You've made your beer and now you want some feedback. Your friends will pretty much tell you it is great (so they can get more of it). You like your beer, but you want some critique. Or maybe something is not quite right and you want honest opinions. You can always come to Bitter & Esters and bring us a bottle (or two) and we will gladly talk to you about your beer. The other thing you can do is join a homebrew club. At a club meeting not only will you get several different palettes and levels of experience to give you feedback, but you can taste what your fellow homebrewers are concocting and talk all things beer.
There are several clubs in the five boroughs, Westchester and Long Island. They usually meet monthly, have internal contests, do charity events and have online forums. Some have minor dues to help maintain the website etc., some don't. As a member of a club you have camaraderie, feedback and will learn from fellow homebrewers while helping others out as well. And you don't have to be confined to just one club. You can join as many as you like and can be active with. Plus, members of homebrew clubs get a 5% discount at Bitter & Esters! (If you belong to several clubs you still only get one 5% discount, don't be thinking you can stack them!)
Here are the clubs available in this great city of ours and surrounding areas. The first one is Bitter & Esters monthly bottle swap. It starts at 6:30 on the first Wednesday of every month. Not really a club per se, we have no dues and are pretty loose. Bring some homebrew to share and swap. Lately we've been doing internal contests and will be doing more events involving the swap. It's a great time and a good night of beer talk and information exchange.
New York City Homebrewers Guild
New York City's oldest homebrew club. They have a Yahoo group where members can ask questions, trade or sell gear and make announcements. They have a lot of events including a yearly picnic. Plus they run NYC's only BJCP sanctioned homebrew contest, Homebrew Alley. The guild also sponsors an annual BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) class and exam. Notable past Presidents include Brooklyn Brewery's brewmaster Garrett Oliver, 508's Chris Cuzme and fermentation guru Mary Izett. Meetings are at 7:30pm every third Tuesday of the month at Burp Castle in the East Village (41 E. 7th St, betw 2nd and 3rd Aves).
Malted Barley Appreciation Society
MBAS is where beginners and experts alike meet to talk and share beer. Often there are guests from local breweries speaking at club meetings. They have a monthly newsletter and sponsor homebrew contests. They meet every 2nd Wednesday at 7:30pm at Mugs Ale House, 125 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg Brookyln
Started in 2010, the Brewsers welcomes brewers from all walks of life and varying levels of expertise. The members consist of both amateur brewers as well as award-winning brewers who are always happy to discuss their techniques. The Brooklyn Brewsers meet on the first Monday of every month at 7:00pm unless otherwise noted. The meetings are held at Brouwerij Lane in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The Brewminaries are a homebrew club in Prospect Heights focused on helping every member make better beer through experiments, brewing, and discussion. They came together through our (aforementioned) monthly bottle swaps. The Brewminaries are focused on accelerating our members to advanced brewing levels and beyond. They give members the tools, knowledge, and the combined learning experiences of the entire club.
They have novice members, award winning members, and certified BJCP judges in their midst. Reach out and say 'hello,' or find one of them at their monthly meetings!
Brewstoria is the first and currently only homebrew club in Queens, New York. They meet from 7:30pm to 9:30pm on the first Wednesday of every month at Rockaway Brewing Company. Brewstoria was founded in December, 2010. Since then, Brewstoria has grown to have almost 50 active members.
Pour Standards Richmond County Brew Society
Pour Standards is Staten Islands only homebrew club. Strongly involved in the homebrewing and craft beer community, Pour Standards also hosts many charity events like Brew for Autism and Pour to Restore. Pour Standards meets every second Thursday at Flagship Brewery.
The Dive Bar Homebrewers' Symposium
A loose meeting of homebrewers sharing beer and ideas. They meet at either Dive Bar or Broadway Dive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Which of those two locations varies sporadically, as does the date. They don't have a set time of the month, so the best way for people to get the info is to email Tristan Cook and he'll add you to the list. And finally, no requirements; all are welcome!
The Bronx Homebrewers Association was founded in August 2013. It is the first Homebrewers organization in the Bronx which means that now all 5 boroughs have an organization. They hold meetings the 2nd Tuesday of every month at Gun Hill Brewery, 3227 Laconia Ave. Bronx, NY. Meetings begin at 7pm. Homebrewers of all levels are welcome.
Westchester Homebrewers Organization (WHO)
The Westchester Homebrewers Organization is a club that was founded in 2008 for people who share an interest in the craft of homebrewing and an appreciation for well made beer. Check their website for the next meeting time and place.
Long Island Beer and Malt Enthusiasts (LIBME)
Their mission is to spread knowledge and enthusiasm of homebrewing, craft beer and malt with others. They hold events such as tastings, style clinics and talks with local breweries. They meet on the first Wednesday of every month at various places in Suffolk and Nassau County's on Long Island.
Brewnity is not a club but a gathering of all of the New York City homebrew clubs and homebrew shops. With so much enthusiasm and talent, the idea is to pool our resources for information, events and power. A brain child of Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett, the next Brewnity event is planned for Sunday Novemeber 2nd at the Bellhouse in Gowanus. Check Bitter & Esters website for more information in the near future.
American Homebrewers Association
Not really a club but a national organization. All homebrewers should be members of the AHA. Your membership gets you Zymurgy magazine 6 times a year, years of back issues of Zymurgy online, tons of homebrew related resources, discounts at various shops and bars among many other things. They hold the largest homebrew contest in the world and the National Homebrewers conference (NHC) every year at a different city with an amazing club night. Over 1.2 million people brew their own beer at home in the United States. The American Homebrewers Association® (AHA) is a not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colo., dedicated to promoting the community of homebrewers and empowering homebrewers to make the best beer in the world. Since 1978, the AHA has worked to educate people worldwide about the coolest hobby there is—homebrewing. You can thank the AHA for lobbying to make homebrewing legal in all 50 states (looking at you Mississippi and Alabama!). It is a blast that there are so many resources for homebrewers to meet and hang out with other brewers. If I missed your club please let me know.
Clubbing along, John