Category Archives: Meetings

Charlie Papazian Meets with PALE ALES

Charlie Papazian, the Godfather of all things homebrew, came out to a PALE ALES meeting in 2000. Here’s an excerpt from the May 2000 issue of the PALE ALES newsletter recapping the visit:

Charlie Papazian, homebrewing guru, kicked off his East Coast tour in Princeton this past April 8th at the Susan Paterson Center in Princeton. No surprise that it was one of the biggest events hosted by the club, with close to 90 people in attendance.

Charlie regaled attendees with many humorous stories about homebrewing. Some that stick out:

* Charlie had been using this Lager yeast for over ten years to make all of these great eclectic beers. He had gotten the yeast from someone at Coors, but never knew what it was. It turned out after many years the strain was identified (by the id number on the vessel), and he found that he was fermenting Budweiser!!!

* Charlie mentioned that in many blind taste tests of local American beers verses big name imports, that the American beers typically always win. Of course, when the labels are visible, the opposite result occurs. As he put it “We drink with our eyes.”

* In early brewing days, Charlie had fashioned his brewing recipes
for 13 gallon batches, an odd size. Someone had asked him – “Why 13 gallons Charlie?”. His response “That’s the most beer you can fit in a trash can!”

* Some insights into Charlie’s first batches of beer (many of which
were quite undrinkable!) – he used baker’s yeast and cane sugar, and he stirred with his hand.

* Other words of wisdom – Support your local homebrewer. Buy good ingredients. Relax, have a homebrew.

This was my first encounter with Charlie and I found him humorous, honest, friendly, and laid back – in short, very much into the spirit of the event and homebrewing. (Myself and half a dozen PALE ALES members also joined Charlie and wife Sandra for dinner at Triumph prior to the event.) Charlie chatted with whoever approached him and of course signed many a book that evening.

After Charlie’s talk, people mingled, drank and ate, and we held the
BYHB, with ten people moving on.

Speaking of food and beer, both were plentiful and excellent. Stouts, bitters, Stickebier, pale ales and many others mingled with many exotic food offerings from club members. (Maybe, we should have something like this every year – like around the Holidays). River Horse Brewery glasses signed by Papazian were given out to attendees as door prizes.

Kudos to V-P team Andrew Koontz and Laurie Harmon for finding this excellent meeting place (two fridges, free parking, a full kitchen, and lots of space!!) Also, thanks to all the volunteers who helped things run so smoothly!

The nominal admission fee of $5 covered all of the club’s expenses. Charlie’s other expenses (except dinner and cab fare) were covered by tour sponsors Crosby & Baker, White Labs, and Briess. IMHO, one of the best events yet hosted by your friendly neighborhood homebrew club – PALE ALES. Who knows maybe we will host Michael Jackson next?