First round always comes in the middle of peak allergy season, and it's the worst time of year for me to be judging. Note that this is not a complaint about when or how the competition is run, it's my personal lament that my tasting skills are at their worst. It bothers me that, in this most prestigious competition, I can't do my best job. I still give it my best effort, but my senses are clearly compromised. In addition, for this competition I don't think many people enter just to get feedback - they enter their best beers looking to place. That means there are a lot of very high quality beers, and I don't get to enjoy them as much as I'd like.
For personal consumption this month I tend to stick with strong flavors that cut through my haze, like an IPA or a Flanders Red.
Oh well, if you want to sneak a diacetyl bomb past me, do it now