There isn’t much prettier than a BOS table at a homebrew competition. The layout of first place beers from their respective flights creates a beautiful display and a sensory experience second to none. Often people will chomp at the bit to participate in the judging, but typically judges are selected for their experience in judging and the BOS table yesterday consisted of one Master judge and four National judges. So if you want to have a seat at the table the best way is to advance through the BJCP ranks and judge at competitions outside of your home area. Often out-of-town judges with rank will be asked to join in the BOS table.
Once at the table the highest ranking judge or one selected by all the judges on the panel will be in charge of the table and discussion. The typical methodology I see most is to remove from the table any beers which have stylistic errors or flaws. It’s amazing how many good beers make the BOS round from a flight of mediocre beers and those typically are rejected from the table quickly. Generally the table is reduced to ten or less entries in record time and then serious discussion of which beers are the best will occur. In the end you may not have the beer you had your eye on from the first second to be one of the last beers standing, but it will be a consensus of the judging panel. Often I find the last three beers on the table were initially part of my top five or top ten. Typically once the field is reduced to the top five the discussion slows and eventually winners emerge. It is a wonderful experience and best approached with the mentality that you do not have a dog in the fight. The worst BOS judges are those who take ownership of the flights they judged and feel like they are the best on the table. That thinking is shortsighted and when I find judges who do that I let the judge director know that might not be the best choice for BOS in future competitions.
If you get the chance to judge BOS, do it with an open mind and it will truly be a wonderful experience!