Author Topic: Attending your first homebrew club meeting  (Read 1687 times)

Offline wmbolling

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Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« on: January 28, 2016, 07:34:21 PM »
Howdy forumites-

I'm looking to source some feedback on the topic of attending club meetings for the first time, and any input you have is appreciated.

Other than the obvious 'bring beer' suggestion, what can wise advice can you guys give me?

Do you have any tips for someone that has never been to a club meeting, but is interested in going?
What was your first meeting experience like?
What advice can you offer someone who is attending a club meeting without knowing anyone there?

You can post here, or send me an email:

matt@brewersassociation.org

Thanks!

Cheers,

Matt Bolling
Events & Membership Coordinator
American Homebrewers Association
1327 Spruce St | Boulder, CO, 80302
720-473-7696 | matt@brewersassociation.org
Matt Bolling
AHA Events & Membership Coordinator
matt@brewersassociation.org

Offline dls5492

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 09:10:16 PM »
For our club, a first time attendee is not required to bring beer. Unless they have a beer they want to get comments on. We always have first time attendees introduce themselves to the group with their name, city, favorite beer, and other information about themselves.
If you don't remember everyone's name, don't worry about it. Be friendly. I know everyone in our club is nice and wants to be helpful. If you have questions, make sure you get the answers before you leave.
Understand that at meeting you will probably be tasting 2 oz. samples at a time. So, it can sneak up on you. Make sure you come to a meeting on a full stomach and taste responsibly. Know your limit. Most meetings will have snacks available, so fell free to have some.
It may seem overwhelming at first. But, after you attend a few meetings, you will get used to it. Have fun! You are tasting and talking about beer with other people that love to do the same.
David S.
Cedar Falls, IA
Club: Cedar River Association of Zymurgy Enthusiasts (CRAZE)

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Offline Alewyfe

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 09:19:09 PM »
Be proactive. Don't sit in a corner by yourself. Clubs are really friendly, but you'll get the most out of meetings by attempting to introduce yourself to folks and find out about their brewing experiences. Find out where the club needs volunteers and make yourself available. It could be bringing a snack next time, clean up after the meeting, or helping to faciltate a future club event. There are no dumb questions, so ask away. If you are able to give advice, make sure it's sound. Good members make good clubs.
Diane
Roseburg, Oregon
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Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2016, 09:20:08 PM »
For our club, a first time attendee is not required to bring beer. Unless they have a beer they want to get comments on. We always have first time attendees introduce themselves to the group with their name, city, favorite beer, and other information about themselves.
If you don't remember everyone's name, don't worry about it. Be friendly. I know everyone in our club is nice and wants to be helpful. If you have questions, make sure you get the answers before you leave.
Understand that at meeting you will probably be tasting 2 oz. samples at a time. So, it can sneak up on you. Make sure you come to a meeting on a full stomach and taste responsibly. Know your limit. Most meetings will have snacks available, so fell free to have some.
It may seem overwhelming at first. But, after you attend a few meetings, you will get used to it. Have fun! You are tasting and talking about beer with other people that love to do the same.

+1 Excellent advice!

Bring a glass! Don't be afraid to mingle around and introduce yourself. Don't be afraid to present aforementioned glass to someone who is pouring. Ask what it is that you're sampling and any other questions you may have about the brew. Talk to everyone! Brewers love to talk beer.
Frank C.

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heart, you brew good ale.'

Offline gspot

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 05:04:36 PM »
Be complimentary of the beers you're tasting without being patronizing or overly enthusiastic, even if it's not a great brew. Don't forget you're trying the product of someone else's hard work. A thoughtful comment like, "I really like the way the ginger comes through in this Saison" or "the melon flavor from the hops really comes through in this IPA" will be much better received than just telling everyone their suds kick a$$. The first meeting is not the time to show everyone how great your ability to pick out diacetyl is. That comes after you've gained trust as a thoughtful taster and shown that you know what you're talking about.

Bring a bag of appropriate snacks (pretzels, crackers) to cleanse your palate and a bottle of water. Try the beers, but be moderate and don't be afraid to say no when you reach your limit. Definitely don't get drunk like a frat boy and ask someone else's female guest if she will sleep with you. Don't ask me how I know this.

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« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 05:06:33 PM by gspot »

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 10:42:33 PM »
Also ask about any special events or sessions that the club holds - ours does an early in the month tech session that is very worthwhile for some geeky discussions on topics of interest.  It also hosts social events periodically during each year (brewery tours, picnics food pairing dinners - that type of thing).

Enjoy and bring beer for "evaluation".  As to the diacetyl comment above - I suggest being truthful, but simply couch it as perhaps - a hint of diacetyl or perceptible level of diacetyl, if you detect its presence.  Some of us are damn near blind to it (it is more of a mouthfeel to me than an aroma or flavor) - so I have to search for it in lower levels, but I welcome the comment.  For example, I had it arise as a result of the Czech Pilsner yeast that had an extensive D-rest and was fine at kegging, but it came back over a few weeks at lager temperatures.  The diacetyl patrol at a club meeting was able to detect it in my beer, so I didn't bother entering it in any comps!

Mostly just enjoy the folks and try to meet everyone - you might find some that are extremely dedicated and others that are just plain fun.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline norcaljp

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 11:02:41 PM »
I find myself in the situation of what to expect from the first club meeting, except from the side of starting a club. We're having our first official club meeting tomorrow. I'm trying to figure out how to make sure that we have a good time, foster a culture that grows and strengthens the community, and helps us improve as brewers.
Joel Prater

I prefer to drink my bread, thank you

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2016, 11:07:19 PM »
In your case I would ask everyone to bear with you as you put business before pleasure and get the format of the club set from an operational perspective and set some goals for the first year and prioritize them.

But encourage fun!
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline Hooper

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2016, 03:21:25 AM »
Do not try to try to get them to attend one of your AMWAY meetings until at the soonest your second meeting...
“Stay with the beer. Beer is continuous blood. A continuous lover.”
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2016, 05:34:35 PM »
If you're uncomfortable going up and introducing yourself in a group of people then show up early and take a seat in the middle or front. As people arrive they are likely to come where you are and introduce themselves.

When people offer you are beer be polite about your comments. Find positive things to say and only offer criticism if the person makes it clear they are open to it. You're not scoring the beer; they are sharing their beer with you and you should be polite about it.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2016, 07:27:54 PM »
I was wondering what the typical size is of a homebrew club. They seem quite large.

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Offline santoch

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2016, 10:11:17 PM »
When we started our club, there were only the 3 of us co-founders.

Our club is very, very, very laid back.  No dues. No officers. No agenda, other than to share beers and techniques, and help everyone learn to make better beer.  We meet upstairs at the local brewpub as a closed private event away from the rest of the patrons (which allows us to bring our homebrew to share without voiding their license).  We always order beers and food from the pub, too, and tip the staff very well, which keeps us in their good favor.  We also often let a few of the servers sample some of the best homebrew, which they enjoy, too. 

We grew, albeit very slowly, over the last 10 years, from the 3 of us to where we now routinely get about 18-25 folks to show up at the monthly meetings, out of a membership we think is somewhere between 40 and 50.   We don't know the exact number, and frankly don't really care too much.  We know that our email list has 60 names on it.  Several are friends from other clubs so we can cross-post news when applicable.  Others are folks that joined up but stopped coming, or moved far enough away that they don't come to meetings any more.  All are still welcome, so we don't drop them from the list.  The only emails that get dropped are those that bounce and even then we keep them on hold until their server reports the account closed.

Other clubs are much more organized and regimented, and that's fine too.  Most are somewhere in the middle.  Your best bet is to see what the membership wants and go with that.  It may change over time, too.

HTH-
Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2016, 11:28:50 PM »
When sampling a stranger's beer, don't use air fingers quotes to emphasize certain words. Example: Hey, this is really ""interesting""! or So, how long have you been ""brewing""? or Can I get your ""recipe""?

Offline norcaljp

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2016, 12:29:20 AM »
When sampling a stranger's beer, don't use air fingers quotes to emphasize certain words. Example: Hey, this is really ""interesting""! or So, how long have you been ""brewing""? or Can I get your ""recipe""?
Or at least have the courtesy to show up dressed as Dr. Evil if you're going to do that.
Joel Prater

I prefer to drink my bread, thank you

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Attending your first homebrew club meeting
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2016, 12:33:20 AM »
Or at least have the courtesy to show up dressed as Dr. Evil if you're going to do that.


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