Saturday, October 19, 2013

Home Brew Beer at the Rivers Club

A delightful beer tasting took place last evening at the Rivers Club in Oxford Center. But unlike most tasting where the local or regional breweries have their beers on tap, this event was made up entirely of home brewers and the beer they made in their kitchens or basements. Well, Full Pint Brewery was the lone local brewer as well as South Hills Brewing Supply. All in all there were eight home brewers offering some exciting and different beers not usually found in your local pub.

I was a member of the Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers since the founding in the early 1980’s (yes, I’m that old) and have seen the interest in home brewing grow over the years. Many home brewers brew beer that can compete with the professionals and it was evident last night.

Mark Minuto took first place in the voting with his Agave Wheat Ale. Made with the juice he obtained at Whole Foods, the drink was absolutely splendid: very clean and refreshing. One that I particularly enjoyed was Dom Tomino’s Cucumber Wheat. Very much like Mr. Minnuto’s this as well clean and refreshing. The cucumber taste was very present but delicate. Dom took the time to remove the outer skin to avoid giving the beer any bitterness. Both of these beers are in my “This is just a nice beer” category. Despite being a beer tasting, Terry Sasala brought an English Cider. From my exhaustive study ciders in England I have to say that the Queen would be pleased. Low in alcohol as most are, one would be able to enjoy several pints during the World Cup.

Still, for something different, Bob Bero brought his homemade B-Hoppy hard candy. He uses the hops after they are removed from the boil to make three types. Each of the three candies has a different type hop: Golden, Cascade and Saaz. The “anchor” brewer at the tasting was Full Pint with their Nut Brown Ale. This is not your father’s New Castle as it had a bit of smoky taste given it from the use of Rauch malt. Certainly not a Rauchbeir it had a delicate taste but your buds told you this was something different. This was a very well rounded menu of brews.  

This was the first Hoptoberfest at the Rivers Club and everyone hopes it will not be the last. The young professionals who were in attendance were sparse enough that everyone had plenty of time to chat with the brewers and one another. This was more of a meet-up and by far it was not a drink fest. Myself, I got to see some old friends that I have not seen in years making this somewhat of a reunion for me. This was a Rivers Club member’s only event (I was invited) but I would like to see it open to the public on a limited scale next year. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Finally, cheers to all the brewers as they dedicated their time and home brew for this.

Local home brewers in attendance were:
Campbell Brothers Joint Effort Brewery, Brad Campbell
Homebrewer Mark V. Minuto
Homebrewer Dom Tomino
Homebrewer Tom Cocain
Pump House Homebrew Shop, Greg & Tammie Wormley
Irving’s Brewery, Tom Amundien
B-Hoppy the Original Candy, Bob Bero
Edgewater Brewery, Terry Sasala