Hold my beer: Brew something up at this local clubSep 30, 2019 11:34AM ● By Linda Booker
Plenty of people enjoy drinking a beer from time to time, especially around the Oktoberfest season. But how many can say they’ve made one?
Fortunately for Grand Valley beer-enthusiasts, Mesa County’s only homebrew club meets on Main Street in downtown Grand Junction.
It all started with a small group of people—mainly teachers from Bookcliff Middle School—forming a homebrew club. Now just over five years later, the Bookcliff Home Brew Club boasts 45 members. About a third of the local brewers are in the 50 and older crowd, including club vice president Darrel Landini and treasurer Wayne McMacken.
“It’s the best hobby in the world, with the best people in the world,” Landini said.
A brew for everyone
Club members range in age from early 20s to 70s, sporting a wide range of interests and brewing experience. What they all have in common is their love of the craft, the camaraderie the club provides and, of course, drinking the results of their brewing.
The term “homebrew club” probably brings to mind craft beer, but this group has expertise in brewing all kinds of fermentable beverages. Brewers will experiment with different kinds of hard ciders as well as some unique styles of ales and meads. Most of the members enjoy making two or more types of brewed beverages.
Brewing isn’t a hobby solely for men, either. In fact, the club created the Brewnettes—a ladies-only group of brewers—to encourage more women to get involved.
“The Brewnettes...was formed to create a safe space where women can meet and learn about home brewing without feeling intimidated by the male presence,” Landini explained.
Most members of the Brewnettes have eventually become members of the original homebrew club.
It’s beer time!
The Bookcliff Home Brew Club has been active since its founding, hosting regular club events in addition to its monthly meetings.
Come see how beer is made on open brew days, where anyone can come participate in brewing or simply observe the process. The club also hosts the quarterly Cup Series, a contest where brews are judged by popular vote. The next one will be held on October 2 at the Rockslide Brewery at 6:30 p.m.
Last year the club became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a focus on community education. They now offer classes to members and people in the community that include how to brew different beverages, how to recognize the sensory aspects of the beverages including the off-flavors beer class, and how to judge home brews.
As a member of the Beer Judging Certification Program (BJCP) and the American Home Brewers Association (AHA), the local club plans on offering a series of BJCP beer judging classes that would teach the science of judging beer, training participants to become an AHA certified beer competition judge. This includes judging sample tastings to determine the best beer.
In addition to regular classes and events, the homebrew club also offers a brew equipment “lending library” which beginners just learning the craft can use for their brewing.
“A card-carrying member has special benefits, including discounts with some of the liquor stores, Little Ole Winemaker, some of the breweries and High Country Gas,” McMaken said.
Beyond the financial benefits, members find a sense of belonging, community and the satisfaction of making a great homebrew.
McMaken and Landini encourage anyone who would like to learn more about the Bookcliff Home Brew Club, and brewing in general, to check out their monthly club socials held the first Wednesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Rockslide Brewery. Visit www.bookcliffhomebrewclub.com for a calendar of events.Explore the BEACON Guide.