Beer- The great unifier. I mean, think about it. Who doesn’t love beer? It’s been around for thousands of years, on every continent and in most civilizations. It’s help people stay alive when it was safer to drink than water. It’s given folks the confidence to change the world, like the colonist during the revolution. There’s even been God’s and Goddesses dedicated to the creation of beer. It’s easy to see just how much humans love and depend on the magic liquid. However, with all this love of beer, most people don’t know anything at all about how to make or brew beer. Insert the creation of homebrew clubs. A group dedicated to the art of brewing at home. Hundreds have popped up across the US. Including one, right here in Oklahoma City, The Red Earth Brewers.
Before we dive into exactly what Red Earth Brewers are and do, let’s get a quick history on the beer industry here in Oklahoma. One might assume, or just simply not remember, but being part of the beer industry in Oklahoma hasn’t always been easy. In fact, home brewing was illegal in the state until 2010. The same year that the law was changed, Red Earth Brewers was founded by Gail Johnson-Shore, who also started the local homebrew store, aptly named The Brew Shop. What started out 12 years ago as a group of beer drinkers has turned into a group of over 100 fermenting friends. In 2014, the club reached a new milestone and became a 501c (7), and in 2015 won a scholarship from Grandstand that help cement them in the homebrewer’s world.
The mission of Red Earth Brewers is to promote the education and appreciation of homebrewed beers, ciders, wines, and meads while at the same time forging relationships with the Oklahoma brewing community. This is of course accomplished through education, research, dissemination of information as well as volunteering in all areas related to the craft of brewing. This mission is kept alive by REB members and President Nick Hodge. Hodge has been a member of REB since 2014. “I had been brewing for about 4 years before joining Red Earth. At the time (2014), there were two clubs in OKC. One was free, and one (Red Earth) had dues associated. Red Earth seemed more active and organized at the time, but I wasn’t sure that I would have the time for a club, nor an avenue to give back to a club that I might join. Turns out, I had both.” Hodge recalls, “One evening at the annual Zoo Brew event, I happened upon the Red Earth Brewers table and began talking to some of the members. Over the course of a few minutes, I quickly realized that this was the club I needed to be a part of. They were friendly, eager to talk about brewing and were interested in what I was doing, and very helpful with the quick questions I had about my processes. I am a software developer by trade. I began building a new website for Red Earth. After presenting it to the club, they created a spot on the officer board so that I could help use that website to deliver much-needed communication to members and prospective members. From there, I became the Vice-President (2016) and began growing our competition footprint. That year Red Earth Brewers hosted its first BJCP sanctioned competition. A year later, I became President. I am currently in my second term as club President. My primary goals for Red Earth are to foster an ever-growing community of brewers, promote the education of homebrewing, and to build our competitions while maintaining a healthy and responsible atmosphere where people can enjoy the art of brewing beer.”