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January 2021 Lehigh Valley Homebrewers Newsletter

Happy New Year from Lehigh Valley Homebrewers!

On behalf of the officers, I would like to wish each of you a happy and healthy new year and may all of your homebrew exceed your expectations! 2020 was an unprecedented year in many aspects of our lives and our club operations were impacted as well. Obviously, one big example of club changes was our switch to virtual monthly meetings. Another change was how we ran our annual club competition, Malt Madness, through a series of social distanced judging sessions. What we proved is that our club is flexible and just as versatile as all the beer styles we brew. I'd also like to thank last year's president, Mel Homik, for his dedication and leadership through a challenging year!

Now, let's introduce the slate of club officers for 2021:

President: John Litak

Vice President: Ken Solt

Secretary: Dan Miller

Treasurer: Steve Anthony

The officers and I are already excited about some new ideas that we have planned for 2021. There are some brand new ideas, some twists on old club favorites, as well as still some opportunities to be flexible and adjust to what 2021 throws our way.

First, I'd like to introduce a major change to our "in-club" competitions, for 2021, we'll be announcing a new overall competition:

Lehigh Valley Homebrewer of the Year

This will be an all encompassing competition that runs all year long with multiple types of brewing contests, incorporating BJCP-style specific competitions, Iron Brewer ingredient-based challenges, and collaboration/charity brew events. The main difference between this and the prior Bracket and Iron Brewer competitions will be that this is a points-based competition rather than single elimination tournaments. We received feedback that an unlucky draw or bad batch would result in elimination and minimize participation for the other rounds. That really resonated with us, as the goal of these competitions, other than to give out some bragging rights and other prizes, is to encourage homebrewers to try new styles and techniques. Please join us at the January Meeting where we will lay out the full set of rules and competition calendar! (Sneak peak: the first competition will be BJCP-style based due March 19th with styles of 13A: English Dark Mild or 14A: Scottish Light. You can choose your style, however there will be some difficulty bonus points awarded for placing with a Scottish Light.)

There are a couple other exciting items planned for this year, so tune in to the meeting to get the latest updates on '21 memberships, competition updates, BJCP classes, and some other surprises!

-John Litak

LVHB Club President

Future Meetings:

January 26 - Zoom - RSVP Here Beer Homework: Yards Brawler and/or Bonn Place Nemo, and Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale

Meetings are open to anyone (21 and older) who home brews (beer, wine, mead) or is interested in learning about home brewing.  Our club has over 30 certified judges and several members who have "gone pro" by opening their own brewery, meadery, or distillery! - So bring your latest craft creation and get some constructive feedback and/or accolades!


Meeting Minutes

LVHB Holiday Party - Tuesday, 29 December

Thank you to all that joined us for the annual holiday party. While we weren't able to get together at one of our favorite beer bars or breweries, we were undeterred in our celebration.

We had 30 unique zoom participants, often with multiple household members, and some members continuing the celebration past 1AM!

Members enjoyed the entertaining performances of the contestants in our two virtual "game shows" of the evening, "Guess the Fake Beer Name: 2020 Pandemic Edition" and "The Brewlywed Game" where long time brewing buddies were quizzed on each other's brewing habits!

Congratulations to Mark Weiss for showing the best ability to identify fact from fiction beer names and to the pair of Mike Lessa and Ryan Wieand who proved they could shock the audience with their uncanny ability to match each other's answers! Gift cards are on the way for our winners!

Finally, thank you to Mel and Steve for organizing the club holiday beer buy, ensuring we could share our tasting notes on some holiday themed beers as we celebrated the end of the year together. Also, a thanks is needed to "gone-pro" homebrew club member, Bob Piano, for hosting the distribution of the holiday beers at his distillery, Gallows Hill Spirits. Be sure to stop by, his bartenders are always concocting something delicious and they offer canned cocktails to go!



Here are some upcoming events, we'll add more specifics as we work out the details for these events.

Big Brew - May 2021

BJCP Classes - Summer 2021

Members Picnic - Summer 2021

Malt Madness - August 2021

Learn to Homebrew Day - November 2021

Holiday Party - December 2021


OUR BREWERS (are awesome)

Join us at the next meeting to hear about the successes and contributions of our brewers to the homebrew and professional brewing community.

Lehigh Valley Homebrewers Dave and Erin Anderson continue making progress on opening their own brewery! Please support them by ordering a first edition Buttzville Brewing T-shirt!



Bracket Competition

Check out the latest on the bracket here. Finalists have been contacted to submit their final entries. We'll announce the winner at the January Meeting! The winning brewer(s) will get to collaborate with Dave Barber of Taylor House Brewing to make a commercial version of their winning entry to be served in the Taylor House Tap Room!

Black is Beautiful

At the January meeting, we will wrap up this competition and share what we've collected for charity. If you've been waiting on donating, please submit your donations by Friday January 15th. The donation page will stop accepting donations at that time.



Full list is available here.

War of the Worts



The details for most of our happenings (news, events, etc.) will either be included in the monthly newsletter or will be found on the LVHB Website Club Info page.   More random thoughts, photos, and links will be shared via the club Facebook page.   Find photos of our brewing activities on Instagram!  @lehighvalleyhomebrewers

LVHB T-Shirts

LVHB t-shirts are being redesigned for 2021.

Member Benefits

Keystone Homebrew Supply offers 10% off online and in-store purchases for LVHB members as well as a points based loyalty reward program.  They offer weekly local delivery on Saturday at Bonn Place in Bethlehem (just place your order by Thursday).  Keystone offers full sacks of grain as well as a large selection of brewing and wine making equipment.  Also, for most local competitions they provide a drop off point so you don't have to mail in your entries! Hop and Grain offers members 20% off purchases on their online store, free shipping and flexible local pick-up options.  You'll find them very accommodating, even if you require a special order.

There's no excuse not to brew because you can't get ingredients or equipment!  Thank you to the local shops that support our club!

See all the benefits of membership as well as how to join here.

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