This past week I had the opportunity to attend my second ever Winnipeg Brew Bombers meeting. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the home brewing club, the Winnipeg Brew Bombers have been around for quite some time. Each year they average close to fifty members who have various levels of home brewing experience. I decided to ask a few questions of their president, Rob Mieth, and do a write up on this really cool club.
The meetings of the club take place on the second Tuesday of every month and rotate between being hosted at Half Pints or Fort Garry. The two meetings that I’ve had the fortune of attending have both been at Half Pints.
While having no official mission statement, the goal the Winnipeg Brew Bombers main goal is to make each one of its members a better brewer and to create more awareness about good craft beer. One of the ways this is done is through sharing of knowledge, tasting of homebrew from members and providing feedback, and talking about craft beer and brewing in general.
My first meeting which I attended back in November, I had the opportunity to learn from some of these homebrewers. The conversation at the meeting was all about answering questions members had about a variety of brewing topics. Some of these were surrounding water chemistry, yeast strains, adjuncts, mashing techniques, basically anything members could think of. The more experienced home brewers stepped up and answered the questions. David Rudge, president and head brewer of Half Pints, was also on hand to add his two cents to the answers. This was a great opportunity to learn from those who have the experience and I found a great deal of value in it.
What was really exciting about this meeting was the announced competition. Each year there are typically 1-2 internal competitions held between the brew bomber members as a way of getting some feedback on a particular style of beer or giving people the opportunity to learn about brewing. The competition announced in November was the “Supermarket Sweep”.
The competition had two main goals:
- Brew with someone you’ve never brewed with before
- Get ingredients from a non-traditional grocery store and brew with them
It was a great opportunity for me to learn how to brew from a very good and experienced brewery, Mister Jeremy Koop, and to go through the process of creating a recipe and buying some non-traditional brewing ingredients and trying to find a way to make a beer that tastes good.
This competition, getting people to brew with new people and try new things, is one of the most important parts of the brew bombers for Rob: “The friendship and networking aspect of being involved with a group of people who share the same passion for good beer.” For me, brewing with Jeremy was an opportunity to not only make a new friend but also learn from his experience and build my own personal knowledge for brewing.
So that brings us back full circle to the second meeting I attended. This was the one where we all got to share our different beers and see who’s turned out the best. There was a huge number of people participating, it was actually very impressive. I’d say about 16 teams of two which makes up the better part of 3/5ths of the entire club. There were a
ton of different styles of beers ranging from IPA, Saison, Stout, Winter Warmer, and Lagers. Each team was required to give a presentation about their beer and this brought out some pretty funny presentations. The atmosphere of the meeting was incredibly friendly. Great comradery, friendship, and a lot of laughs. There were some really good beers that came out of this competition including the winner, a Winter Warmer made with Manitoban wild rice.
For me, this club provides a unique opportunity to meet with people who are passionate about beer and who work very hard at brewing for the sake of brewing. There are people of all ages and levels of experience and it’s a great way for a brand new brewer to learn and grow and become better.
For those interested in joining, Rob has a message: “We’d love to have you!”