2008 March Meeting Issue #113

The Official WHALES Newsletter and Minutes March 2008 Issue #113

Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale & Lager Enthusiasts Society Established 1996




* March 29th Wyerbacher Open House 12PM – 3PM

* March 31st – April 11th National Homebrew Competition Regional Entries Due

* April 7th 75th Anniversary of the End of Prohibition

* April 15th Club Only Competition (Extract Beers)

* May 3rd “Big Brew” (Location TBD)

* May 20th Whales Meeting (Location is TBD)

* August 8/2-8/3 Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (Tickets on line only 4/1)



Check the member’s only Yahoo User’s Group thewhales for the latest announcements and calendar updates.  Feel free to upload pictures, review beers/bars and post comments.  If you are a member and do not have access to the site, please let Bobby at rmierzej@telecordia.com know and he will invite you to the group.



“Someone keeps stealing the Viagra.”  “Why don’t they just check them at the Door?”  -- conversation overheard between Gene and Newman.


The Whales gathered at JJ Bitings for their Tuesday March 18th, meeting. The new Prez attempted a new seating configuration for the ever growing crowds.  The “L” arrangement of tables allowed for Gary to be heard at both ends.  Members are reminded to both speak up when addressing the group, and give the speaker your attention when not addressing the group.  As always, we remember to thank the folks at JJ Bittings for supporting the Whales and their activities. 


Another massive crowd of 27 Whales and potential Whales attended the March meeting.  In attendance were Gary, Gene, Mike V., Harley Steve, Keith, Prez, The Schreyer Trio ( Jim, Bill, and Steve), Paff, Newman, Jody, Neal, Bobby, Rick and Heather, Luke, Brad and Jen, Steve G., Nick, Colin, new member Jay, and Big Bill.  Checking out the Whales for the first time were John and Matt.  Also as a special treat, Uncle Leo flew in from Minnesota just for the meeting.


Gary led off the meeting with a review of the War of the Worts.  The Whales did well taking home several ribbons from the event.  Leo and Luke’s Braggot porter won a first, and Jody’s Strong Scotch Ale also won a first.  Brad and Jen’s Wee Ferguson, and Heather’s Framboise (her first homebrew) took second place ribbons.  Colin’s American IPA took a third, made even more impressive when you consider there were 34 entries.  At the competition, Brad and Jen participated as judges, and Prez, Rick and Heather helped steward.  The Prez also helped pick up good prizes for the winners not present at the competition.  The WOW was the first major competition for the 2008 Home Brewer of the Year award.


Luke recounted the Whales 2008 NYC pub crawl.  Approximately 10 or 11 Whales participated in the pub crawl through Brooklyn.  The Gate, The Lighthouse Tavern, and 4th Avenue Pub were all visited followed be a few others, but things quickly became hazy.  A good time was had by all who were in attendance. 


The next opportunity to earn HBOY points is the Regional competition for nationals.  The entries are due at Home Sweet Homebrew between March 31st and April 11th.  Brad and Jen agreed to drop off Whales entries on April 5th.  They will also look to visit some good Philly beer bars while dropping off the club entries, if anyone is interested in participating in the trip.  Entries can either be dropped off with Luke or Brad and Jen by April 4th.


The next Club Only Competition will be held on April 15th.  All entries for this COC will need to be extract beers.  To obtain additional details on the extract only competition visit www.beertown.org.  Last years extract, club only competition, saw a large number of entries, this can be daunting when combined with our recent large flight lists.  Please plan to bring your best beer for the COC and try to limit the number of beers you bring for the flight.


The members assembled, agreed to have an alternate location meeting in May.  Those assembled discussed the pros and cons of going to Harvest Moon, Pizzeria Uno, or Trap Rock.  Look for a poll of possible alternate meeting locations on our Yahoo User’s Group thewhales.


Gary reviewed the list of Whales beer ideas for the Whales Brew at JJ Bitings.  Gary also reviewed the list with August, and he liked the idea of doing a Whales Wit.  We are hopeful that a date for the brew will be nailed down by the next meeting. 


Bobby gave a Whales Flanders Red beer project update.  In an effort to fill the head space remaining in the wine barrel, JD made another 5 gallon batch to top off the barrel.  Despite this additional volume there still remains some headspace.  The beer has shown some signs of activity, and appears to be forming a pellicle. 


The Whales Cyser project will be ready for distribution to the Lucky participants some time in April or May.


The group discussed some upcoming events.  Plans will need to be finalized for the Big Brew on May 3rd.   We will be looking for volunteers to host the event.  The big brew is a great opportunity to see everyone’s set up and techniques.  We will also be discussing if the club wants to make a group project or not at the big brew.  The club is also making plans for the picnic. We will look to settle on a date and location at the next meeting.  In the past we have reserved a site at a local park.  Dates at these parks tend to fill up fast, o we would like to finalize at the April meeting.


The Central Jersey Beerfest will be happening again in September.  The Whales are planning to have a table at the event, but we will not be able to serve homebrew.  The club will be helping to support our generous benefactors at Bittings put on this burgeoning event. Look for more coordination in the future.    


Bill and Paff described the improvements made to the Whales web site.  The test pages looked good and current.  These improved pages will be rolled into the www.whalesclub.org site shortly.


Thanks go out to Gary and Neal for organizing and coordinating a Whales shirt and hat purchase.  All orders need to be in by 4/1/08.


Big Bill gave a very nice slide show presentation of his Beer Tour of Belgium.   


Mike V. gave a treasurer report at the meeting.  The club account stands around $1100.  Folks are reminded that the 2008 dues are due and were raised to$40. 


This month’s installment for Beer in the News involved the 8 health reasons to drink beer.  Not that we need any other reasons to drink beer.


Mike V. is the Whales librarian and will keep the database on thewhales Yahoo group to manage the newly created Whales library.  Mike checks the Database just before the meeting to see if anyone is on the waiting list for material from the library.


Jody continues to maintain the WHALES brewing database data.  Remember when you brew to send me an e-mail at moffamily@verizon.net.  In the e-mail tell me brewing date, how many gallons, what style you brewed, the OG, and what the % alcohol you expect.  I can also track wine, cider and mead as well. 


The club continues to seek out volunteers to make presentations at club meetings.  Members can discuss anything from beer styles, equipment, techniques, ingredients, or any other topics of general interest.  The club is also looking for folks interested in setting up some class trips to different breweries or local apiaries etc.  Contact Prez or Luke if you are interested in making a presentation or setting up a trip.  It is important to let Prez, Luke or Jody know when a presentation is planned for the meeting, we will be sure to allow enough time for it, and we will try to ensure that the presenter has the floor.    


The Flight:

The March flight started with 16 fine examples of beer to try.  In an effort to make the flight manageable, only 12 beers were tasted.  With the recent increase in attendance, members are asked to bring 3 bottles for tasting.  We will also look to start the flight as we get into the Beer in the News and the Gadget reports.  Finally, we will look to pass the bottles, from person to person.  Members will be asked to be judicious in the amount they pour.  We will do this for the flights, but the Club Only Comps, will be handled in the traditional way of handing out and passing cups.  If you want, bring a tasting glass for the flights.  If you forget, we will still have plastic cups available.


The flight started with Jody pouring a Jody, Big Bill cobrewed Saison.  Jim Schreyer then served his tasty red ale, followed by Brad’s Costco Cider.  Next, new guy John O. served a delicious American Brown, and this was followed by Glen’s Wheat Lager.  New guy John then served a tasty Jersey Cascade IPA and Glen’s Marzen was tasted.  John’s weizenbock and Luke’s award winning Braggot Porter were served to the assembly.  To close out the flight, Colin’s served a terrific Barleywine, John poured his Raspberry Porter, and Bill served an awesome Struise Pannepot Grand Reserva.   


Jody, Editor WHALES Official Newsletter