The Woodbridge Homebrewers Ale and Lager Enthusiast Society
The WHALES is an AHA registered homebrewing club based out of Central New Jersey that has been active since 1996. We have around 50-60 members in any given year. Despite the beer-centric name, the club is also equally involved in the production of mead (fermented honey), ciders and wines. The club promotes an ongoing education of various brewing techniques through brewer presentations (both peer members and professional brewers alike). Membership is also encouraged to develop their palettes through regular tastings of home brewed and commercial examples of all the BJCP recognized styles. Many of the members regularly achieve at least bronze medals in regular brewing competitions and a WHALES cider project even took a gold medal at the 2009 NHC. While most of the activities are geared towards promoting and growing the home brewing hobby, it remains a great social network for folks who share at least one passion; taking a hands-on approach to the beverages we love.
JJ Bittings brewpub (Main Street) in Woodbridge, NJ has been the WHALES home base and meeting location for about 10 years. We are grateful to have such generous hosts. Regular club meetings occur the 3rd Tuesday night of every month at 8pm. Depending on the agenda and the number tastings we do, most members filter out by 10:30pm. Official business usually takes an hour or so.
The club also meets for club projects at various members’ homes and has been known to move a meeting or two to a surrounding brewpub for a temporary change of scenery and an excuse to drink more beer.
Membership consists of people from all walks of life, all ages (21+ of course), and many areas of professional expertise. We’re happy to say that we also have two BJCP certified judges in our midst.
NOTE: As the club grows in size, it's especially important for new visitors to introduce yourselves to someone so that you're not lost in the shuffle. It would really help to show up at about 7:45 before the bulk of the membership arrives.
The WHALES encourage you to please enjoy homebrew responsibly. For more information about alcohol consumption, please visit the CDC website.
If you'd like more info about the club, don't hesitate to contact us.
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Whales Meeting Minutes and Newsletter for November 2013, Issue #181.
The November meeting was kicked off at 8:15pm by President Brad at our home base of JJ Bitting as usual. While we only had 20 members attend last month, we've made a comeback this time around with 35 members and 3 visitors. Brad recapped some of happenings from Ciderday's cider festival up in Greenfield, Mass. As per usual about 10 Whales made the trip. A small group of Whales also brewed at Love2brew for Teach a Friend to Brew Day which always coincides with the Ciderdays weekend.
Nov 2 - AHA Learn to Brew Day - Love2Brew hosted.
Nov 2-3 - Ciderdays.org cider festival in Greenfield, Mass.
Jan 18 - Whales Holiday Party at Rahway Italian-American Club (noon to 4ish?) MEMBERS ONLY
Jan 21- WCOC Any Belgian Comp Judged
Feb 1 - Multi-club Mixer at Princeton Homebrew Shop (Trenton) see discussion forum.
Bobby's Lambic Solera - Boyle Brothers will be bottling their first exchange 15 gallons in the newly aquired Belgian bottles. Jay B and Frank will be brewing the next exchange in January. The barrel contents haven't been tasted since July.
Craig's Belgain Dark Strong in a Bourbon Barrel brewed on September 14th, racked the beer into the barrel on October 19th and it's doing its thing until...
Joe S. and Gary's Wine Project was going through Malolactic fermentation at the time of the meeting.
Boyle Brothers finished the year in 1st place (duh) with 88 points. Craig E just barely edged out Sergio M for second place with 22 points. While this is a distant second, it should be noted that it's four points higher than last year's second place point total. Major contratulations are due for the Boyle Brothers for slaying the competition this year. Some of the highest point totals in the history of the Whales HBOY program have topped out at around 44 points (before they joined the club that is). Not that they needed any more props, but the mead-only comp Valhalla was cancelled for 2013 so they may have even broke the 90 point mark.
Whales Club Only Comp (WCOC):
Remember, the steering committee set the October WCOC to German Beers, the January 2014 comp to "Any Belgian", and April "Hop Showcase". While the goal is to involve the whole club in future WCOC theme decisions, the sudden cancellation of the AHA COCs required quick decisions to make early brewing feasible.
January's Any Belgian Theme should be pretty obvious.. Any BJCP category that includes beers styles of Belgian origin are eligiable. Bring your Dubs, Trips, Quads, Wits.. Categories 16, 18, and any 22C or 23 beers that have Belgian beer as a base.
Nice list of over ten pours... here we go: Brad and Jen brought a commercial: Allagash's House Beer; Ron and Mark: American Brown; Jon M: red IPA; Jay B: Hop Harvest Ale; Dennis M: Kohatu XPA; Dave R: Triple Mango IPA; Jannuzzis:Brown Porter; Mark's Cider with Saison yeast; Jon M: Cyser; Luke's Oaked Brazilian Pepper Mead; Jay D: Sweet Mead with Vanilla.
Despite previous years of moving to different locations for the December meeting, we're sticking with JJ Bitting this year. Same day, same time as usual. We'll be covering a few plates of appitizers for members for a little Holiday cheer. Jay D, our treasurer will continue to collect renewal dues at the December meeting. He usually gets upstairs about 7:30 so you can get settled up prior to meeting kickoff. Renewing members are expected, and highly encouraged, to get 2014 dues paid up by the December meeting. Making the treasurer bug you for months ahead is not a great way to thank him for an already thankless job.
The nominees for 2014 club leadership have been solidified as of the close of the Novemeber meeting and are as follows:
Bradley Jones (president, current) Jay Buchanan (secretary, current steering) Jay Desimone (2nd term treasurer, current treasurer Joe Januzzi Jr (steering existing) Bobby Mierzejwski (steering, current secretary) Keith Story (steering existing) Gary Weston (steering existing) Jennifer Jones (steering new) Craig Easton (steering new)
Note that President, Secretary, and Treasurer spots are locked in now since they were uncontested. However, since there are six nominations for the four available steering committee "members at large" seats, we will have a paper ballot vote at the December meeting. Good luck to all interested parties. The more people that step up and volunteer their time and ideas, the better!
As Brad mentioned at this meeting, the steering committee has drafted some basic plans and/or ideas for club activities in 2014 including the following:
Running through Seibel Off-Flavor tasting kits
Having door prize drawings at most regular club meetings
Peer Acknoledgement Awards for members that go above and beyond for the betterment of the club
Branded Full Sized glass giveaways
Pitchers of water at every table during meetings
Auto-generated emails for upcoming events
Beer Pairing Dinner?
Van Pool to NHC?
Club Brew with Breweries? Second Runnings contest?
More Club Equipment upgrades?
- Written by Jay Buchanan
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