The Great Northern Brewers Club

State of the Brewnion by Mike Cragen - January 2018

Greetings fellow homebrewers and enthusiasts! As the incoming Prez of the Great Northern Brewers Club, I’m honored to be writing my first “State of the Brewnion” newsletter. I’ve been a member of GNBC for the past five years, but have been homebrewing since 2001. Over the years, I’ve brewed hundreds of batches. I’ve even had the opportunity to brew in Antarctica. I’m looking forward to sharing a beer with each of you, especially those I haven’t met yet. Thanks for the vote of confidence; I’m happy to serve as your club president and look forward to helping to shape GNBC through my tenure.

GNBC has had countless members over the years and numerous officers and board members. Among the most active and influential is our outgoing Prez, John Trapp. He has volunteered untold hours to GNBC and his hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. We all owe John a grand thank-you . Be sure to express your gratitude and offer him a homebrew the next time you see him.

Also, an immense thank-you goes out to our outgoing VP and former Prez, Kevin Sobolesky. He has been a long-time advocate for GNBC, and his work with BJCP classes and certification is very influential! The club, our homebrew, and our judging knowledge are all much better due to his hard work. Kevin certainly has a beer coming his way as well.

We have an exciting lineup over the next few months, with events you definitely don’t want to miss. First and foremost is our GNBC meeting and beer industry reception at 49th State Brewing Company on January 18th. This is my favorite GNBC event of the year. If you haven’t been, put this on your calendar, pencil it in. We’ll be starting at 7pm, but be sure to bring your GNBC membership card and ID’s – NO ID, NO ENTRANCE! We will be checking cards at the door, as this is a members only event (each member permitted one guest). No problem if you haven’t renewed yet, it’s only $30 per year and easy to sign up at: www.greatnorthernbrewers.org/membership.html.

Other Upcoming Events:

January 13-19 – Alaska Beer Week! See: akbeerweek.com

January 18th – GNBC Meeting/Industry Party at 49th State Brewing Co. 7pm

February 20th – Monthly meeting at 49th State Brewing Co. 7pm- educational session on water chemistry with Jordan Couture

Late Feb/Early March (exact date TBD) – Fur Rondy Homebrew Competition at 49th State

March 20th - Monthly meeting at 49th State Brewing Co. 7pm

Late March (exact date TBD) – Talkeetna Beer Trippin’ hosted by Denali Brewing Co.

Let’s talk homebrew! Humpy’s Big Fish Homebrew Competition was held on December 2nd. BOS and Brewer’s Choice went to Tony Strupulis with a Latvian Stone Ale that he named “Akmens Alus” which translates to “stone ale”. Tony boiled his wort with superheated rocks from a fire in his backyard. This process led to really enjoyable caramelized flavors from the scorching of the sugars in the wort. Midnight Sun will be making this recipe . I, for one, can’t wait to try it.

December 2nd is Humpy’s Big Fish home brew competition. Peter Hall is organizing this so please read his article on it. Always a good competition to enter with lots of great prizes. Dig through the crawl space or closet and find something good to enter. Don’t forget, this is also a great competition to judge so plan on that too.

Homebrewer of the Year (HBOTY) will look a bit different this year. The HBOTY winners for the past five years will not be competing this year, so it’s anybody’s to take. The full guidelines, beer styles per competition, new point scale, etc. are specified below. I’m excited to watch the race for 2018 HBOTY unfold. Fresh faces are welcomed and encouraged.

I’d like to recognize and thank the officers and board members for 2018: Eric Minor – Vice President (new GNBC officer) Treasurer – Sam Moore (returning officer) Secretary – Jim O’Toole (returning officer) Board of Directors – Liz Greer (new GNBC board member) Board of Directors – Rick Levinson (returning GNBC board member) Board of Directors – Mike Fisher (returning board member) Board of Directors – Brian Hall (returning board member) Board of Directors – Peter Hall (returning board member) Membership Coordinator – Kat Karabelnikoff (returning to position) Social Media Coordinator – Julie McDonald (returning to position) Newsletter Editor – Jim Roberts (returning to position) Newsletter Layout – Deb Grecco (returning to position)

This is a fantastic lineup, and we’re already having conversations centered around making meaningful changes, including starting a new competition and working to improve the homebrew scene in Alaska.

Finally, my newsletters will end with a section called “The Final Wort” – detailing the last batch I brewed, which I’ll bring to future club meetings. This month’s Final Wort is a New England IPA or NEIPA. This was my first shot at this style, which emphasizes low bittering hop additions, high adjunct percentages, a hazy appearance, and a pleasant juiciness. Not only was this my first attempt at a NEIPA, but also my first time using cryo hops. Many thanks to Brian Hall, Eli Logan, and Chris Ferguson for guidance on this style . . . these guys are experts at NEIPA’s if you’re interested.

Keep a hop in your step and a brew within reach.
-BrewMikester Cragen

Hops Wreath

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