Searching for the line between "hobby" and "obsession"

Summit Unchained #6 and the SPHBC

I attended my first St. Paul Hombrewers Club (SPHBC) meeting at the Happy Gnome earlier this month. This is a very large club in comparison to the Nordeast Homebrewers Alliance (NBA), with about 40 or so members showing up for the meeting and another 40 to 50 absent.

Lots of “personalities” at this thing. Pretty crazy… though I met a few cool people, enough at least to check it out again next month. I did appreciate the fact that they had some concrete activities planned. We sampled two highly rated exemplars in the German Pilsner style and discussed how well they fit into the BJCP guidelines. I didn’t recognize the two we sampled, as admittedly I’m not a huge fan of Pilsner nor am I a German beer aficionado (though that may change after I visit Munich a few months from now!), so I can’t tell you what we tried, unfortunately.

Photo courtesy of BrewingTV

The second part of the meeting was occupied by guest speaker and brewer at Summit, Damian McConn. His visit to the meeting was in clear promotion of the new Summit Unchained Series #6 beer that he designed, Gold Sovereign Ale. It’s a smart PR move for Summit to have him come to speak with a large, concentrated group of local beer geeks to build momentum for the release of his beer the following week.

A quick note on Summit’s Unchained Series: this is an opportunity for each of their brewers (I think they have seven brewers) a chance to make a beer of their own design on a small scale for limited local tap and bottle release. I very much enjoyed the other two unchained series beers I’ve tried, the #3 Rye Ale and the #5 pumpkin porter. Here’s the series (through #5) discussed in detail on A Perfect Pint and Damien’s #6 discussed on MNBeer. He spoke to us about the specialty floor-malt he sourced as a major part of the malt bill, brought some hops he employed in the recipe for us to huff and talked about his in-line yeast pitching method. BrewingTV has interviewed Damian about Golden Sovereign and plans to feature him in a webisode in the weeks to come.

As far as the SPHBC goes, they seem to be pretty active in competition and since it’s one of my goals this year to send some of my beer to compete (just now starting to set aside a few bottles of each batch for competition), I’m excited about what SPHBC has to offer me. The 10% off all my purchases at local homebrew shops I receive as a membership perk doesn’t hurt either. Pretty sure the $20 yearly membership fee has already paid for itself.


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