The 4 Best Reasons to Join a Brew Club

By Jester Goldman from Craft Beer & Brewing (

Published: 2016-05-08

Brewing is, without a doubt, the world’s best hobby. The satisfaction of enjoying and sharing your own fluid creativity is hard to beat. If you’ve recently started or even if you’re just thinking about brewing, joining your local homebrew club is one of the smartest choices you can make. With a nominal investment of time and annual dues, you can immediately reap the rewards of education, connections, and, of course, beer. There are also a few side benefits to sweeten the deal.


Education is one of the biggest advantages of joining a brew club. Nothing will improve your skills like spending time with other homebrewers. Clubs are full of experienced people who are happy to share their knowledge, give you good constructive criticism of your beer, and help you understand more about the process of brewing. You can partner with others to try out experiments, such as making SMaSH. (single malt and single hops) beers or trying out different yeast strains against the same wort. Even better, you can pick up almost as much from other club members when they share their results, saving you some effort.

Beyond those informal educational perks, many clubs also offer structured activities, such as bringing in guest speakers or setting up BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) study sessions. Brewing is such a big field that you can still learn more from your club long after you’ve shed your beginner status.


Like any kind of hobbyist group, brew clubs connect you with a bunch of people who share your interest. The truth is that you can only bore your non-brewer friends for so long before they get tired of drinking with you. Club meetings and parties are the perfect place to get your beer geek on with a crew who really understands you. Brewers tend to be a gregarious lot—the beer may have something to do with that—and it’s fairly easy to make friends who might have more in common with you than just a love of fermented beverages. But even if you’re a bit of an introvert, things are usually relaxed enough for you to manage the social interaction at your own comfort level.

Brew clubs also offer other ways to tap into the larger brewing community. They usually have good relationships with the breweries in the area, in part because the owners and brewers may be or may have been members. This can lead to special access for club members, from insider brewery tours to Pro-Am brewing sessions. Clubs may also sponsor or help promote beer dinners, community outreach, and service opportunities.

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This may be ridiculously obvious, but there’s no question that you’ll be exposed to all different kinds of beer when you’re in a brew club. Most club meetings set aside some time for tasting, where people can show off their latest batch and get feedback. Clubs may also have presentations on beer styles, which certainly require samples to assist your understanding. On top of that, you’ll be expanding your social circle to include a bunch of fellow brewers, and the more brewers you know, the more likely someone will offer you a beer.

Side Benefits

Most clubs will easily deliver on the benefits above, but individual groups can sweeten the deal even more. Many groups run competitions, where you can participate as a steward or judge in addition to entering your beer. Others organize bulk purchasing of ingredients or local discounts, which can save you some money. The club may also have specialized resources, such as yeast banks and equipment for loan, or they may host special events such as brew trips or camping. These frills may not come up casually during a meeting, but they’re worth asking about.

Take the Plunge

If you need to find a club, drop by your local homebrew supply shop; they should be familiar with the groups in your area. You can also look online. The American Homebrewers Association has a page dedicated to helping you with finding a local club. Find out when the next meeting is and drop in on it. You’ll meet some great people and get a chance to see what you’ve been missing.

AHA Big Brew Day – May 7, 2016…

2016 Big Brew Day Poster

We are going to have a brew day session in the back parking lot of RECESS BREWING in Edwardsville, Illinois.  If you’ve ever wanted to learn about brewing in depth, feel free to join us and ask as many questions as you like.  If you’re already a brewer and wish to join us, feel free to contact one of us to see if we can accommodate you.

Please contact Chris or Jen Davinroy at or Greg Bridwell at


Greg “G1” Bridwell BIAB demo




Hey there page followers – Just wanted to throw an invite out there for you.  G1 is going to demonstrate the Brew In A Bag process.  We will have it at his place in Edwardsville on March 12 at 10AM.  Make it a point to join in the fun and bring your homebrew (nothing wrong with drinking at 10am) or your favorite commercial beer.  We will have a quick meeting about upcoming events and a few other things happening with the club – but that won’t take very long.

Due to G1’s other projects going on at his place, there won’t be any additional room to have a fully functional brew day that day, but we have a few of those lined up.  If you know of a brew day or want to schedule one for yourself – feel free to contact us at — we will throw a note out for you!!!!

See you soon!

February meeting

Man, if you didn’t make it to the February meeting – you don’t know what you missed! We picked up a couple of new members and went over the newly revised schedule of events. We have some awesome things coming up.

If you haven’t already, please expect a phone call from me as we are trying to update all of our records. It’ll be nice to revise the member list and start adding people to our private group where we can share brew days and other various stuff. Lots coming up. Essentially:

Tom Grieve has the mobile version of our website up and running properly now.
There is a brew demo happening soon at G1’s place
Next meeting is 4/10 at Recess Brewing
Brew Day coming up at Recess Brewing
We are going to participate in the Heritage Festival – we will need a lot of volunteers.
Plus much much more!

Come join in the fun!!!!!

BEER my Valentine – February 2016 Club Meeting

Valentines logo

Our next club meeting is on Saturday, February 13th at 1:00pm at The Old Bakery Brewery in Alton, Illinois.  Please make your plans now to join us.

What’s that, guys???? You don’t want to buy flowers for your girlfriend/wife??? That’s okay – just RSVP both of you to and get a red rose to give to her!

James and Lauren have made special arrangements to allow us to bring in our home brew for sharing – no outside commercial beer is allowed.  They are also waiving the room rental fee for our club and request that we help offset that fee by bringing our appetites and ordering off of their menu.  Of course, they will have their beers for sale as well.

There will probably not be any tables or chairs in the meeting room, so feel free to bring your lawn chairs so that you have a place to sit.  Also, remember your tasting glasses!

Anyone that brings in home brew for sampling gets entered into a special raffle – get your bottles and kegs ready!

We have lots going on this year with the ESB club, so please come and find out what is happening!!!!



Chris and Jen Davinroy

voice or text 618.567.7455

A True Small-Town Brewery

Marine, Illinois

Reprinted from the Spring 2005 issue of The Breweriana Collector
Written by Kevin Kious and Donald Roussin.  

The village of Marine, Illinois, so named because a number of its early settlers were former sea captains, is one of the smaller towns in Madison County, and seemingly an unlikely spot to have ever had a brewery. But the town had grown to several hundred residents in the decade of the Civil War and after, and was able to support a surprising number of industries, including a brewery operated by Rudolph Nicolay. In his wonderful historical booklet "A Walk Through Marine", the late local historian Ronald Loos said, "there is no way can prove that there was some type of brewery operating at or close to Marine in the 1850s. But I get small bits and pieces of information indicating that it was probably true." There was indeed a brewery, and it was located in the heart of town, as can be found from census records and the old land records preserved in the bulky bound volumes kept in the county recorder’s office.

The Village Brewer
On July 18, 1856, Rudolph Nicolay, a resident of St. Louis County, Missouri, purchased four lots of land in Marine. For $1050, he received from Adam Weber title to lots 5,6,11 and 12 in Block 4 of the village. The selling price would indicate that there were already improvements on the parcel, perhaps a house if not a brewery. Within the next few years Nicolay must have constructed or improved a brewery on the site, for the 1860 census for "Marinetown" lists him as a brewer, forty years old, and a native of Hesse, Germany. His real estate was listed as being worth $2000, his personal property $200. His wife Louisa, nearly two decades his junior, was from Baden, Germany, while their three young children had all been born in Illinois, presumably Marine. Living with the family was John Sinthrimer, a 22- year-old from Frankfurt, Germany. He also listed his occupation as brewer, indicating that the Marine brewery was at least a two-man operation.

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