2015 was an amazing year for Brew Haven. We made great strides toward growing in size, legitimizing and protecting the club by becoming a sanctioned club with the AHA, establishing a set of ByLaws, establishing various structures in the club to invite participation in club leadership and steering by all members, filing necessary paperwork to provide the club with protections against liability, but most of all, pushing our boundaries and making some really, really good beer.
I think back to our meetings no more than a year ago. We were half the size that we are now in a space (Three Sheets) that, as awesome as it was, wasn’t conducive to what we were looking to do. We had maybe 10 or so samples at meetings and I would have to say that 20-25% of the beers that we shared at meetings were flawed or off in some way.
Today, we are 25+ at most meetings. We have so many samples coming to meetings that we had to restructure how we go about it so that we’re not stumbling out of the Outer Space inebriated. The samples that do come to meetings are fantastic. I think that we have at least 3-4 samples that come to each meeting that could easily stand up next to any of the craft whales that are out there. On the other side of the coin, we don’t see as many flawed beers coming in. And when they do, we usually have a very good discussion of what we’re tasting and what we could do differently.
In terms of events, we had a jam-packed year with everything from brewery tours to participation at local and statewide beer events. We had tours of New England Brewing Co, Overshores Brewing, and Black Hog Brewing (again). We were the highlight of the Brew on 9 event in New Haven in May. Thank to Joe Belletti, Brew Haven reigned supreme at what seems like countless events in the Valley from Freedom Fest to Smoke in the Valley, etc. We hosted a great Learn to Homebrew Day here at the Outer Space in November and held a widely attended and (mostly) well run IPA competition in the summer.
I think that the best thing that comes from this club is community. When I spoke to Ben and Andy about getting this off the ground, all I wanted was a couple folks to brew with and drink beer. Well, I got that in spades. Thanks friends.
We look forward to more of the same and more participation from membership to continue to push our boundaries, come up with new, fun ideas on what we can do as a club.