 18B American Pale Ale style. Interestingly, while it is advertised as being Citra hopped, the hop character comes out more as a Simcoe-dominant offering.

Hop aromas leap from the glass upon the pour,... Read More

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