Big Brew Day – 2015

It’s that time of year again – the AHA is once again sponsoring a Big Brew Day. We will be participating as a club by brewing at 3 Stars Brewing, who have graciously offered to sponsor us for this event. Their homebrew shop will be open, so you can pick up the ingredients for your

So You Want to Be a Beer Judge … A Study-Along Series

DC Homebrewers President  Bob Rouse judges a beer

DC Homebrewers President Bob Rouse judges a beer

If you’re enthusiastic about beer and homebrewing, becoming a certified beer judge is a valuable next step to expand your knowledge, appreciation, and brewing ability. The American Homebrewers Association’s Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) is designed to help aspiring judges develop the sensory awareness and knowledge of beer styles, history, and brewing science necessary to be effective judges (and better brewers).

Preparing for the BJCP exam requires quite of bit of study (and drinking), though. This summer, the women of H.O.P.S. (Homebrew Outreach and Participation Sisterhood, a sub-committee of DC Homebrewers) are conducting a BJCP study group. Although the group is already at capacity, we’d like to share our notes and beer lists with you so you can study along at home.

June 2014 Meeting

It seems like just a few weeks ago we had our May Meeting. Mark Nicui won the UK Beer Styles club-only competition, with Omar 2nd and Erich 3rd. Our June meeting will be on the 16th (the location has been sent via email). There is no club-only competition, but we will have a German malt

May 2014 Meeting

It’s almost time for our May meeting! Tuesday May 20th we will be meeting at the home of Patrick Coonan, who lives in the U Street/Columbia Heights area. The exact address has been sent via email. The theme for this month’s meeting is “UK Styles”, so bring your milds, your Scottish ales, your ESBs… Or

4th Annual Sam Adams / DC Homebrewers Competition

UPDATE: Winners listed below!

Our 4th annual Sam Adams / DC Homebrewers homebrew contest is almost upon us! In previous years, the winners have gone to GABF, Oktoberfest, and the Sam Adams brewery in Boston. This year, the winner will be going to the Yakima Valley in Washington for the hop harvest. It must smell amazing.

We had the preliminary judging Tuesday night, and there are 15 winners moving forward to the final round, which is THIS SATURDAY (April 26th), starting at noon at City Tap House near Chinatown ( There will be a celebrity panel of judges picking the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. There will also be a “crowd favorite” prize picked by the attendees, so come taste some wonderful beers and pick your favorite. Winners and awards will be presented at 4:00.

Here are the brewers who made it into the finals:

Farmhouse Ales

Farmhouse Ales – by Sean Gugger

There is no style I enjoy drinking and brewing more than Saison.  There’s something about the complex flavors of pepper, spice, citrus, fruit, hay, and even some barnyard in a well-crafted saison that make it a unique sensory experience.  From the brewing perspective, Saison is truly a blank canvas.  A broad style that allows the brewer wide creativity and the ability to push his or her brewing limits.  However, before I dive into brewing Saison, let’s backtrack and go over a brief history of these Belgian Farmhouse Ales.

I have to begin by giving credit to the book Farmhouse Ales (Brewers Publications, 2004) by Phil Markowski, the head brewer of Southampton Publick House and one of the pioneers of modern interpretations of the style, as I learned from it a majority of the information I am about to provide.  It’s highly recommended for any beer fan that has even the slightest interest in traditional Belgian ales.


In case you missed it:

During the recent July meeting, Pete and I led a discussion on Octoberfest/Marzen and Vienna Lager beers to prepare brewers for the September Oktoberfest meeting, which will feature a club-only competition for these styles. We talked about traditional and modern techniques for lager brewing as well as parameters for these particular styles and how to meet them. We also made sure we were familiar with the beers we were discussing by sampling a couple: Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold–close to a modern German Oktoberfest–and Negra Modelo. These two beers represent the extremes of the three styles, which are all very similar to begin with.