Author Topic: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs  (Read 2438 times)

Offline Kaiser

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Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« on: December 21, 2010, 08:43:39 AM »
How do you guys do it?

Our club, Brew Free or Die, is looking to add more educational activities to our club life. The two options that are currently debated are having a short presentation at club meeting or having a dedicated meeting for brewer education.

The first option doesn't give much time for educational topics since most of the meeting is for socializing and not everybody is interested in the educational part. The 2nd option is seen as running the risk of splitting the club since members may only attend one and not the other.

Kai

Offline denny

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2010, 09:35:02 AM »
I'm the Tech Tsar for our club and we do it both ways, but usually at our regular meeting.  The regular monthly meeting is where we exchange info on events and other things.  The socializing happens after that part of the meeting.  It can range from a presentation by me or another member to an open discussion of a topic to a "Tech Triva" thing with prizes.  We also have a fair number of "meetings" that are strictly parties, so it's not a big deal to have the regular monthly meeting devoted to info and technical stuff.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 09:37:27 AM by denny »
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2010, 09:43:57 AM »
We try to have a presentation at every meeting. Doesn't always work - have to have willing volunteers. Our presentations vary from style (what makes it unique, brewing/recipe considerations, tasting of examples), technical presentations on variety of brewing issues, regional presentations (when members travel somewhere & bring back examples to share), etc. We try to have beer to the lips as part of presentations as much as possible. We're lucky enough to have a treasury that will support paying for beer for presentations.

As you mention, socializing & presentations don't mix well. But we manage as best we can. Occasionally we'll have separate presentations at another time/place.... usually as part of a BJCP study group. We feel strongly that education is an important part of our mission as a club. It's not always easy, but it is worth the effort & seems to be appreciated by a majority of our members (though not by everyone).
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline johnf

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2010, 09:52:32 AM »
I've been thinking about this a lot as well as I face the fact that most of the people in my club are only interested in the social side.

I can think of a few cities where homebrewing is big that have basically ended up over the years with a serious club and a social club or two, maybe it happened the way you are saying. If you push too hard the people who don't want the serious stuff will just leave. Maybe that is okay but having only been in my club (which is a very old one) a short time I don't feel it is my place to set the tone.

I've thought about a BJCP judge type group in my town as these tend to be the people who are more serious and the BJCP members are split among the local clubs with some not being active in any club. I wouldn't limit it to BJCP members but more target that as the initial membership and try to keep to focus limited so it doesn't appear that we are trying to be a new full service club (no parties, no entering competitions under that groups name, etc).

Offline Janis

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2010, 09:56:58 AM »
Hi Kai,

My club (Hop Barley & the Alers) has it built into the meeting agenda.  First we socialize while the dinner group is setting everything up.  Then as we eat dinner, the President makes the announcements.  Next, our VP gives a presentation of the style of the month.  We split into our color groups to discuss responsibilities for the next meeting, and finally we have a speaker from the local area. The speaker is usually arranged by the President, and they speak on lots of technical topics. Our meetings are 7 to ~10 p.m. on the 4th Tuesday of the month. http://www.hopbarley.org/

Good luck!

Cheers,
    Janis
Janis Gross
National Homebrew Competition Director
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janis@brewersassociation.org

Offline denny

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 10:31:56 AM »
Janis, how big is your club?
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2010, 10:42:20 AM »
janis' club is way more organized than ours when it comes to meetings. In our club the club meeting is about the only time when brewers meet each other. We are also fairly far spread out with travel times ranging from 15 to 60 min.

Kai

Offline Janis

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2010, 11:21:12 AM »
Janis, how big is your club?

Hi Denny,
My club has 50 to 60 members, of which 20 to 40 come to any given meeting.
Cheers,
   Janis
Janis Gross
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janis@brewersassociation.org

Offline denny

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2010, 11:26:48 AM »
Thanks, Janis.   I was just picturing trying to do dinner for our club!  We've had an explosion of members the last few years and our tech meetings are now over 60 in average attendance.  Parties are too big to even guess!
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Offline Janis

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2010, 11:32:19 AM »
janis' club is way more organized than ours when it comes to meetings. In our club the club meeting is about the only time when brewers meet each other. We are also fairly far spread out with travel times ranging from 15 to 60 min.

Kai

Hi Kai,
My club has been around for a long time (late 1970s/early 1980s), and the basic meeting structure has evolved over that time.  This is the Boulder County homebrew club, and our members have travel times very similar to yours.
Cheers,
   Janis
Janis Gross
National Homebrew Competition Director
AHA Project Coordinator
janis@brewersassociation.org

Offline Janis

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2010, 11:42:15 AM »
Thanks, Janis.   I was just picturing trying to do dinner for our club!  We've had an explosion of members the last few years and our tech meetings are now over 60 in average attendance.  Parties are too big to even guess!

Hi Denny,
As our club has grown, we have developed a color group system to ensure food, and beer, and set-up/clean-up are all a sure thing at each meeting.  There are 4 color groups, Orange, Red, Green, and Blue.  Each month one group has food responsibility, one has the beer style of the month, one has set-up/clean-up, and the 4th group has the month off.  The responsibilities rotate so that the group responsible for beer gets the next month off.  Color groups are assigned when you become a member, but they change at the beginning of each year when you renew your membership.  This system was devised by Bob and Caroline Kauffman.

The cool thing is that the color group responsible for beer meets at one brewers house and they brew the beer.  It's an awesome way to expand your brewing knowledge and techniques.  The club picks up the tab for ingredients for the brew, and also for the food for each meeting.

Our club holds a fundraiser auction every August to finance the rental of the hall for the meetings, and the food, and beer ingredients.

Cheers,
   Janis
Janis Gross
National Homebrew Competition Director
AHA Project Coordinator
janis@brewersassociation.org

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2010, 11:43:27 AM »
Our club, Hogtown Brewers in Gainesville FL, has about 100 members. Most meetings average 25-30 with a max of about 40. We meet at member's homes, beginning each meeting with a pot-luck dinner. We haven't had a problem yet, but have about maxed the possible size for meeting in members homes. Not sure where we'll go if/when membership & meeting attendance grows beyond our current limitation.

Our meetings start with the potluck dinner, then we do Homebrew Show n Tell, then any necessary meeting business/announcements, followed by the presentation, and then just partying. We do the vast majority of club business at separate exec meetings (to which all members are welcome - though it's usually the same group 10-12 comprised of the officers and the few others that carry the weight of making things happen. We went to this format a number of years ago because of lack of interest/attention of many members during the meetings. Partying is easy (beer, homebrewers, what else do you expect?), but the rest takes effort. So far our format has been working well, though some meetings do get a bit scattered during the presentation.
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline denny

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2010, 11:50:34 AM »
Janis, that's a level of commitment and organization that our club couldn't begin to handle! Good on ya!
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2010, 11:59:04 AM »
Thanks. There are some great ideas here.

I wouldn’t mind moving to a model where there is some small presentation at each meeting and there are also more comprehensive technical meetings. Maybe the presentations can be a teaser for the technical meetings.

Kai

Offline Kit B

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 12:05:18 PM »
The club I belong to (River City Brewers in Monticello, MN) are fairly organized.
We are lucky enough to meet at River City Extreme Bowling, the first Monday of every month.
They don't charge us for the use of a conference room, but we all order food & beverages from them, throughout our meetings.
From 6:00-6:30 is social/eating/drinking time...Then, we call the meeting to order...Discuss business...Have an assigned presentation or 2 by members...Discuss more business & future plans...Then, we have a tasting session of beer &/or wine.
Meetings typically go until 9:00 or 10:00.
We just started up, less than a year ago & I think we have aquired 25+ members.
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