2009 Meeting Notes

January 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Monday, 02 February 2009
Twenty-five members (including new paid members: Moses D., Roz and Larry B. and Michael P.) and one guest (John S.) attended the January meeting hosted by Jeff and Cindy in South Roanoke. Jeff and Cindy admitted to being a bit anxious when the contractor that was to provide the granite counter tops for their kitchen remodel did not arrive until 10:00 Saturday morning and did not finish until 2:30. Thanks again to Jeff and Cindy for hosting and to all who brought the great food and beers that were shared.

Treasurer’s Report  At the start of the meeting we had 33 paid members for 2009 and a balance of $684. Dues coming in and expenses for this year’s competition trophies and the commercial samples for last night’s tasting going out left a balance of $589. Some discussion of the overall budget ensued. The gist of the discussion was that our current recurring annual expenses (as currently defined) nearly match what is collected in dues so we really don’t have much of an annual surplus.

Funding of raffle prize for entrants in quarterly competitions.  After some discussion it was agreed that the presence of a raffle prize was not going to be the reason why someone did or did not submit a beer for competition so SCBG will not provide funding for a raffle prize.

Do you want to enhance the “educational” aspect of the monthly meetings? The answer to this question seemed to be a unanimous “Yes” but execution here will be the hard part.

a. The initial “Provide a tip/ask a question” segment was on Labels: getting them off, designing, producing, putting them on and etc. I would not grade this a resounding success (yours truly starting it out with a gusher) but with a bit more practice it could catch on. If you have a topic that fits this format let me know within the next two weeks so I can announce it prior to the next meeting.

b. It was agreed that during the second meeting of the quarter a technical aspect of brewing (ingredients, equipment, or process) would be discussed. This discussion would occur after the business portion of the meeting and be restricted to those members having an interest in the topic.   A single member would present or lead this discussion of about 5 to 20 minutes.  Over time, I hope the majority of the club membership would rotate through this assignment. You do not have to be an expert on the topic but should sleep at a Holiday Inn Express the night before the meeting. I need a volunteer for February. Let me know within the next two weeks so I can announce the topic prior to the next meeting.

Press release for Brewer of the Year.  This would promote quality brewed beer, SCBG, and of course our BOTY, Ross A. Kathy M. and Carrie graciously volunteered for this assignment.

Update of our SCBG promotional brochure.  Kevin grabbed this one. Although not present, the Pats were nominated in abstentia to assist since the brochure format may reside on their computer.

Other Events: Any interest in the Roanoke St Patrick’s Day Parade? The parade is on March 14th and entry paperwork is due by March 6th. There was some interest in this but the final yea or nay was delayed until the next meeting. The key will be to identify a project lead and a half dozen volunteers to assist prior to or during the next meeting. If we decide to do this, the club may need to spring for a couple of new, inexpensive SCBG signs. http://www.roanokesaintpats.org/html/parade.html#route

World Beer Fest at Raleigh is April 25th.  Tickets last year were scarce.  Be thinking if you want to go so we can arrange for an advance group buy after the February meeting.

The 2009 National Homebrewers Conference is June 18-20 in Oakland. 1st Round AHA National Homebrew Competition Entries must be received at the correct shipping or drop-off location before 5 p.m. Wednesday, 8 April 2009. The cost is $9 for 1 entry or $14 for non-members.  I think there will be a drop-off point in Charlotte, NC.  For those interested I can consolidate and transport. Brian remarked that feedback from this competition was among the best he has received.

Future Meeting Sites:

February 28th at Chris & Pam’s

March 21st at John and Kathy’s

April (Saison presentation & commercial tasting) Date TBD. Eric volunteered to coordinate with Roanoke Railhouse Brewery to possibly tour and hold our meeting there.

May 2nd (Big Brew) at Jim and Joan’s

June (date TBD) at Chris and Fran’s

From the Floor. Kevin suggested the possibility of a beer trip to the new Devil’s Backbone Brewery in Nelson County. Great Idea. Next step is to figure out a date that the brewer (to show us his operation) and majority of club members interested in going are available. Ross’ initial report that the warehouse feel and poor service make the new Bull & Bones Brewhaus and Grill in Blacksburg a poor choice until they improve.

Style presentation and commercial sampling of American Brown Ales.  Bryan S. mesmerized the audience with his red, white and blue themed Power Point presentation. Brian revealed that the BJCP style guidelines may not be keeping up with this beer style especially in IBUs. The style guidelines top out at 40 IBUs but many brewers are cranking up the hops to reach levels nearer to 60. With that said, the examples Bryan were able to locate were under 20 IBUs. The Brooklyn Brown Ale seemed to be the crowd pleaser.


February 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Thursday, 05 March 2009
Twenty-two members plus kids, parents and neighbors made for exciting evening last Saturday night. Chris had invited his neighbor, Harry, over who enjoyed the group so much that he joined and immediately offered to host a meeting – Wow! Food selections for this meeting were bountiful. Many thanks to all who brought these delicious treats and to Chris and Pam for hosting. Members had braved the elements to attend but reminiscent of someone shouting “fire” in a theatre, the announcement of “ice” seemed to hasten departures.
Treasurer’s Report. Will reported we have 40 members paid for 2009 and $664.73 in the bank. No bills were paid last month.Press release for Brewer of the Year. Thanks to Kathy who prepared and Carrie who sent the article and photo to WDBJ 7, WSLS 10, and the Roanoke Times. As of yet, Ross has not been asked to appear on the “Today” show.

Provide a Tip/Ask a Question. This month’s topic was “Reusing Yeast”. We had pretty of good discussion with numerous tips. James is thinking about cloning a Chimay Blue by culturing the yeast from a bottle of beer. No one in attendance had attempted such a feat but all wished him success. I forgot to get ideas for next month at the meeting so if you want to suggest a topic please do so.

SCBG promotional brochure. Kevin reported that he has marked up the old copy and had sent an email to the Pats to see if they had the old brochure tucked away in an electronic file somewhere.

St Patrick’s Day Parade. We decided not to participate this year but to observe the event. It was suggested that we all meet at the same point on the parade route and perhaps share a couple of beers afterward. SCBG old-timers mentioned a spot that they use to meet and if someone can help me nail down the exact meeting point so we can communicate it to the newbies, it would be appreciated.http://www.roanokesaintpats.org/html/parade.html#route

World Beer Fest at Raleigh is April 25th. Received an email that the Subscriber’s pre-sale starts on March 24th and any remaining tickets would go on sale March 30th; however, the fest has moved one week (this year only) to May 2nd because of conflict with the Craft Brewers Convention. Because May 2nd is Big Brew, the World Beer Fest now conflicts with our meeting/event.

Hickory Hops Brew Festival. Hickory, NC is hosting this event on April 18th. Last year, Brian S. and Joe attended and had a great time. I didn’t ask for a show of hands at the meeting but Kathy and I are planning to attend this year. http://www.hickoryhops.com/

2009 National Homebrewers Competition. It was suggested and agreed at the meeting that the club would sponsor the award winning beers from our American Brown Ale competition in March. The 2009 National Homebrew Competition (NHC) Rules & Regulations are at (http://www.beertown.org/events/nhc/pdf/NHC09_Rules_Regs.pdf) andhttp://www.beertown.org/events/nhc/entry.html The entry window is Wednesday, March 25 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, 2009.

Googlegroups and Terms of Use. This topic generated some discussion. I am not knowledgeable to declare what will or will not run us afoul of Googlegroups Terms of Use or other spam/content filters used by your email provider (Cox comes to mind) but it is my sense that the majority of the membership is more comfortable reading emails sent to the group that do not contain profanity.

Big Brew Update: The Big Brew 2009 recipes have can be found athttp://www.beertown.org:80/events/bigbrew/recipes.html however, you can brew anything you want. James says those brewers seeking an early start can arrive as early as 8 AM. Anything earlier will require a sack of donuts for the host. The remainder of those attending should make sure to arrive in time for the “Worldwide toast to Homebrew” and photo which will be at 1 PM Eastern. Our meeting will follow the toast.

Floyd Fandango Beer and Wine Fest. Bryan S. mentioned he has not had any further contact with the organizer. This is a 2-day event on July 4th and 5th. http://atwproductions.com/index.php The current volunteer opportunities sheet calls for Volunteer shifts that will be approximately 5.5 hours each. The festival

runs from 11am – 9pm both days and volunteer shifts will be roughly 10:00-3:30 and 3:30-9:00.

Microfestivus. August 8th from 12-6. My thoughts are that we could approach Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Homebrew and promote SCBG, Homebrew and do tasting out of half of their allotted space. Some members who had participated with Microfestivus in the past did not want anything to do with the event while newer members were more receptive to the idea. I’ll talk to Chris and Fran about SCBG teaming with them and provide more information at a later meeting. Before moving much beyond that point I’ll comeback to the membership for guidance on how to proceed.

Bluegrass Brewing Company/Blues BBQ Beer Dinner. The date for this event has been set for Monday, April 6th but as of now, no other details have been planned. (i.e. menu, cost).

Shirt Run: Will intends to get some summer shirts embroidered with the SCBG logo so it you want to have Will take your shirt to the vendor you need to link up with him ASAP.

Future Meeting Sites:

March 21st at 4 PM at John and Kathy’s (you may drop your competition beers off early – just call to make sure we are home)

April (Saison presentation by Doug and commercial tasting) Eric has talked with Roanoke Railhouse Brewery and they are willing to give us a tour and allow us to hold our meeting there (including bringing in beer and food). Two dates in consideration are April 11th or the 18th.

May 2nd (Big Brew) at Jim and Joan’s

June (date TBD) at Chris and Fran’s


August: Doug will host and also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

Changes to Competitions. Current by By-Laws do not set a limit on the number of beers an individual may submit for competitions although past practice the last few years has been to limit each brewer to one beer. A vigorous discussion ensued followed by a proposal and second to accept the proposed By-Law changes which would limit beers submitted to two entries which can not be the same beer and allow for the use of a final table of judging when sub-tables are used. Since this is a change to the club constitution it must be approved by a majority of the membership at the next meeting. If you do not plan to attend the meeting next month please email your vote in prior to the meeting. The text of the proposed change is attached. http://www.starcitybrewers.org/documents/ByLaw_Changes_on_Competitions.pdf

Having exhausted the membership there were no further items from the floor and the meeting was completed. After a break John M. did a presentation on “Beer Color”. Notes attached FYI. http://www.starcitybrewers.org/documents/Beer_Color.pdf


March 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Monday, 23 March 2009

Thirty-two members and two guests (Ginger’s brother Wayne and Pat’s grandson Andrew) made for exciting evening last Saturday night.  The house was full, the meeting long and the judging was intense but the beer did not run out! And I want to especially mention the great and abundant food; it was an International buffet with Irish, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Southern cuisines – Mmmmm Good!

Treasurer’s Report.  Will reported we have 49 members and about $700. No bills were paid last month.  We gained one new member, Andrew who was suitably impressed and signed up before night’s end.

Provide a Tip/Ask a Question.  This month’s topic was on using finings and a couple of great tips were revealed – at least they were revelations to me. We did have one topic suggested for next month which I thought may be a bit to narrow and since my secretary and chief note taker missed it and I forgot what it was, I am in search of a topic. I was thinking about burners and have plenty of questions on that topic but am not sure about whether we have any resident expertise for the answers.

SCBG promotional brochure.  Kevin has given me the revised version of the pamphlet. I’ll get feedback from a few people before we submit it for printing.

Changes to Competitions.  A proposal was made to separate the issues for the vote. The first issue which dealt with the use of the judging tables passed with 26 votes in agreement to the following change.

The highest of the accepted scores will receive a 1st place trophy; the next will receive a 2nd place trophy, and the third will receive a 3rd place trophy. The highest composite scores for each entrant will be awarded to that individual, and the cumulative scores will be tallied and tracked throughout the year. At the end of the year, the member with the highest cumulative score will be named Brewer of the Year, and his/her name will be added to the guild plaque.When the number of entries submitted makes a single table of judges impractical, multiple sub tables will be used and a final table will decide which beers will be awarded the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place trophies. Any beer forwarded to the final table will retain its numerical score from the initial round of judging for use in Brewer of the Year scores.

The second issue which dealt with limiting the number of beers a member may submit for judging at one competition to two failed with only 15 “yes” votes and no potential to attain a majority.

A motion was then made and seconded to change the competition by-laws to limit the number of beer a member may submit for judging at one competition to one entry. The current wording is that “participants may submit multiple entries.” Discussion on this can happen online if desired. This type of change requires one month’s notice so we will have the vote at the April meeting.Imperial Anything. Questions have come up as to what can be “Imperialized” and still qualify for this competition. Bryan S. will get guidelines from someone who has conducted a like competition to help clarify this category for us. My summary of the discussion and current path we are on is that all beers we be judged using #23 Specialty Beer category and the brewer may provide a comment on what makes his/her beer imperial.

Hickory Hops Brew Festival.  Hickory, NC is hosting this event on April 18th. Kathy and I are planning to attend this year.  http://www.hickoryhops.com/Sensory Training Kit.  An idea to purchase a sensory training kit for the club has surfaced. Basically this is a troubleshooting kit to help people identify those off flavors in a beer. Thanks to Doug for email sharing the responses he received. The club has decided that this is something to pursue but to wait for an imminent BJCP announcement on this subject.

Big Brew Update:  Big Willie will be present for those wishing to put a keg on tap for the event. The Club Tent and tables are also available if James beckons.

Bluegrass Brewing Company/Blues BBQ Beer Dinner.  Monday, 6 April for a cost of $40 per person. Published food menu is brined pork rib eye, sweet potato casserole, sweet cinnamon green beans and apple boysenberry crisp. They said five beers will be served to include the bourbon barrel stout. Tickets are available at the restaurant in downtown Roanoke or calling 344-LOVE. If anyone decides to go, the restaurant will reserve us a table i.e. when you call, tell them you want to sit at the SCBG table.

Future Meeting Sites:

April 11th 2:00 pm-5:00pm at the Roanoke Railhouse Brewery hosted by Eric P. Directions to the brewery will be sent at a later date. Because this is at the brewery, we will be meeting in what is essentially a garage. In addition to the usual things you bring (food item, beer for the host and a personal drinking vessel) you will need to bring your own chair, serving utensils and a coat if it is chilly. Doug will present the commercial tasting of the Saison style. Tad has agreed to shop for the samples. (Don’t forget to give your receipts to Will for reimbursement.) We will get a brewery tour and I hope some fresh samples of the beers they are brewing – Track One and Blacksburg Pilsner. I promise to try to keep the meeting short.

May 2nd (Big Brew) at Jim and Joan’s

June (date TBD) at Chris and Fran’s

July 11th at Harry’s

August: Doug will host and also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

From the Floor. The idea of meeting on a week night was brought up. Discussion revealed that because of work schedules and job travel, most people preferred weekend meetings.

If you are interested in bulk grain purchase, contact Doug at shyzaboy@yahoo.com.

Not From the Floor. From time to time I feel it would be appropriate for the club to bestow a SCBG “Certificate of Appreciation” or like no-cost but loaded with significance award that is signed by the President. If anyone would like to design something that looks sharp, please let me know.

After a break, the judging of the American Brown Ales commenced. There were 16 beers in the competition. Trophy winners were Bryan S.-3rd place, Will L.-2nd place and Chris McD.-1st place.

Thanks to Chris and Fran SCBG members and owners of Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Homebrew Supply Shop who are giving us a $25 dollar gift certificate to the shop for each competition meeting. To be eligible for the certificate drawing you must enter a beer in the competition. This quarter’s winner was Patrick K.

Many thanks to our head steward Judy (Obiwan) Mahoney and her assistants, Paul M, Jenny S. and Cindy F. for the smooth running of the beer competition. Thanks to judges Bryan S, Cyber Dave, Ross A, Pat, Larry B., Tad S., Eric P., Patricia K., Chris M., Will L., Nancy and Kevin C.


April Meeting Notes E-mail
Written by John Merkwan
Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Twenty-four SCBG members gathered at the Roanoke Railhouse Brewery for the month’s meeting on 11 April.  Thanks to Eric P. for arranging the meeting at this location and for getting things set up and cleaned up on Saturday. Treasurer’s Report: Will reported that at the beginning of the meeting the club had $794.73 and 53 members.

Change to Bylaws: A vote was taken to amend the SCBG bylaws to limit each participant to one beer entry for each quarterly competition. The amendment passed with 27 votes in favor of the change. A complete copy of the Bylaws can be found on our website at www.starcitybrewers.org.

“Imperial Anything” Clarification: For the competition in September, the style sheet from the #23 Specialty Beer category of the BJCP Style Guidelines will be used. The brewer may (but does not have to) provide a comment on what makes his/her beer imperial. Additionally, he/she may (but does not have to) declare an underlying beer style.

Big Brew is our next meeting and will be held at James and Joan’s on 2 May. You may arrive as early as 8:00 am. Our official toast with picture will be at 1:00 pm and the meeting will follow. Currently we have 6 members planning to brew. This is a case where “more is better” as we are registered on the official site and will report number of brewers and amount of beer brewed at the end of the event. I plan to have “Big Willie” on site.

Future meeting sites: June: (date TBD) at Chris and Fran’s

July 11th at Harry’s

August: (date TBD) at Doug’s–he will also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

September: Bryan S.

October: Jeff

Bryan S. has not heard back from the organizers of the Floyd Fandango. This event is on July 4th and 5th. Chris and Fran are planning to have a booth at the event and we may see if we can join them to promote home brewing and the SCBG on one of the days.

After the meeting we were treated to a tour of Roanoke Railhouse Brewery conducted by the president, Steve Davidson. Their website www.roanokerailhouse.com gives a history of how they got started, talks about their beer and lists the locations in Roanoke and Salem where Track 1 is available.

After the tour and sampling, Bryan S. gave a presentation on the Saison style which is the competition beer for June. The BJCP Style Guideline that will be used for this competition is 16C–Saison. The presentation was followed by the tasting of 6 commercial beers. (Thanks to Tad S. for doing the shopping for them.)


May 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Friday, 08 May 2009

Twenty-four members and 3 guests enjoyed a warm day and the delightful hospitality of James and Joan to celebrate Big Brew on Saturday, 2 May.  The day began early with Bryan S. being the first to arrive and begin to brew at 8:15.  It was a full day of brewing with 8 members producing 52 gallons of beer.  Our 1:00 assembly to pose for a group picture and to toast Jimmy Carter and fellow brewers was followed by a short meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting we had 53 club members and $794.73.   

Discussion of Floyd Fandango/Wine Event on 4 & 5 July.  Stay tuned for more information on this event.  I’ve made a recent contact with the event organizer but now have a bunch more questions.   

SCBG Brochure.  Kevin is rounding the corner and nearing completion on this project.

There has been a suggestion to do a Brewer’s Round Table.  This would be a way for brewers to get feed-back on non-competition beers and judges to hone their skills.  After a discussion, each judge would evaluate the beers by completing the BJCP sheets individually but no prizes would be awarded.  This would also be a way for novice judges to gain more experience.  If there is interest in this, we could do it at the October or November meeting as no commercial samples will be presented for the Imperial Anything competition category.

Just a reminder – Oatmeal Stout is the 3rd Qtr Competition and Imperial Anything is for the 4th Qtr.

A volunteer is needed to do the presentation of Oatmeal Stout at the July meeting.

Future meeting sites:

June 20th at 3:00 at Chris and Fran’s–Saison Competition

July 11th at Harry’s–Presentation of Oatmeal Stout

August:  (date TBD) at Doug’s–he will also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

September:  Bryan S.–Oatmeal Stout Competition

October:  Jeff


December:  Imperial Anything Competition

Big Willie was in attendance however could not be used for the lack of a regulator.  Ross

suggested that the Club buy a regulator and a CO2 tank for Big Willie.  Patrick has the CO2 tank for Big Willie that Chuck had donated and Will is going to purchase a regulator from Jeff with Club funds.

After the meeting Joan served sliders to go along with the “pitch-in” items brought by other members.  By mid-afternoon, talk turned to the Kentucky Derby and the horses getting to race.  By about 6 o’clock brewing had been completed and we settled into the basement to watch the exciting race.  We each had our own horse to cheer for and we became rather loud as we encouraged “our horse” on as the predicted favorites lagged behind and an unexpected winner crossed the line.   Joan was thrilled when her horse came in first.  Lynn and Eric were also pleased as their horses placed second and third.

Following the race excitement, Joan treated us to her Meatball and Pepperoni Spaghetti which won rave reviews from all.


June 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Twenty-three members of SCBG gathered at the mountain home of Chris and Fran A. on Saturday for the June competition meeting.  Thanks to Chris and Fran for opening their home to the club and giving us temps a few degrees cooler than in the “lowlands.” 

The current membership stands at 53 with $794 in the treasury.

It did not work out for us to demonstrate brewing or to give out samples at the Floyd Fandango.  However, on 4 July we will share Chris & Fran’s booth to promote the craft of home brewing.  Individuals may also sign up to pour beer for the event.   If you volunteer, you get free admission to the event, a free glass and a couple of pogs for samples.  When you are not pouring beer, please help man the booth to hand out the SCBG brochure and answer questions about SCBG.     

Your president was contacted by Cheryl Roberts from the Microfestivus committee to discuss the possibility of SCBG being involved with Microfestivus again this year.  A vote was taken at the meeting with the majority wanting SCBG to be involved.  Currently the thought is to do basically the same thing we are doing at the Fandango (sharing space with Chris & Fran to promote home brewing and SCBG and volunteering to pour beer).  The organizers of Microfestivus are seeking non-profit groups to volunteer in exchange for a monetary contribution to the club.  If we get enough volunteers we can get some money to help off-set some of our unexpected expenses.  Microfestivus is on August 8th.

Kevin showed his most recent copy of the brochure.  Nice job!!  Carrie has agreed to look into getting it printed after the final changes are made. Questions came up about whether there are dedicated email addresses for the club officers through the starcity website.  Also questions about putting current officers’ names on the brochure thus dating the document and about putting the full names of individuals on it.

During a discussion of doing a brewer’s roundtable where individuals could get feedback oninon-competition beers and gain experience judging in a non-competitive atmosphere, the idea of having a BJCP judge instructor came up.  Paul said he will check with Patrick (Pat knows the judge best) with an aim to do something at the November meeting.   

Future meeting sites:

July 11th at Harry’s:  Presentation of Oatmeal Stout by John M.

August:  (date TBD but not Aug 8th) at Doug’s–he will also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

September:  Bryan & Jenny S.–Oatmeal Stout Competition

October:  Jeff & Cindy F. (Need a Tech Talk Presenter)

November:  Justin & Carrie C.  (Voting on Competition Styles for 2010) (Brewers Roundtable or Guest Presentation)

December:  Imperial Anything Competition (Voting for Officers for 2010)

Your president presented Chris & Fran (owners and operators of Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Home Brewing store) a certificate of appreciation for sponsoring quarterly prizes and providing a cooperative spirit in working with the SCBG in its promotion of the craft of creating quality home brewed beer.

After a reminder about the importance of hydrating with H2O and more food sampling, the Saison competition began.  Thanks to judges Bryan, Larry, Eric, Ron, Chris, Kevin, Paul, Justin, John, James, Carrie and Doug.  Thanks also to Joan, Cindy and Ginger for helping Kathy steward the competition.  Results of the competition are….3rd place to Chris M.; 2nd place to Bryan S.; and 1st place to Kevin C.  Congratulations to the trophy winners!!  Congratulations also to James B. who won the competitors raffle prize, a gift certificate to BRHP provided by Chris & Fran A.


July 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Harry, Lynn and Brittany welcomed twenty-eight members of SCBG and a bevy of guests to their home on Saturday, July 11th for the monthly meeting of SCBG.  Thanks to our host and hostesses for great hospitality and the delightful piano serenades from Harry and daughter, Brittany.

Our treasurer Will reported that we still have 53 paid members and a current total of $630 in the bank.

Thanks to Kevin for putting together the brochure and to Carrie for getting it published in time for the Fandango and getting some free extras to go along with it.  In addition to the brochure, we also got business cards and postcards picturing the hop vine which grows in Carrie & Justin’s yard.  They all look great and are a great assist in promoting the club.

Twelve members of SCBG poured beer at the Floyd Fandango on July 4th in cooler than normal weather.  While not pouring beer, members helped Chris & Fran at the Blue Ridge Hydroponics table to promote the craft of home brewing.  Conclusions from the attendees include:  a five hour shift is very long; pouring beer for a brewer who is present at the event is easier than pouring for a distributor who is not; having some beers priced a $4 and some at $5 was confusing; many people stopped by the table to talk about home brewing in the morning but it tapered off later in the afternoon/evening.  

Members of the club were approached by people at the Fandango and elsewhere trying to organize microbrew events in Catawba, Bedford &Danville later this summer.   They were apparently seeking our assistance in contacting brewers and perhaps getting us further involved but the conclusion at this meeting is that they are too far behind the power curve to do anything this year and we will concentrate on the events we are already committed to for this year.

The volunteer sign-up sheet for Microfestivus in Roanoke‘s Elmwood Park on August 8th will be on the web in the near future.  SCBG was offered early access so you can access the automated spreadsheet from the link on the email sent to the SCBG membership.   Be sure to confirm your slot in the follow-up email they send you.  We (SCBG) will try to attach ourselves to BRHP again to promote the club and home brewing.  I’ll be sending out a separate sign-up email to help structure who is able to man our SCBG station during the event.  (Being a Microfestivus volunteer is not a requirement to man the SCBG station.)

Carrie had idea to award a tee shirt to the BOTY winner in December.  This could be done a fairly small cost but would need to be done in advance.  One design idea that came up was of a beer glass with the silhouette of the mountains in the background that had been used at Microfestivus in the past.  Does anyone have that file? Are there any other ideas for a design?  Does anyone want to create one? 

Teach a Friend to Home Brew Day date is November 7th which is the first Saturday in November this year.  This will again be held in the BRHP parking lot.   Will and Harry have volunteered to co-chair with Fran for this event. 

John M. reminded members that the meeting focus is/should be on improving our craft, sampling and being responsible. 

Future Meeting Sites and discussion

August 15th at Doug’s–he will also do a Tech Talk on “Specific Gravity and Instruments to Measure It”

September 19th at Bryan & Jenny S.–Oatmeal Stout Competition

October:  Jeff & Cindy F. to host.  Bryan S. will do “An Imperial Anything” commercial sampling.

November: Carrie & Justin to host.  Chris M. will do the Tech Talk.

December:  Will & Jen to host Imperial Anything Competition

From the Floor:

Shooting Creek Brewery will do private tours with ample notice.   Devil’s Backbone Brewery would also welcome us for a tour.  BlueMountain Brewery is just down the road from them.  Is there interest in doing a group tour?

James stated he is willing to be a “stand-by” host should others encounter unforeseen conflicts.

After a break to stretch and enjoy some more to the fabulous food offered, John M. gave the commercial Oatmeal Stout Presentation.  Tasting samples included Wolaver’s, Samuel Smith’s, St. Ambrose/McAuslan’s and Boonville’s with a special addition of a vintage oatmeal stout donated by Will L. from his private stash of commercial brews.



August 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Thursday, 20 August 2009
About 24 Star City Brewers Guild members gathered at Doug and Kel’s on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon for the August meeting.  We also welcomed two guests to our gathering.  Buren, one of Doug’s neighbors, joined us, as did Thom who has brewed quite a few brews, but it has been a while.  VP Chris lead the meeting in the absence of President John who was unable to attend.
Treasurer Will reported total paid membership at 53 members and we currently have about $650 in the bank. Several people had good reports about Microfestivus.  There was plenty of beer, but some had no relief at the end of the later volunteer shifts.  There was some discussion about a donation to the club for volunteering, but nobody knew anything specific.  Was that something associated with Microfestivus or could it have been another opportunity? Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day is November 7th and will be held at Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Homebrew Supply on Williamson Road.  We received tentative commitments from 3-4 brewers who would represent extract, partial mash, and all grain batches.  An update on the ABC license from Chris and Fran would be appreciated.  We should get more business cards and make sure we have plenty brochures on hand.  There was some discussion of give away items that we should further discuss with Chris and Fran.  Someone suggested an ingredient kit or starter kit that may generate additional business for them.  Ross reminded us that the club will strive to encourage a healthy interest in the history and culture of craftbrewing through lectures, demonstrations, educational activities, and competitions.  This should be our main focus at the event and not necessarily to increase membership.  Although the two compliment each other.     BOTY T idea was deferred until next month since nobody brought any sample graphics.  Keep looking and bring anything interesting for the group to consider. Blacksburg Brew Do is a first year festival in Blacksburg on October 24th that will include a home brew competition.  The club expressed an interest in some participation particularly the homebrew competition.  Some members have contacted the organizer, but they were not present.  We should have further discussion and hopefully more information will be available at our next meeting. http://nrvnews.com/Blacksburg/10/24-Blacksburg-Brew-Do.html http://www.firstandmainblacksburg.com/events/index.aspx A discussion of road trips was held and there was some interest in Bull & Bones, The River Company, and Shooting Creek.  Although of interest, there was less discussion of a Devil’s Backbone and Blue Mountain trip.  Possibly the most interest was in a trip to Bramwell on October 10th.  If anyone has connections that may get us a reduced rate for a van, it would be helpful and more folks may be interested.  It was suggested that we continue the discussion through e-mail. Future meeting sites and discussion: September:    Bryan & Jenny – 19th – Oatmeal Stout competitionOctober:        Jeff & Cindy agreed to change the date to the 17th to avoid conflicts with Bramwell and Brew Do – Imperial tasting (Bryan S.)November:    Carrie & Justin – 21st – (Chris to present info on Siebel Sensory kit and AHA Flavorist for club decision)December:    Will & Jen – TBA – Imperial anything competition After a break, Doug and Jeff provided an informative presentation on specific gravity and instruments to measure it.  Specific gravity is usually defined as the ratio of the density of a given solid or liquid substance to the density of a reference substance, nearly always water, at specified temperatures and pressure.  http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/density-specific-weight-gravity-d_290.html  Using calibrated samples made from sucrose (table sugar), they demonstrated the use of a hydrometer, a hydrometer with an expanded scale for easy reading, a refractometer, and a digital refractometer.  Although there were slight variations, the instruments were very close.  What became very clear was that, despite claims of ATC (automatic temperature compensation), samples should be brought to the calibration temperature for the best accuracy. Many of us toured Doug’s hop yard and found one plant in particular that had some very nice size cones.  The Cascade variety rhizomes were transplanted within the last year from a well established plant.  Most members would agree that a big highlight of the evening was earlier when Doug popped the top off of his “Beers wot I drunk” #1000, Westvleteren 12 and shared it with us.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/shyzaboy/3826715020/ http://www.sintsixtus.be/eng/brouwerij.htm  What an explosion of flavors!  This beer had flavors that ranged from chocolate, plum, raisin, toffee, etc.  With each sip many of us discovered more complex flavors.  What a treat!  Thanks for sharing, Doug! 



September Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Sunday, 20 September 2009

A small but spirited group of seventeen members and one guest (Chris D.) assembled at the home of Bryan and Jenny S. for the September meeting and Oatmeal Stout competition. Welcome to new member Thomas B. and thanks to our host and hostess for welcoming the group to their home.

Will reported that we have 54 members and a bank balance of $558.73.

If you want to have the SCBG logo embroidered on an item of clothing, Will has offered to collect items at the October meeting. Each item will cost around $6.

Teach a Friend to Home Brew is Saturday, November 7th. Ads have been placed with The Roanoke Times and City Magazine. The ABC license has been filled out and mailed in. Jeff F., Chris M. and Bryan S. have volunteered to demonstrate the brewing process. Even if you are unable to attend we would still like you to provide some homebrew for sampling. Fran is thinking about doing some food/beer pairings so in the near future Will will be sending an email asking you what beer you are planning to bring.Two ideas for designing a T-shirt for the BOTY winner were put brought to the floor. Chuck G. offered to contact a friend who is a graphic artist. He will see if his friend is willing to put something together for the cost of a bit of beer but no dollars. Harry suggested the idea of the SCBG logo with “BOTY 2009” embroidered under it.

Blacksburg Brew Do is Saturday, 24 October from noon to 6:00 pm. Guidelines and forms for the homebrew competition have been posted at www.blacksburgbrewdo.com. Will is getting a convoy together to go down on Sunday the 11th for dinner at Bull n Bones and to drop off bottles for the competition. Preliminary plan is to arrive in Blacksburg around 5 pm. If you want to enter beers into the competition he will take them down for you. He will be sending out an email with details later.

Bramwell Oktoberfest is 10 October from 2-8pm. Visit their website at www.bramwelloktoberfest.com/ for more information. They also have a homebrew contest. A laid back relaxing event that has captured a handful of SCBG members who regularly attend.

October’s meeting will include a general discussion on possible 2010 competition styles. Between October’s meeting and the November meeting each member will submit their 4 choices. All of the written choices will be summarized and the members will then vote from the total list at the November meeting. The top 4 choices will be the competition styles, and the members will then vote to determine which quarter to feature each choice.

Future Meeting Sites:

October Meeting Date is the 17th at 4:00 at Jeff and Cindy F. (Imperial Tasting – Bryan)

November: Date is the 21st. Carrie & Justin (Chris to present info on Siebel Sensory Kitversus AHA Flavorist for club decision)

December: Will. Imperial Anything Competition

January. Open

After a short break, judging for the Oatmeal Stout competition began. Nine beers were entered for competition with the following results: 1st place to Beth D., 2nd place to James B. and 3rd place to Will L. Congratulations also to Kevin who won the competitors raffle prize, a gift certificate to BRHP provided by Chris & Fran A.



October Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Sunday, 18 October 2009

It was cold outside but the ample array of delicious food, tasty beer and generous hospitality of our hosts kept 20 SCBG members and three guests warm for the 17 October meeting. Thanks again to Jeff and Cindy F. for hosting and an extra thanks for Jeff for roasting coffee beans and treating us to the delicious results.

Treasurer Will L. reported current paid membership at 53 with a bank balance of $494.92.

Teach a Friend to Home Brew Day is November 7th.? Fran reports they have approval on the ABC license. Will and Harry report that ads are in City Magazine and The Roanoke Times. For the beer and food pairing, Will is asking for people to donate 12 bottles of the same homebrew. If you are willing, call or email Will so Fran can pick a food item to pair the beer with. Don’t worry if you only have a mish mash of beers in inventory, bring them. And if you are not available to be there, please arrange to have someone else bring them. Bryan S, Chris M., Will L., and possibly Jeff F. will be doing the brewing demonstrations. From those in attendance it seemed we had about 10 volunteers. We still need more of you. The public event is from 11 to 4 so even if you could only help a few hours that would be fine. Reminders: Club tables – James. Bryan will bring the club tent. This needs to be up by 10:30. Big Willie (Doug please arrange to get it to the site) will be present but will still need to have someone make sure it is ready to accept kegs on the event day.) Be ready for more e-mails as this date gets closer.

Chuck G. was able to enlist a graphic artist to do the design for the BOTY tee shirt.? Thanks Chuck. Payment will be one case of homebrew.? If you would like to donate a couple of bottles to the cause please bring them to TAFTHB or the next meeting and I will collect.? It would be nice if you could put the style of beer and your name on a piece of paper secured with a rubber band around the bottle – that way he will have some idea what kind of beer he is about to open.

Chuck rewired the email address on the website so anyone using the ‘General Questions – Guild Mailbox’ form from the website will have his email sent to all of us via the googlegroups email list.?I suggest that only the Vice President respond to questions on membership. Anyone can respond to the other emails like equipment for sale or questions about brewing.

Selecting beers for the 2010 BOTY Competions.? Between now and the November meeting each member may submit their 4 choices for the 2010 competition styles.? Some of you have been out front of me on this one and I have saved all the ones already emailed so no need to email again unless you want to make sure your vote is counted or you have a change. All of the written choices I receive will be summarized and the members will then vote from the total list at the November meeting. The top 4 choices will be the competition styles and members will then vote to determine which quarter to feature each choice.? Below are the competition beers for previous years.

Past Beer in SCBG BOTY Competitions

2009-American brown, saison, oatmeal stout, imperial anything
2008-dunkleweizen, esb, specialty beer, and robust porter
2007-bohemian/czech pils, apa, american IPA, sweet stout
2006-dry stout, american amber, dubbel, scottish 80 shilling
2005-munich helles, IIPA, oktoberfest/marzen, and mead
2004-CAP, fruit beer, brown ale, bock
2003-apa, hefeweizen, IPA, Imperial stout

The report on the Bramwell Octoberfest was that it was a good event with good weather. The homebrew competition went a bit smoother this year as there were two tables of judges working. Our own Bryan S. won 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the general beer category and took 2nd and 3rd prizes in the specialty category. Way to go, Bryan!!

The Blacksburg Brew Do is Saturday, October 24, 2009, from noon to 6:00 pm.? Online tickets are cheaper than those purchased the day of the event. Will L. reported that they are expecting a BIG crowd and suggested that one would benefit from going earlier rather than later in the day. There are 55 homebrew entries for the competition with entries from 5 SCBG members.

If you want a shirt with a SCBG logo on it, get it to Will L. PDQ.? He plans on making another run to the shirt shop and will turn them in for you.

John M. announced he will be stepping down as SCBG President due to other commitments in 2010. Nominations for 2010 will be held at the November meeting. Prospective officers may nominate him/her self or may be nominated by a member.

After a very short break, Bryan S. led the Everything Imperial tasting of no fewer than 10 beers.

Future Meeting Sites:

November: Date is the 21st. Carrie & Justin (Chris to present info onSiebel Sensory Kit versus AHA Flavorist for club decision)

December 19th:?Will & Jen L.  Imperial Anything Competition


February: (This will likely be the Tech Talk on Off-Flavors)



November 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Monday, 23 November 2009

Thanks to Carrie and Justin C. for hosting the twenty-six members of SCBG assembled for the?November meeting. Thanks also to everyone responsible for the vast array of food and drink. No one should have gone home hungry or thirsty.

Our treasurer Will L. reported that we have $647.77 in the account and had 53 paid members for the year. He has begun taking dues for next year so bring your money to the next meeting. Dues are $15 for an individual and $20 for a family.

We could not have had better weather for Teach a Friend to Home Brew Day.??We had a pretty good turnout and an excellent selection of beers to sample. We gained a couple of new members and have contact information for a few potential ones. Thanks to Will, Harry and Fran for shouldering the co-chair responsibilities and to all who showed up to brew, set-up for the day, drop off and/or serve beer samples and food, clean it all up and haul it away at the end of the day. It was in Will’s words “a great day.”

The BOTY tee shirt has been received and will be presented to the winner in December. Thanks to all who contributed beer for the “payment” to the designer.

The Blacksburg Brew Do was judged by the members who attended to be a “Jolly Good, well-organized” event and something to look forward to next year. There were 13-15 local brewers pouring samples and while there was a good crowd, it was still comfortable and it did not take too long to get a beer.

Special Meeting 27 Dec. 3:00 hosted by John and Kathy M.:  David Houseman (a member of the AHA Governing Committee) plans to visit Roanoke over the holidays and is available to meet with us.? This will not be a “meeting” per se but a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with the hightest rated BJCP judge in the country.

“Imperial Anything” Clarification: The style sheet from the #23 Specialty Beer category of the BJCP Style Guidelines will be used for all the beers. The brewer will need to identify the base beer for his imperial beer submission.Three people were nominated for the SCBG President’s position for 2010. They are Will L, Chris McD and Kevin C.? The election will take place at December’s meeting. The individual with the most votes will be president and the next highest vote getter will be vice-president. The president will select the treasurer. Absentee votes may be sent to the current president anytime prior to the December meeting.

The results of the competition style selection and the month are as follows: Cream Ale (6A)–March; Irish Red (9D)–June; American Pale Ale (10A)–September; and Russian Imperial Stout (13F)–December. FYI, the almost-but-not-quite honors went to Oktoberfest, Schwarzbier, and Weizen.

Chris M. gave good reviews on food and beer from both Bull and Bones in Blacksburg and the River Brewing Company in Radford.

Ross A. mentioned that Mike from The River Brewing Company in Radford indicated a willingness to host us for a tour and tasting. This might pair well with a trip to Shooting Creek in Floyd. Ross will keep this on the radar until after the winter months and when driving conditions are more favorable.

Chris M. presented information on Siebel Sensory Kit versus AHA Flavorist to help in the club’s decision to make a purchase. After his presentation and discussion from the floor, present members voted to purchase the Siebel kit because of its ability to isolate flavors. Will L. will make the purchase.

Future Meeting Sites and discussion:

19 December at 3:00. ?Will L.?? (Imperial Anything Competition)

January:?? We might have hosts for this. (Bryan S or Doug M. or ?)?(Cream ale style presentation and commercial sampling of Cream Ales.)

February: Chris M. (This will likely be the Tech Talk on Off-Flavors)

March: John M. (Cream Ale Competition)



December 2009 Meeting Notes
Written by John Merkwan
Sunday, 03 January 2010
Click to see full size

Although the snow in December kept the SCBG from meeting on the originally designated date, the cold of a January night did not faze the thirty-one members who attended the “December in January” make-up meeting at the home of Will and Jen L. Thanks to our host and hostess for welcoming the group for the last meeting of the year for the third year in a row.

Will L. reported ending membership at 53 members and a bank balance of $454.69. The president reminded everyone that it is time to pay 2010 dues.  Dues are $15 for an individual and $20 for a family.

Road Trips/Fests: John M. mentioned he had been in Baltimore over Thanksgiving and explored a couple of beer bars. Pratt’s Ale House is a brewpub directly across from the Convention Center so it has a touristy feel although they do make some good English style beers. The second place was Max’s Taphouse in the Fells Point area. This is a super beer bar with 80 quality beers on tap. It was also mentioned by Doug that Brewer’s Art is also a good place.

American Homebrewers Conference: June 17-19 at the Sheraton Minneapolis South. You can go to the AHA website for more info.

David Houseman – AHA Board of Governors, Grand Master BJCP Judge, Competition Director, Co-Author of BJCP Study Guide and more attended a Special Meeting of SCBG members on December 27th. He gave a discussion on how to judge a beer followed by a practical exercise on a dozen beers supplied by SCBG Members.

Future Meeting Sites and discussion:

January 23: Harry(CyberDave will present the commercial tasting and brewing tips for Cream Ale. Bryan S. will act as back-up in case the gov’ner has other plans for Dave.)

February: Chris M. (Doug will present the Tech Talk on six Off-Flavors from our brand new Seibel Sensory Kit)

March: John M. (Cream Ale Competition)

April: Chuck G.

May: James B (Big Brew)

June: Beth D. (At the Lake)

July and August: John S. and Doug M. will decide who hosts which month when we get closer to the date.

Will L, Chris McD and Kevin C. were the nominees for the 2010 president position.? Ballots were counted by Pat K. and John M. At the end of the evening, it was announced that Will L. was elected president and Chris M. will act as vice-president.

Bryan S. led interested parties in a beer gift swap. Because one could “steal” another person’s beer, there was some good humored wrangling before all gifts were claimed.

Fourteen beers were presented for the Imperial Anything competition. The beers were judged under the “Specialty Beer” criteria. Each brewer needed to identify the base beer of the submission and could provide a comment on what made the beer “imperial.” At the end of the evening, trophies were awarded to the following: 3rd place to Bryan S., 2nd place to Beth D. and 1st place to Carrie & Justin C. Congratulations to the winners and thanks all the judges and to Beth, James and Joan for helping Kathy with stewarding duties.

With the judging completed, the total scores for each brewer were tallied and Bryan S. was named the Brewer of the Year. He was presented with a tee shirt specially made for the occasion and at a later meeting he will receive the plaque with his name engraved on it for the third time.  Chuck will post the final standings on the SCBG Web site.

All brewers who submitted a beer for competition were eligible for the drawing of a gift certificate to the Blue Ridge Hydroponics and Home Brew Supply Store. Will L. was the winner of the certificate. Many thanks to BRH owners Chris and Fran A. for providing prizes this year.