As much as I love drinking beer, I equally enjoy learning about the brewing process and listening to others who homebrew. I spend a fair amount of time reading online and offline and watching YouTube videos to feed my homebrew habit.
But there’s nothing quite like talking face-to-face with fellow brewers over a taster of fresh homebrew.
Though I’ve been brewing for nearly five years, I’m nowhere near as experienced or as skilled as many who attended this month’s Lauter Day Brewers (“the Lord’s favorite homebrew club”) meeting. I have 25 five-gallon beer batches under my belt. I’m sure more than a handful of the 50 or so at Sunday’s gathering brew more than that in a single year.
I’ve admittedly been somewhat inconsistent with my brewing (10 batches one year, two the next). My hope is that by joining a homebrew community it will help nudge me into a regular brewing routine.
Yet I still didn’t know exactly what to expect when I packed up my folding chair and Chicago Beer Fest tasting glass and headed to Bohemian Brewery for an “open” club meeting (according to the website, every other month the LDBs open their meetings to outsiders).
As I walked in the brew house, glancing at the massive, shiny brew tanks lined up, an LDB board member greeted me and welcomed me to the event. I’m 10 minutes early and already a dozen or so people have secured their spots with camp chairs.
We’re off to a great start!
I snagged a can of Viennese lager provided by Bohemian. I spent 20 minutes chatting with a few early arrivers, the majority of whom were relative club newbies, though they’d been homebrewing for some time.
To my pleasure, my taster seemed perpetually filled. Brewers were eager to share their latest homebrew and talk about the creation as if they were proud parents.
I get that. And I loved every minute of it.
Getting Down to Business
The club president reviewed a few housekeeping items, acknowledged recent competition winners, and asked new members or guests to introduce themselves.
Soon after, Paul Konopelski of Bohemian launched into an informative presentation about lagering. It’s a style I’ve yet to attempt, but I appreciated learning the basics.
Plates of nachos and french fries were delivered midway through the presentation.
Could this meeting get any better?
Mingling and more homebrew sampling commenced following the presentation. As I packed up my chair and swallowed the last sip of beer from my taster, I made my way to the door.
But before I left, I officially became a dues-paying club member. I took the liberty to sign up my wife as well. I’m already looking forward to the next meeting, where I hope to have a fresh batch of homebrew to share with the group.
Note: A version of this post originally appeared on timharan.com on March 13, 2018.