Beer-The Great Unifier: Red Earth Brewers

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.”

Red Earth Brewer’s members are active in various brewing completions locally and nationally. They support their members on becoming a cicerone, a certification that one can get with the highest level of knowledge for beer, as well as Beer Judge Certification Program. REB members are nationally known through competitions and participation in the American Homebrew Association. This past month REB hosted the Red Earth Brewers Spring Brew-Off competition with over 200 entries from homebrewers all over the US. With entries from stouts and sours to pilsners and ambers, everything in-between, choosing one to take home the winning title. REB furthers its mission by supporting local homebrewers and providing them with the education and resources to improve their brewing. They also have made a massive impact on breweries here in Oklahoma City and the State. Out of the 67 breweries in the state of Oklahoma, 9 have been started by members of Red Earth and currently, there are several others that are in planning stages and will soon be among the industry. Prior to 2013, Oklahoma had only 10 breweries. So, it’s safe to say that homebrewing has changed the state and its access to great craft beer. Along with supporting local homebrewers, REB stays connected to the community by offering to help with local fundraisers like OKC Marathon, Zoo Brew, Mesta Festa, and OK Bio Brewfest to name a few. Several of OKC’s local breweries often reach out to Red Earth when they need extra hands with tasks like canning day help, pouring event or serving help, building taproom furniture, or anything else with which they need help. REB club members offer a lot, however, according to Hodge, “Most importantly, they form a community of individuals who have a significant interest in brewing. That community then fosters education and outreach to help each other become better brewers and maybe one day start breweries of their own.”

Anyone can be a great homebrewer just like anyone can join Red Earth Brewers. All craft beer enthusiasts who are 21yrs of age or older may become a member of Red Earth Brewers, regardless of brewing experience. Yearly dues of $30 are required to become and maintain membership. Guests may attend up to 3 meetings without signing up to be members. Red Earth Brewers meet twice a month. The first is their formal meeting that is on the third Tuesday of every month. Additionally, they gather on the first Thursday of each month for an informal Happy Hour as a way for prospective members and friends to gather and hang out at one of the local breweries or craft beer establishments.

Whether you’re a lover of beer, a hopeful brewer, or just curious about being active in a great club, Red Earth Brewers are here for you. Simply put, homebrewing is easy to get started. You can purchase a simple setup from a local store, from around $150-200. Learn to brew your favorite style and don’t worry. The member of Red Earth Brewers are here to help every step of the way. Cheers to Beer, the great social connector.

By Published On: June 10th, 2022Categories: Homebrew0 Comments

About the Author: Laconia Butler

Laconia Butler
Laconia is a born and bred Cali girl, whose traveled all over the US before landing in OKC. While she lived all over, she has come to truly love her new home and embrace her Okie family history. Her love of adventure and inability to say no has led to many life stories that she loves to share with others. Everything from getting lost in a jungle and almost stepping on a poisonous snake, to sailing with dolphins and humpback whales, beers at baseball games, crashing music festivals and dancing on bar tops, always living life to the fullest. Growing up in a big city gave her a love and appreciation of different cultures and traditions. Her background is working with museums and non-profits in public programming and outreach education. So yes, she will go with you to that art opening and gala. If she isn’t at a museum or off on an adventure you can find her trying out the new beer releases at the local breweries or chowing down at local restaurants. A self-proclaimed expert on all things noodles and nachos. Being a part of the community is important to her, as she is active with several non-profit and service organization. However, above all else she is a Super Nerd. A collector (and reader) of books, bugs, plants and anything and everything Star...Wars, Trek, NASA, it all. In fact, if you want to have a heart to heart about the Skywalker legacy and superiority of certain droids- Laconia is your girl. Oh, and if you have a dog, she will 100% ask to pet it and make it her new BFF. All in all, she is excited to be a part of the great local food, drink and music scene and can’t wait to explore it even more!

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