Last weekend it was Teach a Friend to Brew Day hosted by SAAZ, the Akron homebrew club I belong too. This took place at one of the members house and lasted all day. It was cold and drizzly most of the day but with a roaring fire going, hot food and beer – it was all good!
I wasn’t brewing that day due to having a natural gas system instead of propane though a few guys brought there rig over to brew with Larry, the host.
I have to say, and something I didn’t expect when joining the club, was the great information, people and beers you are suddenly immersed in. In the past, there were several styles of beers I didn’t like at all based on a limited number of commercial samples available to try (and this was years ago). What I tried may not have been a good example of that style but if it was the only one available, how would I know that it was just a poor beer? Case-in-point, I used to have a dislike for brown ales. Many years ago Goose Island’s Hex Nut Brown Ale was about the only brown ale I liked. Now there is not a club meeting or gathering were somebody doesn’t bring a brown ale – and it’s good!
Belonging to this club totally exposes you to many, many different styles of beers. Every beer that I have had, from new brewers extract to seasoned, award winning veterans have been exceptional. They have been clean, no off flavors, etc. Some beers you sample at a meeting you will find yourself asking, “You can do this? It works!”
As a homebrewer, there are only so many hops, yeast and malt combinations you can try during any given time. There is only so much you can drink! Belonging to a homebrew club allows you to sample many different styles using hops you wouldn’t normally use or yeast you don’t normally brew with. Larry had an excellent Nelson hopped pale ale on tap – the first time I have consciously tasted this hop. It was a GREAT beer.
In today’s brewing resurgence, there are no holds barred. Any ingredient can be used to make that next award winning beer. Style lines are getting blurred – you make what’s good! You have to truly be part artist, part cook, part sanitation engineer, part chemical engineer to put out a good beer, efficiently.
Everytime I brew I’m still learning. Everytime I go to a club meeting I’m learning. Usually my mind is always subconsciously working on a beer problem or issue I want to fix or improve upon. Belonging to a homebrew club has presented solutions to several brewing processes I want to make better.
If any of you out there are homebrewers without a club, join SAAZ Akron and I hope to see you at the next meeting.
Thanks Larry for hosting this!