February 2013 Meeting Notes

The February meeting of the Star City Brewers Guild was held on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the home of Chris and Pam M. with roughly 40 people in attendance.  Treasurer Mike U. reported a balance of $1654.54 in the account with 39 members at the time of business.

We will hold our Kolsch competition at the next meeting on March 9 at Thom and Jeannie B.’s house.  The following meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 6 at Bryan and Jenny S.’s house.

We discussed the BYO subscription offer and I have now had at least 5 people commit to purchasing a subscription if we can reach the minimum 10 members necessary for the offer to kick in.  I’ve heard from Mike U., Thom B., Dan T., Paul M., and Todd S.  Please let me know if you are interested in participating in this offer ($33 for an annual subscription, club keeps $16.50).  Renewals ARE allowed as part of the offer.

We renewed discussion on possible Guild compensation for BJCP Judging exams.  Kathy and John M. presented two motions that offered a) compensation of the $10 Entrance Exam fee regardless of passing and b) compensation of the $10 Entrance Exam fee regardless of passing, plus the $40 Judging Exam fee upon successful completion of the Judging Exam.  The general sentiment of the members present seemed to be that the $10 Entrance Exam fee should not be reimbursed except upon completion of the Judging Exam.  Kathy volunteered to rewrite the motions accordingly.  The motions will be voted upon through email ballot up until the next meeting, or during the next meeting by paper ballot.  Results will be announced during the business portion of the next meeting – look for another email with more details soon.  Voting is open to current members only.

Doug M. gave us an update on the yeast experiment.  Sean at Growlers has agreed to brew us a batch of wort for the cost of ingredients at a date TBD.  Participants will fill up 1-2 carboys each with 5.5 gallons of the common wort, pitching a different variety of yeast in each at their homes.  Doug requested that we take a few bottles back to Sean to thank him for his generosity, and allow him to taste the results of the various yeasts in his wort.  Data will be collected from each brewer to account for differences in technique and fermentation.  Jeff F. and Mike U. offered to work with Doug. M. on a spreadsheet tabulating the data.  If anyone else is interested in getting involved, please contact Doug.  At least two weeks notice will be given in advance of the brew day, which will possibly occur on a Friday.  This should give brewers plenty of time to order yeast and make plans to pick up their wort or leave carboys with others who will be attending.

The first competition for 2013 will be held on March 9.  We will try a new format for judging the competition, where judges will arrive at 3:00 to judge beers.  The regular meeting is scheduled for 4:00, and judges will be asked to not put their food or beer out until the judging is finished around 4.  Members not wishing to judge may arrive at 4:00.  Those wanting to enter beers who either cannot make it for the judging or to the meeting, or do not wish to judge, can arrange with Thom or another member to drop their beers off in advance.  More details on that later.

Carrie C. discussed an effort led by Webmaster Chuck G., Kevin C., Chris B. and herself to create a new website for the Guild.  She mentioned how the old website was dull and rarely used, and how we would be giving it a refresher with a platform called WordPress.  Volunteers to help work on the new website are encouraged to contact Carrie.  A meeting will be scheduled for an upcoming Monday at Blue 5 to discuss the switch.  John S. requested that updates be run by the club for feedback before being implemented.  Chris B. spoke about some of the reasons for the switch to WordPress, including taking some of the non-brewing-related discussion off the email list and onto a forum, which would send email updates to the club when a new topic was posted, as well as integration with newer technology such as smartphones.

Beer festival season is almost upon us.  John M. mentioned the Hickory Hops Brew Festival on April 20 in NC, Chris B. brought up New River Brewfest on April 13 in Radford, and Bryan S. will be attending Gnarley Hops and Barley Fest in Culpeper, VA on April 27.

Carrie talked about how Cornerstone Collectibles in Salem has revamped their inventory with less wine, more beer, and a better selection.  Also, Mac n Bob’s in Salem will be expanding their bar and their beer selection to include numerous craft beers in the near future.

We took a break for great beer and food while Mike U. set up his yeast starter and dry yeast rehydration demonstration.  Mike did a fantastic job explaining to us the importance of building an appropriate cell count of healthy yeast, and taking us through the process step by step with actual starter wort.  Thanks Mike!

Hope to see everyone next month!