Finding community in something you love is a beautiful thing. When you find a community that is centered around learning, support, personal growth, respect and fun, there is little that will keep you from investing in this mutually beneficial relationship. Community is exactly what I found in homebrewing. This community is made up of a diverse group of people that differ in race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, new brewer, veteran brewer, and the list goes on. Regardless of social identity and experience, one thing serves as the common thread and that is the love of making beer.
Prior to my first batch, I had been doing research for roughly one year on brewing. I had sought information via home brew forums, websites and friends who brewed. My move to Colorado is when I decided it was time to make this interest a reality. I bought a brew kit and never looked back. But it was this insular experience, such as engaging in discussions online, reading articles and books, that made me want something more.
That is when I found Liquid Poets in Fort Collins. Liquid Poets is a local home brew club that has been in existence for a number of years, has a strong membership (over 100) and is greatly supported by the local craft breweries here in the area. Fort Collins, aka Napa Valley of Beer, is a breeding ground for home brewers. It was only natural for me to attend a meeting to see what it was all about.
I remember my first meeting like it was yesterday. I didn’t have any homebrew to share, as it was still in the carboy, but decided to attend anyway. Feeling rather anxious and unsure about what was about to unfold, I stepped into the brewery for the monthly meeting. I was greeted by the then president and we exchanged some great conversation and got to know one another. During this time, regular and new members began to crowd the room. I was introduced around, poured some amazing beer and had some great conversations. While I remember thinking that it was some of the best beer I have ever enjoyed, it was really the people that sold me.
I became a regular at meetings, began attending study groups, big brew events, small gatherings and the like. I found myself learning a great deal, having in depth conversations both about beer and other topics, meeting their families and becoming great friends with many. The Liquid Poets quickly became my community.
Liquid Poets was exactly what I was looking for and continues to meet my expectations. I have grown leaps and bounds as a home brewer because of their support and care. I have established friendships that will last a lifetime; and most importantly, I have found a community. So if you are a home brewer, want to learn to homebrew or just want to get to know some good people, I suggest you seek out your local homebrew club. Brew some beer, share and find your community. You will be a better brewer and person because of it.