A Brief Introduction to the OBC for New Members
Just joined our family? Welcome!
You'll find that the Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) is a diverse club with many different things to offer our members. We're confident that you will find several aspects of our club that appeal to you and encourage you to be an active member.
Two of the most popular avenues that members rave about are, homebrewing education and tasting/appreciating beer. But the overwhelming benefit of joining our storied 'family' is the friends and relationships you will make. Brewing beer is about learning, and your local community, and sharing of knowledge from one brewer to the next. This only happens when people come together and talk about beer in a comfortable environment like the OBC.
We are the largest and oldest homebrewing club in Oregon (3rd oldest in the nation!) This is because a group of enthusiastic Oregonian homebrewers wanted a way to gather and share information and help each other succeed. That was back in 1979; today this tradition continues and thrives because of members like you who decided to become part of Oregon's nationally renowned community that has a reputation for being a hotbed of brewing innovation and ideas and support of this hobby.
If you ever have anything that you need and can't find the answer on this website, always feel free to contact one of your board members. We're here to help you get the most out of your club. After a couple years, hopefully you'll be a board member and can pass on your knowledge to some up-and-coming member!
Here's a quick rundown of some of the basics you'll need to know to get the most our of your membership:
In Meetings: Our "in" meetings are usually held on the second Thursday of each month at FH Steinbart Co. We open the doors to the warehouse area at 7:00pm and start the meeting around 7:45pm. This gives you time to grab some food at our table (ALWAYS thank the Burgermeister!) and socialize with your new friends and share your latest homebrew. The first part of the meeting at 7:45pm is our "business" portion where we make announcements from each of our several board members. This is when you can find out about upcoming club events and other aspects of your club. After the business portion at around 8:15pm we take a short bathroom/refill-your-beer break.
The second portion of the meeting is our educational portion and starts around 8:30pm and is wrapped up by 9:30pm. Our educational portions contain presentations on various topics that range from how to make better beer (yeast, malt, hops, carbonating, etc) to do-it-yourself equipment projects, to tasting beers and how to judge and appreciate them. Educational topics are announced in the official meeting announcement email usually the week prior to the meeting. Some times we need volunteers to help with pouring beer or just helping with the meeting in general, please ask a board member if there's anything you can do to pitch in and help! Before the meeting and during the breaks is a great opportunity to get some feedback on your beer from fellow members.
Not sure if your creation tastes quite right, or wondering if it fits a particular BJCP style? We have a ton of very experienced brewers and judges who are happy to help. It's very common to bring in a beer that is less than perfect looking for help on how to improve it. Don't be shy, we're all here to help each other make better beer! Oh, and it's always nice to bring your own sampling cup so we don't have to throw away so many disposables each month. Festival mugs work great! Lastly, stay a couple minutes and help us clean up by putting away chairs, tables, and equipment, taking out garbage, etc. We want to be good guests of FH Steinbart (they charge us NOTHING to use their space!).
Out Meetings: "B" (Social) meetings usually occur on a monthly basis at local breweries and bars/pubs. Several times each year we hold meetings at places other than FH Steinbart and typically restrict these events to our current members only.
The OBC Holiday Party in December is a current exception to this rule but remember to check the details of the event for clarification before you bring guests. Please note: the club does not accept new member payments or renewals at these out meetings. Use the website to process your membership payments prior to out meetings. It just makes it easier for everyone to keep track of payment and member information.
Fulfilling Your Annual Volunteering Requirement: This one is pretty easy to check off your list. You can serve on the board of directors, volunteer to man our booth at one of our numerous festivals (you usually get to drink beer while talking to people about making beer!), volunteer at any other of the myriad opportunities throughout the year. Just watch your inbox for calls for help, or better yet contact a board member and ask how you can help!
Extracurricular Activities: We are always planning other fun activities so watch your emails and the website for updates.
American Homebrewing Association Events: We help support three American Homebrewer Association events each year and are always looking for our members to come out and help at FH Steinbart. Big Brew for National Homebrew Day, Mead Day, and Learn to Homebrew Day are great ways to get involved. If you are just getting into homebrewing and want some help? Give FH Steinbart Co a call and see when their next free live brewing demonstration is.
Homebrew Competitions: One of the best ways to achieve brewer fame and notoriety (and to receive useful feedback on your beers from ranked BJCP judges) is to enter a homebrew competition. There are numerous homebrew competitions throughout the year in our area and most offer incredible prizes for the winners. The BJCP Competition Calendar is a great place to check out upcoming events. The Oregon Brew Crew also hosts our own competition, the Fall Classic. It's a great event to get involved and help your club. We also have the Widmer Collaborator competition too, where your beer may be selected to be brewed by Widmer Brothers Brewing. How cool is THAT!?
Member of the Year: To reward people who actively help the club by volunteering throughout the year we've developed the Member of the Year program.
The OBC Homebrewer's Cup: See the OBC Homebrewer's Cup page for details about how you may take home this coveted prize at our December Holiday Party. Also, even if you don't win one of these awards, your accumulated points will earn you additional free raffle tickets at the party!
Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP): Just about the coolest thing in the world is to tell your friends that you are a ranked beer judge. I mean really, what is cooler that that!? The BJCP is an international organization that was formed in 1985 to:
- Encourage knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the world's diverse beer, mead, and cider styles;
- Promote, recognize, and advance beer, mead, and cider tasting, evaluation, and communication skills;
- Develop standardized tools, methods, and processes for the structured evaluation, ranking and feedback of beer, mead, and cider.
They certify and rank beer judges through an examination and monitoring process, sanction competitions, and provide educational resources for current and future judges. The OBC hosts periodic BJCP classes to help you study for the BJCP Entrance Exam and the BJCP Tasting/Judging Exam. Beer judges are needed throughout the year at competitions and are usually rewarded with prizes and the occasional monetary prize and/or free hotels. Judging opportunities can be found on the BJCP Competition Calendar. Other opportunities to get involved:
The OBC runs ONLY on the hard work of volunteer members who donate time and energy for the benefit of all. We need you to get involved in the club, please don't hesitate to contact a board member to let us know how you can help. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and see how the club runs. It's a great first step toward running for a board position in the future too!