It all started back in 1993 with a gentleman named Kirk Weidner and his brand new home brew shop. After many discussions with four of his many customers, Kirk and Tim Helms, Dave Barnes, John Vansickley and the Lager’s first president Mark Krcmarik started the club in the spring of 1994. On about the third meeting and 20 or so members strong, the name of the club was going to be put to a vote. No one can remember what the other name options were but they do remember that the name Lincoln Lagers had not even been thought of until that night. Kirk tells me that there was a considerable amount of lobbying going on to make sure this last minute addition would be the name chosen. He said it was a long-fought battle and one that was realized by a slim margin once it came up to a vote. Those first meetings were held at a now defunct local brewery called Crane River. The Lagers would hold demonstrations on all grain brewing and have guest speakers from other local and regional breweries give presentations. It was not uncommon to put 80 people in the seats during their monthly meetings. By the end of the first year the Lincoln Lagers had a paid membership total of 35 people.
Fast forward 16 years and the Lincoln Lagers are still going strong with membership in the lower 50s. Of the current membership 13 people have taken the BJCP test. There are two national judges among us, with another two who will be ranked national once they get the judging points accumulated. Another five people hold the rank of certified. Monthly club meetings consist of good food, good friends and of course good drink. Once a year we have a club picnic which is held at a members house and usually goes well into the night with midnight horse shoes and general tomfoolery. The “Big Brew” once a year goes down at a member’s house (Doug Finke) who lives outside of town and has the capability to brew 100 gallons at a time. Doug also has a pool which is a treat during those hot and humid Nebraska summers. The AHA/BJCP sanctioned Nebraska Club Only Competition will resume its yearly status this year but has expanded beyond the Lincoln Lagers and Omaha’s OmaHops brew club to include seven different brew clubs across the state, another first brought on by the Lagers. Something totally new this year started by a few club members is the “Flanders Project”. With a donated red wine barrel from a local winery we have 55 gallons of a super sour Flanders Red ale “getting happy” in my basement. Once the barrel is emptied another new beer will be added and allowed to get funky for another year. The Flanders was born on July 26th of 2009 and will stay there until shortly before the National Homebrewers Conference in Minneapolis this year (2010) at which time we will keg some of it up and make the six hour trip to club night.
If you ever have plans to make it to or through Lincoln, Nebraska check out the website www.lincolnlagers.com, get in touch with us and we will be happy to invite you into our family of beer brewers, tasters, and appreciators. Until then, happy brewing!
President, Lincoln Lagers (2009-current)