Have you ever hit a stumbling block when you brew? Have you ever started drawing blanks when trying to find inspiration on what you want to do next or how to tweak a current recipe? Maybe you just want to get someone else’s insight firsthand. What to do? Join a homebrew club!
I’ve been debating about whether to do this for some time. The closest homebrew club to me meets on Wednesday nights and I always had a prior commitment for that night. Now that I’ve moved a town over from my previous residence and have been away from that scene for a couple years, I found that Wednesday is one of the few nights I’m free. I’ve been invited repeatedly to join a club in my old stomping grounds – literally a 15 minute drive through traffic – so I thought why not? Let’s give it a whirl. I look forward to attending my first meeting with this new club and seeing how it turns out. Here’s another kicker – it’s literally two blocks from the gym I work for several days a week. Go on my off night, get a light workout in and walk over to the meeting, or vice versa. Boom.
Why should you join a homebrew club?
Let’s go over this one point at a time. First and foremost, you get to drink beer. That in itself is a win. Secondly, you get to sample other people’s beer and share your own. In other words, you get to drink beer. Are you following me on this yet? Third, you build a bond with other brewers – this is really what it’s all about for me. There is a camaraderie among homebrewers unlike any other. The obvious, you both share a common interest – brewing and drinking beer. The not so obvious, there is an intrinsic value in developing relationships with people when you can create something from nothing, especially when you collaborate. Not to mention it makes you a better homebrewer by picking the brains of other more established brewers and learning what makes it work for them. Of course, there is the other side of that coin – being the experienced guy and showing newbies how it is done also helps you stay practiced. That or by simply going through the motions with your friends on a regular basis. Didn’t they once say “practice makes perfect?”
Another plus for homebrew clubs would be the group outings/field trips t0 local breweries to see how they work and yes – drink their beer. Look, I’ll be honest. It may sound like this is just an excuse to get drunk with a new set of friends, but honestly being part of a homebrew club is like joining any other organization – you get to enjoy the benefit of learning what they do and how they work and you also get the benefits of trying out what they’ve made, along with submitting your own offerings. It also serves as a complete learning process. I know I iterated this before, but it bears repeating – who out there can tell me that they didn’t learn something new when they brewed with someone else, especially someone more experience? See what I’m getting at here?
When it’s all said and done, joining a homebrew club is beneficial in a number of ways –
- You get access to more beer.
- You get access to better beer.
- You get to make new friends with whom you get access to better beer.
- You get to make better beer.
- You get to learn from others how to make better beer.
- You get to make new friends with whom you can make better beer.
- You get to attend more beer events and conferences.
- You get to make new friends with whom you can attend more beer events.
Win/Win in my book. Cheers!
Find a homebrew club in your area: American Homebrewers Association Website