New year, new opportunities?

New Year, New Opportunities

Hello again. It’s been awhile. What have I been up to? A lot, behind the scenes mostly with social media on a few projects since I’m not much of a writer. Been drinking a bunch of ciders, but not writing about them as some are favorites, but some are new to me and could use my opinion. About a month ago, it was pointed outthat I hadn’t written on Jon’s blog in awhile (Jon called me out on it) and that I should bring up some of the opportunities and clubs that are here in Bend.

Several years ago, I was approached by some friends to join Central Oregon Beer Angels. My reply was, “but I don’t drink beer” and most of the responses I received was that it was more social than beer and I then took the opportunity to join. The Beer Angels is a club for women only and has a beer focus, but even if you’re like me and a cider/wine girl who occasionally dabbles in sours or big boozy beers (that don’t take like typical beer), you should still consider joining. They are a fun group of girls who meet during an activity (snowshoeing, hiking the butte with a brewer, barrel aged beer night, hop education, canoes and brews, painting with beer, food and beer pairings, beer cocktails, etc.). You can choose which activities to partake in (you need to sign up to be a member, they do check the list) and the Holiday party with COHO is a must because there is a ton of food, beverages, and a fun beer exchange. Find out more about becoming a member what benefits they have and sign up.

Central Oregon Homebrewers Organization (COHO) is Bend’s local Homebrew club. They welcome beer lovers and homebrewers from beginners to the advanced and you do not have to be located in Bend proper, but anyone from the Central Oregon area who is interested in homebrewing or wanting to learn more from peers. Most members are from Bend, but there are those from Sunriver to Terrebonne and anyone from the Central Oregon area can attend a monthly meeting at Aspen Ridge Retirement to see what they are all about on the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30-9pm.

In addition to the monthly meeting, there is a monthly group brew, which is hosted by a member on their homebrew system, which provides a chance to see how other people brew as well as various levels of experience. The club does have a complete brew system for those who do not have their own, available for members to use any time, and sponsors a quarterly in house competition. The only competition requirement is that the must be brewed on a non-commercial system and adhere to the styles set at the beginning of the year. You will receive official feedback from judges and also take part in the people’s choice at next meeting.

Their big event of the year is a large BJCP and OSHBOTY sanctioned competition called Spring Fling, which this year takes place on April 27-29 this year. ANY homebrewer from anywhere can enter: Details and sign up for entries, judges and stewards here. Disclaimer and history: Jon and I were a part of the first homebrewing club pre-COHO when a few of them met back in 1998-1999ish. Jon joined the current club a few years back and is now President and in turn, I saw a need for more social media for them and am helping with that (since I help Jon out with The Brew Site, it was natural to add on one more).  There are single or family memberships and am trying to encourage the club (or Jon) try to brew ciders or even wine. Find out more about becoming a member and their benefits and sign up.

Cascade Fermentation Association (CFA) is another homebrew club within Central Oregon. They meet in Redmond at Wild Ride Brewing on the last Sunday of the month from 6-9pm.  Jon and I were a part of CFA a few years ago and I really enjoyed the homebrew club a lot because their meetings included not just beer, but cider and wine as well. They also hold group brews hosted by members and education sessions within their meetings. Their big event is Rocktoberfest which is also BJCP and OSHBOTY sanctioned and also welcome entries from non-members. Find out more about becoming a member and their benefits and sign up.

There is also opportunity in the Bend area to expand on your beer/wine/spirits knowledge by enrolling in a class through Central Oregon Community College’s community learning series. The classes range from beginner to advanced learning. From alcohol server training to extract or all grain brewing introductions. I’m glad to see some wine and spirit education as well, it would be interesting to learn about mixology and wine tasting. You do not need to be enrolled in COCC to take these classes. Jon took a sensory training class last fall and really enjoyed it.

These are the opportunities for learning and socialization that I know if the Bend/Central Oregon area. If you’re around town, I’d encourage you to check them out. If you’re in another area, please search for your local clubs and classes and seek out new opportunities for learning and social aspects of the brew world.

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