I recently submitted a beer I made to a competition (sponsored by the Boston Wort Processors) for the first time. The competition was held last weekend, and I'd been waiting to get my SASE back with the judging sheets.
Instead, this showed up in a Tyvek envelope:
I took first place in the "Novice" category; for this purpose, novice is defined as "first time in a competition". The judging sheets were actually quite critical, to my inexperienced eye: not enough malt flavor, too hoppy-bitter, slightly astringent, and over-carbonated (that last doesn't surprise me; I figured I wouldn't get the carbonation right since I've mostly been kegging recently). Nevertheless, I got 32 points out of 50, which is officially "very good" - no more than one minor flaw, but nothing singularly impressive, either.
I'm pretty stoked. This also qualifies me to enter MCAB VI, the Master Championship of Amateur Brewers, in July. It's in Warren, Michigan. I've never been to Michigan, but this seems like a fine reason to go.
(There's a full list of winners available for the curious)