10 July 2017

Inside a Canberra Brewers Meeting - learning more about beer!

| Elias Hallaj
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Scottish, Irish and dark English ales. Photo: Canberra Brewers Facebook

A few months ago we looked at the best place to learn about homebrewing beer in Canberra. Let’s assume you got started, but you want to compare notes with other home brewers, try a few of their beers, learn from (and avoid) their mistakes, find out if their partners have also banished their home brew kit from the kitchen or lounge room, etc. Where do you turn? Well obviously, you need to attend a meeting of Canberra Brewers!

Canberra Brewers brings together a like-minded group of brewers on the quest for brewing better beer. Through education sessions, social events, competitions and monthly meetings we look to share knowledge and ideas with brewers at all levels – from those starting out with kit and kilo through to brewers brewing on all-grain three vessel systems. Regular attendees include people who own, manage and work at most of Canberra’s breweries, craft pubs and their regular customers!

Canberra Brewers meet on the first Thursday of every month from February through December at the German Harmonie Club, 49 Jerrabomberra Ave, Narrabundah. Proceedings start from 7.30 pm with a regular education session, but please arrive a bit early to grab a drink and take the opportunity to meet your fellow brewers. Please bring along your brew for feedback or just to share with the club.

New members are encouraged to come along to the first meeting for free – to make sure you are comfortable and keen to become a member of the club. Expect to meet people who want to share their beers (and meads – see below) with you and get your opinion and feedback about them.

Club Membership is $40 per year, which provides:

  • access to the Canberra Brewers forum and wiki
  • opportunity to participate in bulk buys of grain, yeast and other brewing equipment
  • access to discounts with local retailers
  • invitations to brew days with professional brewers
  • access to club competitions

Oh, did I mention that a friendly club member would probably offer you some fried food at the meeting as well?

And … did I mention they had kegs, with taps, of delicious homebrewed beer that you could sample?

If you’d like more information about joining Canberra Brewers, please feel free to contact the President or come along to the next meeting.

On Thursday night I attended my third Canberra Brewers meeting at the German Harmonie Club in Narrabundah. Every time I’ve attended one of these meetings I’ve learned something new about beer that has helped me become a better homebrewer. The education session was on “triangular beer testing”. Have you ever wondered what your beer would taste like if you changed just one variable? In this month’s education session, Paul Main took us through a triangle test to see if we could notice the single variable (a different yeast, in otherwise identical beers) and find out which one you prefer. Think Brülosophy, Canberra Brewer’s style!

The triangle test was an important reminder of something I had learnt from Colin at Brew Your Own At Home about the importance of yeast. For example, most tinned kits (the kind you buy at Woolies and Coles ) don’t actually have the ideal yeast you need for the particular style of beer they are trying to make. Yeast is critical, as is its quality (it should be refrigerated when not in use – unlike the yeast you buy at Woolies and Coles), and the temperature you ferment it at. But you didn’t start reading this to learn about yeast! So, here’s a picture of the awesome raffle from last Thursday night’s meeting. The raffle included Voyager Atlas grain, new style heat belts, fresh hops, and a lovely range of commercial beer. Tickets were only three for $5!

I asked the Canberra Brewers President Charlie to tell us a little bit about the Club…

I asked the Canberra Brewers Social Secretary Nicole about what new members can expect at a typical monthly meeting or other regular events.

So, what baffles me is why there are only 170 members?! It’s worth joining just for the awesome monthly meetings, let alone all the other activities we haven’t mentioned in detail, like the exclusive members-only brewery days, competitions with heaps of prizes, training courses, and more!

You can follow Canberra Brewers on their Facebook Page, their Twitter Page, and at their website.

Also, if you leave work at about 6 pm, a good way to spend the 90 minutes waiting for the 7.30 pm education session to start is meet a mate for a $29 Pork Knuckle dinner at the German Harmonie Club Restaurant, which is, coincidentally, called Knuckles.

BTW the German beer at the German Harmonie Club is pretty awesome too.

Hope to see you next month!

Elias Hallaj (aka CBRfoodie) is a part-time food blogger and full-time political staffer who has joined RiotACT as a regular contributor. All his opinions about brewing beer are his own. Don’t worry he is trying to cut back on drinking too much beer, but insists it’s just too damned tasty. If you have any tips or feedback or advice about beer or brewing you can add a comment below or find him most nights on Twitter @CBRfoodie.

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