Author Topic: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs  (Read 2990 times)

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2010, 01:59:33 PM »
The Falcons have a ridiculously organized approach to things (at least ridiculous for us)

We meet the first Sunday of every month at 12 at our club house behind our sponsoring shop.

Meetings start promptly at 12 (oh who am I kidding, we're usually lucky to get started by 12:20)

Meeting kicks off with a style presentation by our Grand Hydrometer (currently, me) and the beer tasting is whatever the GH decides to do. Last month I did the 30th Anniversary Series from Sierra Nevada. Next month I'll be doing a tasting of "Big and Malty Deutchland Style"

After that tasting (4-5 beers) and back and forth commentary, we usually move onto a technical presentation with me presenting for a few minutes about something that's interesting to me at the moment.

Then we do business and intersperse business with homebrews. The homebrewers get to stand up, present their beer and talk about them and get feedback.

Then we break for lunch and beer and then come back for even more homebrews.

Meeting usually wraps up sometime around 4:30 or so.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2010, 02:31:12 PM »
My club has a great host for our meetings.  The owner of Mr. Dunderbaks in Tampa is a homebrewer and craft beer lover and closes off the majority of the restaurant for our meetings, which are on the second Tuesday of the month.  Meetings have some business and announcements first, then sometimes we have a guest and occasionally somebody will give a presentation or a show and tell, then it's mostly social.  Lots of homebrew is passed around.
On the third Tuesday of the month we hold what I call "judging class."  We meet to sample and judge the style of the month, which is closely associated with the club only competitions of the AHA.  We sample commercial examples of the style, have a quick lesson on judging and sensory analysis and then fill out BJCP score sheets on the homebrews, followed by discussion of each one.  It's very educational.  We normally have about a dozen people at the "classes" and 30 to 50 at the regular meetings.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2010, 12:03:58 PM »
In my first club, North Florida Brewers League, there were separate meetings for the technical sessions. 

The regular club meetings were held at a restaurant bar that allowed us to meet, eat, and drink and also bring our homebrew for informal evaluation (I wouldn't really call it judging).  These regular meetings were specifically geared to be social with a minor education provided on a monthly beer style and then we had the tasting and evaluation.  No heavy technical stuff was typically included in those meetings.   These were typically fairly large meetings.

The technical meetings were typically with smaller groups and they were held at a member's house.  These did get into some nifty technical and stylistic evaluations and discussions.   The thought was that these technical discussions turned off some people and were sometimes outside the interests of general club members.  Having the technical sessions separate let the folks who were really interested in the subject get together and focus on a more closely instead of slipping this into a meeting where some might either be dozing off or disturbing the geeks.

 
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2010, 07:19:39 AM »
We are only good for about 10-15 minutes of presentation before the natives get restless. We tend to pull in about 25 for each meeting, sometimes more. In the past any educational session has come during the first minutes of the meeting and then we pass the beers. On occasion we'll have a full blown educational session with a pro brewer or pro meadmaker or will have a longer topic. Now we have been starting the meeting 1/2 hour early for those interested in learning more.

I've always gotten more out of the passing of the beers than anything else. As we pass them we might discuss the attributes or flaws in private OR the brewer might ask for real feedback and the group will chime in. Our MO is for the brewer to state the recipe and brewing techniques (mash temp, fementation temp, etc). Often we can figure out why a beer is so good or why it missed the mark from that information. If someone in the crowd has lots of knowledge about an ingredient or practice they will share the info with the group. The beauty is if someone starts stating BS to the group it won't last long.

Another thing we have is private forums for our members which has tons of information. We've got about 100 forum members and have over 12,000 posts from the membership!
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline christo

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2010, 11:57:10 AM »
Our club is similar to Mike's in that at about 15 minutes tops people get antsy when discussing technical or style topics during our regular monthly "business" meeting.  With other typical business discussion, the total official meeting ends up at an hour or so, which is about the tipping point for attention of your average beer drinker :D.  Time afterwards is spent on comraderie and general one-on-one or small group discussions which many times started from the technical discussion during the regular business portion of the meeting.

We hold a separate meeting we call our "stammtisch" each month for a beer swap at someone's house (unforturnately we cannot bring beer into the brewpub where we meet for business meetings per GA law).  We also hold our club-only comps at these and that has led to style discussions on the style to be judged.

Lastly, we hold a separate BJCP class for those who want really detailed information about ingredients, styles, process, etc.  For the 6 months before the test, we will meet 1.5 hours prior to the regular meeting plus have additional sessions at a different time during the month.  

Offline Bruce B

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2011, 11:39:11 AM »
Hi Kai,

We have a similar issue with the Barons (around 200 members).  We meet on a the 4th Wednesday of every month and have an attendance of 100 to 120.  Some want more homebrewing technical homebrewing presentations, others want more general discussions.  In order to keep the homebrewers happy and bring in more new brewers we started our Brew U educational program about three years ago.  Because of the program we're seeing more and more homebrewers show up to the monthly meetings and greater requests for more homebrew focused discussion.  This year we'll be adjusting our classes a bit more to offer more advanced topics since we're planning on covering more beginning and intermediate topics during the monthly meetings. 

One thing we've learned and you may already know - brew is served at the monthly meetings which means you'll only have an audience's attention for maybe 60 to 90 minutes.  After that it gets too hard to keep people's attention and the side conversations to a low roar.  Because of this we'll probably always have some advanced classes away from the monthly meetings because they are either too technical (like advanced yeast or hops sessions) or does not appeal to a large audience (bjcp study sessions).

Here is a link to the classes we offered last year if you're looking for ideas - http://beerbarons.org/Brew-U/classCatalog.html.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions about the classes or if you'd like to see some of our presentation material.
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Offline Janis

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #21 on: January 03, 2011, 11:53:41 AM »
Bruce,

That's an impressive syllabus!  Would you be willing to post this information and a link to your website to the AHA Club Wiki?  http://ahaclubs.homebrewersassociation.org/  You'll need to be registered on that wiki to post, but you can sign up with the same information as you use for the AHA Forum.  I think this information would be great under the Running A Club ==> General Management section.  You can copy this Forum post and then paste as text into the page you create.  Let me know if you have any questions or problems.

Cheers,
   Janis
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #22 on: January 03, 2011, 01:09:04 PM »
Bruce,

Thanks for the information.

Yes I think having some technical content at regular meetings and special technical meetings should be a good compromise. But I doubt that we'll get as organized as guys you are ;).

Kai

Offline Bruce B

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #23 on: January 03, 2011, 09:01:46 PM »
Well, organized might be a strong word for how we get things done.  I will say that our planning got a little more serious in our second year of classes.  That's when we got an email from a woman in the Chicago area wanting to send her husband and a friend to Milwaukee for the weekend to attend our Intermediate Class.  She was giving the trip to her husband as a Christmas present.  No pressure...  :o
Prosit, Sláinte, Salute, Na Zdravi, Cheers! - Bruce
Beer Barons of Milwaukee - http://www.beerbarons.org
Coordinator - Midwinter and Schnapp Hans Cup Competitions
BJCP National & Mead Judge

Offline mr_jeffers

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Re: Technical brewing education in brewing clubs
« Reply #24 on: February 04, 2011, 09:30:19 PM »
Sounds like a fun weekend Bruce.

I'm a member of the Southern Maine Homebrewers.  Some of our members have expressed an interest in discussing the more technical aspects of brewing at club meetings, so recently we've been trying to incorporate a short information session with each meeting. Somewhere in the 20-30 minute range, the topic can be about styles, techniques, etc.  November's meeting consisted of going over the style notes for Belgian Tripels, and sampling a couple commercial examples since there were no homebrewed versions available.
Jeff Brown
Southern Maine Homebrewers