Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Value Of A Homebrewing Club

The Zymurgeeks homebrew club http://www.zymurgeeks.org/ met at my house a couple of weeks ago and afterwords it got me thinking about the value and importance of brewing clubs and why I think a homebrewer should join their local brew club.



When I first started brewing beer at home I heard through the local homebrew store that a homebrewers group existed in the area. I'm not much of a joiner and tend to

be suspicious of the idea that groups of people are able to collectively accomplish anything of value. I tend to be of the opinion that the larger and more urgent the group, the more adverse the impact on the rest of us. So of course I didn't see the point in participating at the time. I'm not sure what compelled me to go to that first meeting, it most likely was cautious curiosity. Whatever the reason, I showed up and let down my guard.


In retrospect I now see the importance of involving myself with my fellow homebrewers. A large part of the development of my homebrewing skills is from the direct influence of members in my club. Their sincere approvals when I shared a particularly good beer I made and the hesitant criticisms when it was lacking. I've learned to consider it all. Conversely, through the course of my years of membership, I have acquired the subtle art of critiquing fellow members brews with honest opinions while being constructive and sensitive (a good thing to know how to use in my everyday life). The shared information from members that have been brewing far longer than I, was and still is very helpful in my ongoing brewing development. In fact each member, whether a seasoned veteran or novice newbie is a valuable asset in terms of the wealth of knowledge and information that they bring to the collective. Additionally, friendships grow from sharing our ideas and of course our homebrew.

Other important incentives to joining a homebrew club are:


  • the occasional opportunities to exchange equipment and materials. The grain mill I use today is one I got from another member for $20. It took a little renovation, but works like a charm.

  • having a resource for qualified and valued opinions about your beer. Several of the member of Zymurgeeks are competition judges.

  • a place to give back to the homebrewing community by helping others. Regularly, different members will volunteer to make the long journey to the wholesaler for group buys.

  • staying informed about brewing events and competitions

  • challenging your personal limitations in a group of supportive peers.

  • learning from others experiences to keep from making the same mistakes.

  • getting to check out other brewers gadgets and beer making do-dads.

  • participating in pub crawls and brewery tours. If you work it right, you won't have to drive, freeing you up to indulge.

I'm sure I haven't covered all the reason for being in a brew group but these are enough for me to participate despite my reservations about groups.

Please add to the list of reasons in the comment section.

1 comment:

Chris said...

A big one for me is the ability to participate in mass orders to seriously drive down per-unit costs of malt, yeast, hops and other consumables. A 5kg bunch of hops is way too much for a single brewer (well, MOST single brewers anyway), but when you can split it up and get 200g of it for $10, that makes a lot of sense.

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