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The first-ever American Homebrewers Association rally to be held in New Jersey drew a healthy crowd to Flying Fish Brewing Sunday for a membership-drive mixer over craft beers, brewhouse tours and hobby banter.

Coming on the heels of the AHA’s annual national conference, at which a couple of Garden State homebrewers claimed prize medals, the rally served as a way to keep the drumbeat going for the growing hobby and the beer camaraderie it inspires.

Homebrewer-Rally3The crowd pulled predominantly from the South Jersey and Southeast Pennsylvania areas. But that’s something you would expect, given Flying Fish’s host town, Somerdale, is a Philly ’burb.

Nonetheless, the event was an opportunity for members of homebrew clubs from around the region to meet, catch up, and for those who went, to share tales from Mashing in Michigan, the 36th Annual National Homebrewers Conference, held the the weekend prior in Grand Rapids.

But there’s another takeaway from the rally: New Jersey’s craft beer profile gets a boost, a bit of recognition. The AHA is part of the Brewers Association’s extended family, so the Garden State enjoys a moment on the radar of the folks who champion craft brewing on the pro and amateur levels.

And that’s a good thing.

Congrats to Jim Fish of Brooklawn (pictured above), a Barley Legal Homebrewers Club member whose Flanders red took a first place in the sour ale category at NHC, and Doug Bellingeri, who won a second place in the German wheat and rye category.


Published in News

It looks like the Golden Urinal will be staying in New Jersey.

South Jersey’s Barley Legal Homebrewers club, one of the largest, if not THE largest, organized homebrew club in the Garden State, took home the Golden Urinal beer tap following last year’s annual National Homebrewers Conference, held in June in the club’s back yard of Philadelphia (the club meets every first Tuesday of the month at Iron Hill brewpub’s Maple Shade location).

The award used to be given to the club that brought the most kegs of homebrew to the national conference. When Barley Legal’s 80 or so members showed up at the 2013 conference with more than 130 kegs, Pissoir d’Or, as the Golden Urinal is also known, became the club’s to keep.

The American Homebrewers Association decided, after bestowing the urinal/tap upon Barley Legal, to end the annual practice, club President Evan Fritz tells Beer-Stained Letter.

Evan took some time out from the Barley Legal crowd’s observance of Big Brew last Saturday (May 3rd) to talk about the award on camera.

Barley Legal is a juggernaut of a homebrew club: Two of its members just went pro by opening Village Idiot Brewing in Mount Holly, and the guys behind Spellbound Brewing, also in Mount Holly, are club alums.

This isn’t the first time the AHA has changed course (coincidentally, perhaps) after the South Jersey homebrewers notched a win in an AHA event.

Three years ago, the club’s entry in the AHA’s Big Brew video contest won most-viewed, a victory that followed a 2010 AHA video contest win by the club (disclosure: Barley Legal’s video entries were shot and edited by Beer-Stained Letter).

When Big Brew 2012 rolled around, the AHA scrapped the 4-year-old video contest, without giving a reason on its website. (Via email to Beer-Stained Letter, the AHA said it had opted to try other ancillary homebrewer events for Big Brew.)


Published in News
Friday, 15 November 2013 22:55

AHA survey: Who is the American homebrewer?

Homebrewer Graphic
These are heady days for homebrewing.

Never has the hobby enjoyed the popularity that it does now, and much of its surging growth has happened over the past eight years.

Earlier this week, the American Homebrewers Association trumpeted some statistics about the brew-it-yourself crowd, estimating the U.S. has 1.2 million homebrewers who make about 2 million gallons of beer a year.

Published in News
Thursday, 27 June 2013 03:06

NHC: A talk with AHA's Gary Glass

Homebrew Survey GraphicWhich came first, homebrewing or craft brewing? 

The best answer may be that they're twins – not quite identical, certainly more than fraternal – arriving ever so close together, with craft beer growing a little faster than homebrewing, yet homebrewing never existing much more than a whisper away. 

And like any close family tie, especially among twins, one preternaturally knows what the other's thinking and doing. 

More practically, it's safe to say homebrewing helped launch the craft brewing industry, and virtually on a daily basis it creates new commercial brewers, while the taste for craft beer helps attract people to the hobby of brewing at home.

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