Regular monthly meetings are held on a Saturday of each month at 4:00pm. Twice a year a Big Brew is led which will supersed the normal meeting. Any member can volunteer to host a monthly meeting or special event, usually at the member’s home but possibly at some other appropriate location. The host of a meeting is in charge of the meeting.
All members are emailed periodically with details about the location of monthly meetings and other special events. If you are not yet a member, you can fill out the contact form to request information about the next monthly meeting or special event.
What happens at the monthly meetings?
A lot of great conversation about everything under the sun, especially homebrewing!!
Members and visitors are encouraged to bring a couple of liters of homebrew to the meeting for tasting and discussion. Since this is a homebrew club, homebrew is highly favored, and commercial beers should be limited to the raffles (described below) and for special study of particular styles.
When you show up at the meeting, sign the homebrews you’ve brought into the “Homebrew” log and, if you’re entering the raffle, write your name on the “Raffle” log. When it is time to start, the host will choose a homebrew from the log and pass it around. The host is in charge of passing the beers at appropriate intervals throughout the meeting. The order of passing the homebrews is usually from low gravity to high gravity, or session beers to pallate wreckers. Everyone is encouraged to ask questions of the brewer concerning ingredients, techniques, etc. and to give constructive feedback.
Other than shooting the breeze and tasting all the different beers everyone has brought, we try to have two structured activities at each meeting. The first is a Judging, and the second is a Raffle.
For the Judging, the host will serve a secret beer, which is usually a good homebrew of a particular style selected for study. Everyone will taste the beer just as if they were judging it and fill out standard Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) scoresheets for that style. The objective of this exercise is to hone your beer tasting and analysis skills.
The host is responsible for providing a “Judging Beer,” or making sure that someone else in the club can bring one. Everyone will get that beer and judge it on a standard BJCP score sheet, also provided by the host. Best practice is for the host to print a bunch of BJCP score sheets on one side of a page, and then flip them and print the BJCP guidelines for the style being judged on the other side of the page. This makes it easy for everyone to consult the guidelines while judging the beer.
Entry in the Raffle is one bottle of homebrew or good commercial craft beer. The meeting host is the final arbiter of whether the entry is legitimate. Names of the entrants are placed in a hat, and the last one drawn is the winner. The winner gets all the beers that have been entered!
Other guidelines for the club’s monthly meeting include the following:
- The host does not provide sampling glassware. Everyone should be responsible for bringing their own small tasting glass to the meeting and not rely upon the host to provide them with one. (Small means 4-10oz in size. No pint glasses please. The reason for this is that there are typically numerous beers for numerous people to sample. Small glasses help ensure that everyone gets to taste every beer.)
- Bring a snack if you can. Help make things easy for the host.
- As the number of people attending meetings grows, it may become difficult for a host to seat everyone. You should also bring your own folding chair.
Thanks to the Rocket City Brewers, Alabama’s original homebrew club (formerly named the Madison Sobriety Club) for developing this tried and true meeting format, which keeps the focus on homebrew, learning about world beer styles, developing better techniques and developing better judging skills.