Homebrewers Get Weird At NHC Club Night
One of the highlights of the National Homebrewers’ Conference every year is known as Club Night, which happened on Friday, the second night of the event. From 8p-11:30p, homebrew clubs were able to put on their own beer fest, setting up booths in various themes and serving beer after beer as provided by members of their clubs.
Club Night provided attendees with two main differences from your regular run-of-the-mill beer fest, the first of which being the theme of each club’s booth. A few clubs were unfortunately unprepared for the spectacle, but most came in costume to serve their beer. Club themes ranged from a group of nuclear scientists to an army bunker, and from a full-blown Old West saloon to Rocky, complete with gray sweat-suited pourers and bikinied ring girls.
The other noticeable difference is that, for your standard beer fest, any given brewery will bring two or three beers. For Club Night, however, each club shows off multiple beers from their brewers; in many cases, 15 or 20 at a time. The selection of beer was overwhelming, and there was no chance of even coming close to sampling it all. And all styles were represented in multiple forms, from a cask-conditioned gueuze to a 23% smoked imperial porter. Rauchbiers, pumpkin beers, IPAs, pale ales, saisons, and a multitude of sours dotted the taplists of the clubs, all trying to put their own spin on a style to attract people to their booth.
Club night was the perfect opportunity to be able to taste homebrew from around the country, as well as a nice selection of local brewers from Philadelphia and the suburbs. Whereas the pro brewer’s night on Thursday offered many beers we had already tried and tasted, Club Night guaranteed a selection of beers you’d never had before, and would most likely never have again. Unless you were friends with a homebrewer or close enough to go to a club event back home, these were all brand new beers.
The fact that they were all new beers also gave fellow homebrewers a chance to taste something they too hadn’t had before, and the camaraderie within the celebration of homebrewed beers was great to see. Brewers tasting each other’s offerings, commenting on the various pros and cons, and sharing hints, tips and tricks were the norm of the night, as there was nothing on the line and only the enjoyment of beer to worry about.
Club Night was the definite highlight of the National Homebrewers’ Conference, giving attendees a chance to sample a seeming unlimited amount of beer, talk and learn about the process, and hang out with thousands of like-minded people. Everyone, being amongst friends, was able to let loose and be themselves, which was clearly seen in the set-ups and costumes of each club and its members. Whether attendees bought a full-priced conference ticket package or just showed up for the social aspects, Club Night made it worth the price of admissions without a second thought. Kudos to the hundreds upon hundreds of homebrewers who made it possible.