Our group gathered for our November meeting at O’Marros Public house to examine and challenge the Wrath of Grapes.  Before this though, we had some business to take care of!

First, our Annual Christmas Party is coming on December 21st.  The club is going to provide sandwiches as we have done in the past few years.  The members will provide side dishes and any homebrew they wish to bring.  I will send out the sign up sheet today, and again early next week.  Please sign up by Dec 7th, so we’ve got two weeks to prepare.  Your other half is welcome to attend too!  There will be a $20 gift exchange for anyone that’s interested.  Bring a gift, get a gift.

Elections are coming up in January.  Nominations will be taken during the December party for voting the next month.  The three positions open are President, Event Coordinator, and Secretary.  Please think about stepping up for a couple of years.

Bare Bones Brew: We are working out the details with them, and are planning to go forward with it.  Once we know all the details and costs, I’ll send out a sign up for those that want to take some beer home to put their own touches on.  We will have a tasting of all the different beers at a meeting to follow the brew day.  This should create a vast variety of beers, all using the same base beer.  Stay tuned!

We are looking to have a meeting at The Cellar sometime next year, as well as having Big Brew Day there.  There has been a lot of support for both ideas, so we’ll go forward with it.  In the meantime, stop down and see what the new store has to offer.  There is more space than there was in FDL, and a good selection of products.  They are also knowledgeable on brewing, from beginners and extract kits, through experienced brewmasters.  Stop in and introduce yourself!

Brian Schneider sent us all an email link about MobCraft Brewing.  There are 8 homebrews that they are considering to make commercial.  The winner will be chosen by the amount of preorders they receive.  So, if you like Brian’s Portly Root Beer Porter, sign up for some and help him see his brew go public!  The link is mobcraftbeer.com/recipes/portly-root-beer-porter

Casks and Caskets is looking like a reality for 2017.  The committee will start coming together soon and start working on the plans for next year.  We’re exciting to see the event come back after a hiatus.  With everyone’s help, we can come back stronger than ever!

So that’s the business end.  We had 6 or 7 different wine samplings, along with some mead!  We tried two commercial versions, one white and one red.  To say one was better than the other is a matter of taste.  Wines run a very broad spectrum, and there are as many tastes in wine as there are varieties.  For those that like sweeter wines, favorites are moscato, dessert wine, Riesling, and sweet fruit wines like strawberry or pear.  If you are those that like drier wines with a little bitterness and pucker to them, Chardonnay and Cabernet are a great place to start.   Finally, if you like heavy flavor wines, start with a dark Merlot.  There are both sweet and dry Merlots.  There are many, many varieties in between all these too, of course.  There are semi dry wines, low alcohol ones, and some that don’t really fit any category.  Then, as if all that fruit isn’t enough, there’s my personal favorite, Meads.  Meads are based with honey rather than a fruit.  A straight traditional mead uses nothing but water, yeast, and honey.  From there, they can be made into whatever the drinker wants them to be.  Melomels are mead with fruit flavors added to them, a blend of wine and mead, so to speak.  Braggot is a mead made with malted grain.  And that is just a start.  Like wine and beer, there are dozens of varieties you can make or buy commercially.

If you are new to wines or meads, a great place to try some and learn from people who make them is right at our SOB meetings!  We’ve almost always got some of one or the other, and the homebrewed mead at our meetings is better than most commercial ones, IMHO.  So come try some at an upcoming meeting!

Next month is the Annual Christmas Party, so no theme.  Just come celebrate the spirit of the holidays!