Jamboree 2016! Beer people are the best people

Last year Jennie and I were only able to make it up to the New England Homebrewers Jamboree, or Jambo for Saturday afternoon. The event starts on Friday night, goes all day Saturday, and most attendees camp Saturday night and pack up on Sunday morning.

I enjoyed lots of great beer. But over a course of two days they did kind of run together. For next year I might bring a notepad to take down some quick tasting notes. At least then I can go back and have a chance to have a better recollection.

Friday night featured an authentic, German-style dinner. Think sausages, sauerkraut, dilled carrots, strudel. The food was excellent. I love how Oktoberfest has become almost like a German St. Patrick’s Day where everyone, even people who aren’t German, can celebrate German culture, especially German beer!

Jambo organizers encouraged everyone to bring German-style beers for Friday night. I didn’t have time to brew another beer, but I did have some bottles of a bock that I brewed over two years ago. At the time it was one of the best beers that I had brewed, and it really has held up nicely. The feedback the beer received was positive. The 12 bottles I brought didn’t last the night. This is a recipe I would love to revisit in the future when I have the equipment to make lagers again.

Jennie and I parked our cars and set up our tent right across from where the Metro South Homebrew League were set up. I met those guys at other events, including Homebrew Con. As the night wound down we hung out with those guys, shared some beers and grilled cheese sandwiches. On Saturday I beat club member Vinny in the worst game of Beirut in the history of the sport to win a club-branded glass.

I set up my beer at the North Shore Brewers tent on Friday night, and on Saturday morning we iced everything down. Shortly after setting up, Michael Scroth co-founder of Stone Path Malts walked up to our club’s tent to talk about his malt. I pulled him over to show him the beer I made with his malt. He was excited to try it and really enjoyed the beer. The passion he has for his malt was obvious. I look forward to brewing with Stone Path Malts again. 

Jamboree was my first time to try three of the US of IPA beers. The idea was to have a vertical where attendees tried all of them and noted the regional differences. Jambo is too crazy to conduct anything that orderly. I was able to pull a couple of people aside, including Dave Rowland co-owner of SoMe Brewing.

SoMe is run by a father and son team. When Jennie and I visited SoMe during Portsmouth Beer Week 2015 we met Dave’s father David at the brewery. I also told him how we rented the Granite State Growler Tour bus for a bachelor party, and how it got out of hand. Evidently our group earned something of a reputation as he remembered hearing about our antics. He introduced me to Butch Heilshorn the owner of Earth Eagle Brewings. I was able to apologize for some things I said online that I probably should not have. Butch couldn’t have been more cool or understanding.

What is great is that two professional brewers went out of their way to attend a homebrew event. Dave was there with his club. I also met some awesome brewers while judging in the competition. When I say that beer people are the best people, in my experience beer people are the most engaging, irreverent, and approachable group of people I have come across. 

Next time I’m at Jamboree I’ll make more of an effort to find some beer inspiration. At its core beer is often more about the people than the liquid (as long as the interaction isn’t forced). Events like Jamboree are a reminder of that. 

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