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So much for the local hb club

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farmbrewernw

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So after many years of brewing on my own I felt like it was time to join a club, so for one I could talk intelligently about beer with other beer lovers, and two so my wife would not kill me after having enough of hearing about obscure brewing methods and procedures. Last night was my first meeting (likely my last) for the hb club here in Salem. First of all let me say I have no problem with hanging out and having a good time, I just think that for a club meeting there should be a little more structure and meaning. Ok, so first thing I arrive at someones house that I do not know and there are a bunch of guys standing in the garage, I think to myself this must be the social thing before the meeting, well an hour later we are still just hanging out, the president said a few words about the new sweatshirts they have and that's pretty much it. Ok, on to the beer, first off I try someones Irish Red and it is awful, sickingly sweet and very harsh. Everyone keeps saying it's a good beer, I assume just to be nice to the guy that made it, but no one gives any constructive criticism and I feel too new to say anything. Then I start talking to a guy about all grain, he asks me what I get for effeciency and I say I'm pretty much locked around 80%, he says that he never gets more than 65%:drunk: . So I proceed to talk to him about his methods and he tells me that he looses like 40 degrees within a mashing period like thats not a big deal, oh and he also says he doesn't sparge really but kind of rinses but it's not fly and it's not batch. I'm like "well no wonder you get such crappy numbers". Everyone I talked to with the exception of one guy have the worse brewing methods ever, I drank a lot of crappy beers and only had two that I would say were good. Oh and what really pissed me off is one guy tried my Guinness clone and said that it "tasted thin" right after he had had a half glass of Russian imperial stout :confused:. Am I just a snob now or should I have given them more of a chance? After about an hour and a half I sneaked out and went home and had a good pint:). Sorry just had to rant cause I'm kind of pissed
 
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Sounds like you should try a different club. If those guys are happy with how they do things, good for them, but it doesn't sound like your looking for the same thing as them.

If there is nothing else in your area maybe consider starting your own?
 

AndrwHock

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wow, that sounds cruddy. Sorry about your bad experience.
 

mrk305

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I went to my LHBS one day and they were hosting a club meeting in the back and suggested I go back and meet some of the guys. One guy had samples in a clear Corona bottles that must have had 1/2" of yeast sediment in the bottle. They brewed extract only and were working on a "Skull Splitter" beer jacking up the ABV with sugar. I guess I'll just hang out with you guys on HBT!
 

david_42

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It's an easy run to both Oregon Brew Crew and Heart of the Valley. Both are fairly structured and run useful activities for homebrewers. OBC's Collaborator competition is next month and HoV's 26th Annual homebrew competition coming up. Both are 90 minutes each way for me, but worth it.
 

eddie

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farmbrewernw said:
Am I just a snob now or should I have given them more of a chance? After about an hour and a half I sneaked out and went home and had a good pint:). Sorry just had to rant cause I'm kind of pissed
I don't think you're being a snob at all. These guy sound like they're more interested in a circle jerk than anything else. I'd love to start an HBC in my area but I just don't think there's enough interest.:(
 
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farmbrewernw

farmbrewernw

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david_42 said:
It's an easy run to both Oregon Brew Crew and Heart of the Valley. Both are fairly structured and run useful activities for homebrewers. OBC's Collaborator competition is next month and HoV's 26th Annual homebrew competition coming up. Both are 90 minutes each way for me, but worth it.
Yeah I think I may just check out HoV, someone suggested I start another club in Salem but there are really good ones to the north and south of me so I don't see where there would be a lot of interest. I guess I was thinking something really local would be good but let me tell you I will never go to another meeting at the Salem club that I will leave unnamed.
 
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farmbrewernw

farmbrewernw

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mrk305 said:
I went to my LHBS one day and they were hosting a club meeting in the back and suggested I go back and meet some of the guys. One guy had samples in a clear Corona bottles that must have had 1/2" of yeast sediment in the bottle. They brewed extract only and were working on a "Skull Splitter" beer jacking up the ABV with sugar. I guess I'll just hang out with you guys on HBT!
I got the feeling from the meeting last night that a lot of these guys were really into the same sort of boosting ABV [email protected] that I dealt with in college. These guys were so cracked out on high gravity sweet extract brews that anything clean and refreshing didn't taste like anything to them.
 

ChrisKennedy

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I just joined two clubs around here, and one is a much more social club with very little structure and the other is the traditional homebrew club with a fairly stringent structure. They each have their advantages, but honestly I think I had more fun at the more casual club just shooting the **** with other homebrewers. Of course, it helped that there were many very talented homebrewers at both meetings.
 

EdWort

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Sounds like an opportunity to start a home brew club with real brewers and noobs who want to brew like real brewers.
 

TexLaw

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There certainly are some clubs that get together just to have a few beers, and there are some that get together just to tell each other how great they are. It sounds like you found a club that is along one or both of those lines.

It also sounds like you have some good clubs in your area. You could always join one or both of those, learn some stuff, have some fun, and see how good clubs operate. If you want to start a local one up after that, go for it.


TL
 

Bobby_M

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My club starts out structured with an agenda, reports, official business etc and degrades down to a social thing after the flight. Just about right.
 
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farmbrewernw

farmbrewernw

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Bobby_M said:
My club starts out structured with an agenda, reports, official business etc and degrades down to a social thing after the flight. Just about right.
That's what I'm looking for, I want structure but hanging out and enjoying great beers should be part of if as well. I had some terrible brews last night, but on the bright side it made me appreciate my beer all the more.:mug:
 

AndrwHock

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Perhaps you should keep going to that club to make you feel a bit better about your own brew. After a brew day that doesn't seem to work out exactly as planned, as I'm sure we all will have a good many, a trip to hang out with those guys might be just what you need.

Example conversation.

"I missed my mash temp by 2 degrees last week, I was worried about my efficiency."

"I'm usually pretty efficient when I brew beer, like this one time, I got done in 20 minutes."
 

Matt Foley

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eddie said:
I don't think you're being a snob at all. These guy sound like they're more interested in a circle jerk than anything else. I'd love to start an HBC in my area but I just don't think there's enough interest.:(

Thats strange. I was trying to organize a circle jerk in my area and everyone just wanted to talk about brewing. Just kiddin.

I would love to have a local homebrew club. I don't even know anyone local who brews. As a extract brewer I would love to hang out with an experienced all grain brewer and see the process. I would also be cool to sample other homebrews. Maybe someday.
 

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I'm going to my first club meeting in the center of the hip universe, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I'm hoping there is a tasting, I already know there'll be a speaker, from Smuttynose Brewing. If the meeting is good I'll bring my own when its ready so I can get some feedback. The only other people that ever taste my brew all think I'm crazy for even doing it, but like the results.

If nothing else the pub has a lot on tap, and it'll be a night out by myself.
 

Spunkmeyer

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I have to admit that I have not been involved with any face-to-face "club" regarding any interest of mine that I haven't felt the need to flee, screaming, from within a half hour. They always seems to be populated with people that take it WAY too serious, at the expense of anything else.

I love my profession, the car I drive, and the hobbies I have, but Lord, the face-to-face meetings I've been to regarding those subjects are just painful.

All I can say is, take heart... and I have my fingers crossed for you finding a group of well-adjusted enthusiasts.
 

zacster

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Spunkmeyer said:
I have to admit that I have not been involved with any face-to-face "club" regarding any interest of mine that I haven't felt the need to flee, screaming, from within a half hour. They always seems to be populated with people that take it WAY too serious, at the expense of anything else.

I love my profession, the car I drive, and the hobbies I have, but Lord, the face-to-face meetings I've been to regarding those subjects are just painful.

All I can say is, take heart... and I have my fingers crossed for you finding a group of well-adjusted enthusiasts.
I can say that about some of my hobbies or my profession, but my audio group meetings have been great. Usually it's just a good reason to drink beer. What could be wrong with that?

Professional meetings are boring until the beer comes out, cycling with others is not so great, except that women in lycra can sometimes look good, forget about playing piano with others, I can't imagine anyone NOT taking that too seriously. The worst is when I took my son to a model railroad show, and they are one STRANGE bunch, or even worse, when my daughters wanted to go to the cat show, talk about strange people of both genders.

And somehow, talking about beer doesn't seem like it will be too exciting, until you start to drink it. (and we're talking about it here on the forum, but not face to face.)
 

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I have to admit, I'm a little leery about going to the local homebrew club that's started here...and I'm not completely sure why, to be absolutely honest.

Part of it is that I'm pretty sure that there's not a lot of female homebrewers in town, and I don't want to 'throw off the groove' of the club by showing up and being 'the girl'. Now, I really do know that's a silly way for me to think, but it's there.

Another part of it is that I'm a newbie to brewing...and I'm kinda shy about sharing my brews with people who know what they're doing. ;) But it's gotta happen sometime.

At some point I'm simply gonna have to drag my butt to a meeting and just get over the self-consciousness. *shrug* Eventually. :)
 

Schlenkerla

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AndrwHock said:
Perhaps you should keep going to that club to make you feel a bit better about your own brew. After a brew day that doesn't seem to work out exactly as planned, as I'm sure we all will have a good many, a trip to hang out with those guys might be just what you need.
I'd keep going. There might be some good people there. Some of those people not may know any better. I'd get there early enough to suggest starting w/ the light stuff first. If you stop going you might miss out on few people that maybe couldn't make it that night. They might be the ones worth meeting.

My home brew club has a mix of brewers 4 of about 15 are AG and a couple PM's the rest are extract. We have a few that rarely brew and only come to drink. We also have a member who brews 30 gallon batches and appears to brew once every 5 five years too. The beer is usually very stale.

The worst thing is this person is BJCP Certified. Nobody really criticizes his beer. Its not worth the bother. As an ongoing inside joke, n00bs get to sample his Goat Scrotum Ale. It is the vilest swill one could imagine. Everytime the n00b says its good. :D It smells awefull even from a distance. Its like a cross of Nyquil and Sweaty Butt Crack. It reminds me of somebody who used to use deodorant in place of showering.

My club has a bunch of people that are proficient extract brewers, a few are not. Its evident by the beer they bring. You know when your beer sucks, I guess seem some people don't care or are too cheap to bring a good micro. I would never bring bad beer to a meeting. I'd be too embarrassed.

I will say this that some people get confused with open mindedness and accepting bad beer. We do it to ourselves when we start to allow little flaws.

My club also has blind competitions where everyones beer gets graded by the whole club. This is an easy way to get criticism w/o hurting feelings.

As for structure.... Our club meeting starts at 7PM. 7-8 is for late arrivals, drinking and a chance to eat. 8PM is business minutes from last month, new business discussion. A German Beer Toast. Then business is closed if nobody has anything else to discuss. 8:30 - 11 drinking. Its casual and I think if it was more structured people may get bored.

Go again, you may find that they need somebody with different experience.
 

Revvy

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Consider using Meetup.com to find out any local interest in your area...It's a great resource to find or start groups of any type..

http://www.meetup.com/

I ended up involved in a monthy craft beer group, that is made up of a lot of homebrewers. We meet once a month to check out a brewpup... Those of us who are homebrewers are sort of loosely starting a club of our own....and turning the non-homebrewers in the club onto the hobby as well, we're planning to have a gathering one month soon, where we'll bring our own beers to let them sample, as well as show how to brew beer....
 

Schlenkerla

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Silviakitty said:
Part of it is that I'm pretty sure that there's not a lot of female homebrewers in town, and I don't want to 'throw off the groove' of the club by showing up and being 'the girl'. Now, I really do know that's a silly way for me to think, but it's there.
My club has a lot of wifes. The wifes seem to enjoy the beer or cider. You may not feel out of place as much as you think. Bring a buddy. :tank:
 
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farmbrewernw

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Yeah I've been kind of thinking I should go again, there was one person there that I thought was fairly intelligent. I actually heard him say under his breath that one of the beers he tasted was harsh and he thought my Guinness clone was very close to the real thing. However I got to say despite that I don't really feel like these are my kind of people, I am a young brewer, 25, and I got a lecture within the first half an hour from a guy saying that kids are lazy these days and that I should advance my profession by getting a professional license in something I don't even want to do anymore. Most of the guys are in their 50s and 60s I would guess and I think I would have a hard time relating, not to say I can't relate, one of my really good friends is 57 but you know what I mean.
 
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farmbrewernw

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On a side note I had a terrible brew day yesterday, missed my gravity by 6 points, it will be beer but I think it will be a weak Edwort's Haus Ale, oh and I killed a brand new thermometer. I'm blaming the club to make me feel better.
 

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:D We all have bad days.

But seriously, I wouldn't want a meeting with too much structure. Our meetings usually start out with people tricking in the door, schmoozing for an hour, a 15 minute business meeting, followed by more schmoozing. I'm younger'n you, and I'd say the average age there exceeds twice my own, but generally they've been very welcoming to the new noob. Course, it helps that several of them have won national competitions...Most recently one guy won best of show at Drunk Monks.

I'd give the club another chance, too. But in the meantime I'd stop in at your semi-local clubs as well ;).
 
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farmbrewernw

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I didn't really get the welcoming bit, I kind of felt like they didn't care that there was someone new in the club. I'm thinking I'm going to check out the semi local clubs and then make a decision.
 

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I'm curious about the HoV and other clubs / festivals / competitions in the valley. I guess you could say I already have a weekly club I attend (different hobby) so I'm not sure SWMBO would be excited about me finding yet another thing to go do. But I do like the idea of getting some intellligent feedback about the beer I brew... Nice to see other local home brewers out there :)
 
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farmbrewernw

farmbrewernw

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RegionalChaos said:
I'm curious about the HoV and other clubs / festivals / competitions in the valley. I guess you could say I already have a weekly club I attend (different hobby) so I'm not sure SWMBO would be excited about me finding yet another thing to go do. But I do like the idea of getting some intellligent feedback about the beer I brew... Nice to see other local home brewers out there :)
I know what you mean, to me my beers are good but it would be nice to know what other brewers think of them. I guess my ultimate goal with respects to a hbc is to grow as a brewer and to become a successful part of the beer community.
 

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I've always been hesitant to join any of the local brew clubs for the same reasons mentioned above. I found one in my area that looks like it's a cross between having fun and actually doing stuff. They hold monthly brew competitions and do several events and such. It was started by one of the local bar owners. Hopefully it won't turn out like some of the others I've read about here.
 

TexLaw

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RadicalEd said:
:D We all have bad days.

But seriously, I wouldn't want a meeting with too much structure. Our meetings usually start out with people tricking in the door, schmoozing for an hour, a 15 minute business meeting, followed by more schmoozing. I'm younger'n you, and I'd say the average age there exceeds twice my own, but generally they've been very welcoming to the new noob.
Mine is about the same, except that we also have a raffle. It is a nice structure.


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I went to the local meeting last night. The owner from Smuttynose brewery was there, a small brewery in New Hampshire I think it is. I got there a bit late and he was already talking, about the hop shortage and the impact on small brewers.

He was engaging, but I didn't get to socialize at all because he spoke the entire time I was there, and I couldn't stay too long. The crowd was older guys, some younger ones too, and some of the local hip Williamsburg crowd. Mostly male but not entirely. There were these two young women waiting for a table and listening to him speak. Even after they sat down they continued to turn towards him, but I couldn't tell if they were really there for the meeting, or just for dinner.

The pub itself had 25-30 beers on tap, I had an Arcadia Hop Rocket Ale. I know why there's a hop shortage now, it's all in my glass.

Maybe next month I'll be able to get there a little earlier and and stay longer. Maybe I'll even bring my wife. She enjoys beer, and it's not a bad place to go for bar food.
 

DeathBrewer

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I just joined the Bay Area Mashers. First meeting is on the 15th...can't wait! It's at my LHBS. I already know a few of the brewers and have tasted a lot of their beers when i went to the "world cup." most of it was wonderful stuff and the brewing conversation was nice that day too.

Great club so far. I've already been notified of half a dozen events happening in the next couple months.

Sorry you had a bad experience. Hope you find something better. If not, HBT will never do you wrong! :D

:mug:
 

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Have been trying to organize some kind of English-speaking group in Seoul but without much success. I probably should stop by a meeting of the Korean-speaking group some time but haven't gotten around to it...
 

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I think one of the things that is important about joining a club is finding on that fits your personality. Sounds like this club was not like minded people in either interest of good beer or maturity level (not just age). I would go again just to see if the next one was a little different or some other people show. If it's the same, I would search out something else.

I sort of stumbled upon my local club and have been very happy with it. It is mostly guys my age (late twenties to late thirties) that are interested in making great beer. It's not about upping the ABV, though we all like a good strong belgian or IRS. Meetings are a new thing as the club has mostly been an online forum and brew day get together type of affair as well as doing bulk orders.

The meetings are loosely organized and we all bring things to sample. We try to taste things from lighter to stronger and give constructive feedback. Sometimes we'll bring in something that is seriously flawed just for education. We also do a blind tasting where we sample something and score it to style. All and all the meetings only take about 2 hours and are very relaxed. Best of all no dues.

There is another club in the area and I haven't been to their meetings, but they are more structured and charge dues. Their online forum is not very active and they don't do things like bulk grain orders. From what I understand, they are an older crowd as well, so I just haven't had any desire to go check them out.

So my point is, give them another shot and if it's the same, shop around. You are better off finding a group that shares the same level of interest in your hobby as you do.
 
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farmbrewernw

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Yeah, I may have not given them much of a chance, luckily they will be at the Oregon Garden brewfest in a few weeks so I should be able to talk to their members a little more and see what comes from that.
 
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