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Want to start a homebrew club - don't know how to start

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rocketman768

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Fellow homebrewers,

I want to start a local homebrew club. I know several people who brew and are interested in the idea, but really, I don't know how to start or even what most homebrew clubs do! Could some of you tell me the kinds of things you do at club meetings, what kind of special events you have, and any other advice you might have?
 

Grinder12000

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We have a newish club with mostly new brewers 9about 8 months old now??). It's more of a drink fest but that is not a bad thing. I believe we are evolving and I have noticed the brews are getting better abd better with time.

I think we have a core of perhaps 8 people but each months meeting brings in the 15ish people and a LOT of homebrew. Some good some bad.

So - you can be formal with presentations but I believe just take it slow and let the club develop it's own rhythm.

I love talking about homebrews and tasting other peoples brews. Just have a time and place and tell people to bring some of there brew and maybe their recipe and go from there.

OH - we now have our own kits tha that are selling in a LHBS and next summer we're having a homebrew fest for the town.
 

beerocd

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You need at least a dozen members and a different guy each month is the "bachelor". You drink homebrew and tip the strippers very well. :D

I would think hosting and entering competitions would be one of the more valuable aspects of a club. It would be a good way to push yourself to brew better beer and brew more often. So, you discuss the upcoming styles, bring in commercial samples, brew to style, evaluate each other's beers, win competitions - sounds like a good time to me.

-OCD
 

david_42

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Competitions, both in-club and open.
Beer fests
Technical lectures
Brewery visits
Road trips (in buses)

and sometimes we share a drop or two.
 

Bobby_M

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1. Find a location for regular meetings. I think you'll get more people showing up over time if it's the same location and same time each month. A lot of drinking establishments are really slow at night during the week and it's mutually beneficial for everyone involved.

2. Name the club and register with the AHA.

3. Start brewing for the AHA club only competitions and enter any AHA competitions with your brew club name on your entries.

4. Get a website.

5. Buy a wine/bourbon barrel and brew something cool once you get like 8 members regular.
 

Grinder12000

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I really dislike competitions. By brew club is looking into AHA club only competitions which forces people to all think alike in a structured way and it is common knowledge that bigger beers normally win in competitions.

I'm all for big beers but I rarely see a brew on the low side of OG win when matched up in style against bigger beers.
 

sethful

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i'm with bottleopener....
start getting your buddies involved and grow from there.

Rule 1: you don't talk about brew club...
Rule 2....
 

Bobby_M

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I really dislike competitions. By brew club is looking into AHA club only competitions which forces people to all think alike in a structured way and it is common knowledge that bigger beers normally win in competitions.

I'm all for big beers but I rarely see a brew on the low side of OG win when matched up in style against bigger beers.
It's a shame that you have that all decided already. One of our members won Best of Show at a recent comp with a Pilsener. They also give golds to ordinary bitters, milds and american light lagers. Comps might be a little biased towards one style or another or caricatures of styles but it's judge dependent. Also, it's a great opportunity for feedback.

You don't have to center a club around comps but stuff like the AHA COC is something only clubs can enter so you'd definitely want to support it.
 

Talloak

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Our homebrew club is pretty young, and I wasn't there at the beginning. But I have been in it for a year and am one of the more active members. Monthly meetings are important. We have ours the same time each month at the same place. We recently added more structure to which homebrew styles people should bring to each meeting. For example, October beer styles:APA, Am. & Eng. IPA, IIPA (DIPA), Am. Amber, Belgians, Meads & Cider

We found people were just getting really drunk instead of learning something or getting familiar with specific styles. The president is going to start giving 10-15 minute lectures about technical issues with accompanying handouts.

AHA events can be a big help to interest potential members such as Big Brew Day and Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day. We usually have two potlucks a year, an Octoberfest in September and a Hair of the Dog New Years party in place of the regular January meeting.

One thing I wish our club did more often is get together to brew. My rig is quite portable, but we are spread out pretty far across north central Indiana and south central Michigan. We are in the process of having our second competition (in-club). Everyone brews the same recipe and then we compare and see who produced the best product. Kind of a neat take on a competition I guess.

We have done one bus trip to 4 michigan breweries including bell's, and are planning another I believe.

Just some ideas for you. But to get established, make a website, hold regular meetings, leaflet the pubs and LHBS in your area. Get some friends to come, even if they only have a small interest in brewing.
 
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rocketman768

rocketman768

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All very good suggestions. Looks like the best first step might be to get all my brewing friends to show up with a few of their brews at my house where we can drink each other's creations and talk about what we want to do with the club.
 

RC0032

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Im down for joining Evanston isn't that far from me :)

There is http://chibeer.org/ in the city and the other Chicagoland ones listed below.

* Abnormal Brewers: Bloomington-Normal, IL
* BABBLE: Lake County, IL
* Brewers of South Suburbia (BOSS): Chicago south suburbs
* BUZZ (Boneyard Union of Zymurgical Zealots): Urbana-Champaign, IL
* Forest City Brewers: Rockford, IL
* Headhunters Brewing Club: Chicago W suburbs, Kane County, IL
* Homebrewers Pride of the Southside (HOPS): Chicago south side and suburbs
* Silverado Homebrew Club: Chicago W/NW suburbs
* Tippicanoe Homebrewers Circle: Lafayette, IN
* Urban Knaves of Grain (UKG): Du Page County, IL
 

TheMan

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I would just try to get as many brewers in the area together for a brew or something like that. I feel like you learn a lot just watching someone else brew even when you've already brewed a ton. It's the little things that you don't think of that someone else does that can make a difference. This would just be a start.

If you can get some people together, you could get a lot of input and I think you could set the club up from there. My thought is, the people that show up for the first get together and help plan it are likely the ones that will be there for a while, and organizing it to accomodate those initial members would be beneficial.

I'm pretty close to you rocketman, let me know if you decide to do something. I'd be interested, and likely could bring a few others.

Sounds like just posting it here you got a few interested people haha.
 
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rocketman768

rocketman768

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Haha, this is cool. Yeah, PM me your email addresses if you want and I'll let everybody know when and where the first meeting will be.

To RC0032, yup, I've checked out most of the locations of the nearest clubs, and really they're just too far for me, and I couldn't believe there was no club in Evanston! Especially after I got here and realized lots of my fellow grad students were brewing.
 
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