In Praise of Home Brew Clubs
If you've ever considered being in a home brew club but thought, to paraphrase Groucho Marx, that you didn't want to belong to any club that would accept people like yourself, may I humbly suggest that you reconsider.
Years ago, when I was deciding whether or not to join my local home brew club, I hesitated. Did I really want to be in a club? I'm a bit of a contrarian so I thought, do I really want to be hanging around with a bunch of fellow beer geeks? I mean, what's the point? Also, I worried that I hadn't the time. I wondered, too, whether I'd share interests with these people, other than beer and brewing, that is. Would they only talk about – geek-out – beer or might we have other things we can discuss?
I shouldn't have been concerned. The home brew community is rich and rewarding. This fact was reconfirmed to me following three recent encounters with the club. Thus, I feel obligated to write about the wonderful community that a home brew club can provide.
First, and most painfully, a couple who are club members recently suffered an unimaginably awful personal tragedy. In response, the club flew into motion and immediately set up a website to collect funds to help the grieving couple with any costs they were going to incur and, perhaps more importantly, to demonstrate that they were not alone in dealing with the agony of their loss.
At the next regular meeting of the club I was struck by the positivity generated merely by getting together as a group. The gathering was productive, we took care of some club business. It was informative, we learned about a local brewery, and it was also joyous, we shared a commonality that enriched us all. Once we were done discussing beer and brewing, and while we were still enjoying some beers, the conversation wended its way from music to teaching to parenting to local politics to just plain silliness.
It was a positive outlet for us all.
Then, a few weeks later, one of our founding members had emergency quadruple bypass heart surgery. QUADRUPLE! And who rallied to his aid in his time of need? Club members. One member ferried him to and from the hospital, basically rescuing him from the throes of heart attack. During his hospitalization, others looked in on his elderly father, and finally, many gathered at a local watering hole to celebrate his discharge from the hospital and his return to, well, beer drinking.
All three of these events served to remind me that though we may brew it alone, through home brew clubs, beer can bring us together. Beer is about community. At its best, it brings folks closer. It causes us to pause; to slow down and appreciate the finer things in life like family, friends, fine food and drink and … fellow home brew club members.
So if you're on the fence about joining your local home brew club, take the leap and join today. You never know where it may lead you. And it may even save your life.
Though you probably shouldn't join for that reason.Last modified on