The SFHG presented a memorial plaque to the fellas at SF Brewcraft and Griz’ wife, Barbara, at November’s Griz Memorial Block Party. The plaque and the event turned out really nicely. Look for the plaque at SF Brewcraft next time you’re there.
Here’s a nice shot of the plaque, posted here by Richard Brewer-Hay of Elizabeth Street Brewery fame:
Here’s a set of other photos from the event, including a bunch of Griz in his younger years!
The SFHG represented well at the CA State Homebrew Comp held at Anchor Brewing. For one, we sent a big group of judges and stewards to help with the competition, but we also send a big congrats out to the SFHG members who took ribbons home! Our VP Kevin Inglin, Jen Jordan, and Daniel Owens together took home nine ribbons!
The Queen of Beer Homebrew Competition results are in and the SFHG’s ladies brought home a ton of ribbons! Rachel Cunningham’s Stockholm Syndrome Porter placed third in the Browns & Porters category. The Black Tang Wit IPA that Jen Jordan and Rachel made together took third in the Specialty category. Jen also took ribbons home in the Belgian/Saison and European/Amber categories. As Rachel says: “Real Women Brew Beer!”
Huge congrats to Rachel and Jen!
We had another great monthly meeting this October with over 60 members in attendance! It was awesome to see such a big crowd and plenty of new faces. Big thanks to Steve Smith from GigaYeast and sour brewer extraordinaire/BeerByBART creator Gail Ann Williams for their excellent presentation on sour beer making. Check out the slides from the presentation here: “It’s Never Too Soon To Go Sour.” The presentation for our upcoming November meeting will be another good one – the folks from the new SF Mead Company will be on hand to talk to us about making mead!
Also, as always, a huge thanks from the SFHG to Anchor Brewing for hosting our monthly meets! As a bonus this month, Anchor had just released their fifth Zymaster series beer, the beautiful Harvest One American Pale Ale, which we all had the pleasure of sampling.
I hope to see you all this Sunday at Cerveceria de MateVeza at 5PM for the release of our collaboration Dulce de Leche Imperial Stout! You can RSVP for the event here on the SFHG MeetUp page.
Here at SFHG HQ, we occasionally receive emails asking whether we will set up a bulk group buy of grain or hops for our members. The short answer is: “No, we don’t do that.”
Group buys essentially just take business away from our local homebrew shops to save folks a few bucks. The SFHG always encourages our members and other homebrewers to patronize local area homebrew shops and to use their SFHG discount. While you’re there go ahead and thank the folks at the shop for supporting the SFHG! Our local shops, SF Brewcraft and The Oak Barrel in Berkeley, help us promote the Guild to new SF homebrewers, they assist us in competitions by collecting and holding submissions for us, they give our members a 10% discount, and a few times each year they hook us up with great freebies to use as awards for brewers who win our club competitions and to raffle to raise money. They’re supporting us, we should support them, too!
Those shops and their employees and owners are resources for the entire area homebrew community, but that will all disappear if folks order online to save (sometimes literally) a buck or a drive to the store. There are very few homebrewers out there that are brewing in such quantities that it makes sense for them to buy in bulk for themselves. Group buys are just like buying online, just another way to try to save a buck or two and take the local shop out of the loop. The fact is that most new homebrewers get started by purchasing (or being gifted) a starter kit and receiving brewing instructions, in person, from a local shop…just like so many of us did before we apparently became such hardened deal-seeking homebrew veterans! Homebrew shops are integral to a strong local homebrew community by bringing new brewers into the fold, teaching homebrewing skills, and connecting folks into the community and pointing them towards involvement with local clubs. They do a whole lot more for us than just sell ingredients and gear!
So while the leadership here at the SFHG certainly doesn’t wish to offend folks who find themselves in a situation where they just can’t get to the local homebrew shop or their local shop doesn’t have what they need in stock, I would ask all homebrewers to really think about whether they’re making excuses or if they really need to order online or make that bulk order rather than running down to the local homebrew shop. Also, ask yourself how you’d feel if your local shop went out of business and your area ended up having no local homebrew shop? Is that “just capitalism” or an indication that your local homebrew community is weak and getting weaker? There’s not necessarily a correct answer to these questions, but as they say, you “vote with your dollars.” Keep your local shops and the businesspeople who support their local homebrew community strong by patronizing them and encouraging fellow homebrewers to do the same.
P.S. That all said, did you know you can pay for a full sack of base malt at SF Brewcraft and they’ll keep track of how much you’ve taken from it in their records? Take advantage of this offer and Brewcraft will give you a discount for buying bulk. Sure, you still have to go pick it up before brew day, but it’s guaranteed fresh and they’ll have whatever else you need for your brew. I’m not sure what the Oak Barrel in Berkeley’s policy is on bulk purchases, but I expect they’d give a discount for such quantity as well.
The San Francisco homebrewing community lost a legend on September 23rd. On Monday night our friend Greg Miller, better known to all as Griz, owner of SF Brewcraft, passed away in his sleep. Griz was a true character, a gregarious and opinionated guy who forgot more about brewing over the years than most of us will ever know. During his 40+ years in the homebrew supply business many Bay Area brewers, both pros and homebrewers, got their starter brew kit from Griz and learned the basics in his class or from his worksheets. We all owe Griz a debt of gratitude for showing us what true passion for brewing looks like and for infusion mashing the SF homebrew community with his hoppy free spirit. Let’s all raise a glass to Griz tonight and dedicate our next brewing adventure to his memory.
Griz was a brewer-philosopher and he left us not only with many great memories, but with loads of fantastic quotes about how you shouldn’t be “anal retentive” when you brew (a little funnier than the old “don’t worry, relax, have a homebrew” quote, if you ask me), “you can’t brew a lager,” and how it was good and comforting to be connected to a craft that mankind had been undertaking for thousands of years, “but turn off your goddamn cell phone before you start because it’s a creative artistic endeavor…where you can iron yourself out.” For Griz, brewing was therapy, it was his meditation. I believe that many dedicated homebrewers know exactly what he means when he says that.
I don’t know exactly what the first bit of the quote below means, but I get the overall gist and it feels profound only two days after Griz’ passing. I think Griz grabbed and rode exactly the wave he wanted to in his life and he rode it all the way home.
“When the bullshit-choking chain gets pulled, ride that wave all the way to the shore. You only get so many of those in a lifetime. And when you grab it, don’t feel guilty about it. Grab on to it and ride that wave as far as it’ll take ya.” – Griz
From Beer & Nosh:
The Northern California Homebrew Festival was AMAZING! Ten SFHG members made it to Dobbins, CA for the event. It’s hard to describe just how much fun NCHF was. There were clubs from all over Northern California there with booths where they were serving up homebrew and food. The SFHG represented well. We had five killer beers on tap and served up some smoked chicken chili as our food contribution. It was really fun to meet so many other passionate homebrewers, plus run into lots of Bay Area friends, too! The fact that we had intense rain on Saturday made the whole trip just seem that much more epic.
Tickets were a bit difficult to get this time around, but next year we hope to go with a much bigger contingent of SFHG members. Check out the photos: