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Nice writeup about the club in Huddle!

Started by shazapple, December 10, 2021, 11:48:30 AM

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QuoteInside The Amateur Club That Spawned Some Of Fredericton's Best Craft Breweries
FREDERICTON—In the early 2010s, the New Brunswick Craft Brewing Association would meet every second Saturday to try the beer, mead, or cider its members had brewed over pizza or BBQ on the porch.
Before he started Trailway Brewing, Jake Saunders was the president of the CBA. His business partner Dan Mason was the club technician.

"Back then, there were a whole bunch of us that had these dreams about how we should open breweries someday–and a couple of us actually did it," said Saunders.

John Way from Sunset Height Meadery, Jamie Savoie from Grand Falls Brewing Company, Rob Coombs from Niche Brewing (now closed), Paul Maybee of Maybee's Brewing, and Steven Dixon from Grimross were all members.

Many say their time with the CBA gave them the skills and knowledge to open.

Saunders said members would go in on bulk grain buys and other ingredients to get deals on shipping. Bi-annual meetings, called "Mash Occur," were often held at Way's house.

He remembers Paul Maybee brewing his first batch of beer in Saunder's garage in 2012.

"Looking back on that... you still all kind of have that connection," said Saunders.

Steve Dixon, who owns Grimross brewing, joined the CBA around 2011. He found the brew club through their blog, which had a dozen or more threads on yeast management, recipes, and equipment.

"It wasn't just a bunch of guys getting together to drink, it was a bunch of guys that were really interested in elevating their knowledge about perfecting the craft of making beer," said Dixon.

He said the club had an eclectic group of guys, including accountants, athletes, and someone working on their PhD in microbiology. Before joining the club, Dixon himself was working with NB Power while getting his master's degree in biomedical engineering at UNB.

"People were equally interested in the science and the craft of making beer, and always trying to test their abilities by making new and challenging beers," said Dixon.

They would propagate different strains of yeast from a few cells to build starters that would become beer. This provided more flexibility than if they would buy a bag of dried yeast from a store.

"It took homebrewing up, you know, about five or six notches beyond the average homebrew because we were able to share our practices," said Dixon.

There are a variety of different techniques to homebrewing and different types of equipment yields different results. In the club they would share equipment and develop new technology.

They made spunding valves, which Dixon said are pressure relief valves for you allowing you to naturally carbonate your beer.

"It's a lot of crafty, geeky, beer-loving, social times," said Dixon.

Different members trying different recipes at the same time sped up the process of trial and error that every brewer goes through.

"We learned from each other's successes and we learned from each other's mistakes," said Dixon. "A lot more than we could have learned on our own."

Sometimes, members of the club would also go to industry events. Dixon remembers going to one in Portland with Maybee when they were both brewers in training.

Grimross, Maybee's, and Trailway all opened their doors around 2014.

"I think that being a part of the club probably helped give me the confidence to open up Grimross," said Dixon.

He said there were guys in the club making very good beer and he felt good that his own beer could stack up.

Paul Maybee said the club inspired him to open his own brewery, too.

"Meeting all the people in the club and seeing their passion for it rubbed off on me," said Maybee.

He always enjoyed homebrewing, but it was something he only did on the weekends as a hobby. Then, he got serious about making the beer that he wanted to drink.

Maybee's opening coincided with the peak of the craft beer boom, when all the original breweries in Fredericton started popping up. Most of his core beers, like Work Horse IPA and Roseway Red, are beers from his homebrew recipes.

"To find people who share that interest makes you so much more excited about it and will improve your skill and understanding of it too," said Maybee. "It's a great thing to come together around something like that."

With a range of beer being brewed, he said members would try things they never attempted brewing themselves. Members would ask each other how they did what and got together to brew at each other's houses.

He said the most important thing he learned is that there is no right way to do anything. Each brewer has their own particularities and preferences. If the brewer understands the process, then they can make tweaks that will affect the final product.

"People putting their minds together and just sharing in the love of craft beer," said Maybee.

The NBCBA, under current president Roger Ringuette, always welcomes new members. It's currently operating primarily out of its online forum, with hopes to get back to Saturday meetings soon.


It's a pretty good article.
But they forgot to mention @Scott from Think Brewing they're brewing some really soild beers.
Also it might have been nice if they touched base with the actual club. Instead just of our "famous" former members...  ;)
Hopefully it'll spark some new interest in the club.