Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lucid AHA Rally

This past weekend Lucid Brewing in Minnetonka hosted the third American Homebrewer's Association (AHA) rally to be held in Minnesota.  The first was held by Surly several years back and they pioneered a new trend in rallies of giving away freshly brewed wort to the attendees.  The second rally was last year at Summit and included plenty of free Summit ales, raffles and tours of the brewery.  This year Lucid has opened up their doors to us humble homebrewers in a most impressive way.

Lucid has been around since 2011, started by John Messier and the appropriately named Eric Biermann as a production brewery.  With the advent of the Surly Bill for on site tap rooms, they quickly began serving pints at the brewery as well as continuing with growler sales.  Currently they are distributing beer all over the state in bottles, and on tap at a growing number of pubs and restaurants.  These guys were in the early wave of Minnesota breweries and have not let up their lead on the market.  They currently share brewing and fermenting space in a large warehouse with Badger Hill and Bad Weather brewing companies.

Lucid has embraced the homebrewing community since the beginning, hosting big brews and contributing to homebrew events frequently.  For this I give them a lot of credit!  Hosting this large scale homebrew rally surely took a lot of effort, money and risk.

Crowds of thirsty homebrewers in their natural habitat...

The day of the rally began around 10 AM (earlier for the organizers I'm sure) with folks from several local homebrew clubs converging on the area and setting up their own brew systems in the large parking lot to brew along with the national AHA Big Brew Day.  This seems to have gone without a hitch and many were still working on their batches by the time we showed up, around 1 PM. 

Upon arrival, we were carded and signed in by volunteers.  We each received a Lucid pint glass, with a ticket for raffle and a ticket for a free drink or food item.  They had a stand selling food, a trailer with several Lucid beer taps, and a stand for buying more tickets.  Right as we arrived John Messier came out of the brewery and gave a quick speech whilst wielding a full glass boot full of beer.  I missed part of this as I was finishing up with signing in, but he and the crowd were certainly having a great time! 

Isn't that a pretty sight? 

I promptly used my drink ticket for a Foto IPA and enjoyed drinking that in the warming sun.  Jack Of All Brews was well represented at the festival, as were MHBA, Primary Fermenters and too many other clubs to mention.  A good turn out for sure!  There were scheduled lectures by local homebrewing gurus: I heard good things about Brett Glenna's earlier water talk, and caught snippets of Steve Piatz talking about meads.  The fine folks from Midwest Supplies (yo Brent and Randy!) were manning a booth, selling discounted plastic carboys and hop rhizomes, and it is always great to see those guys at events.  I also tried a bunch of interesting Kombucha flavors from a local producer.  Much homebrew was circulating, and several other commercial beers were shared as well.  Kevin M. from the River City Brewers let me sample some cool beers, including a wonderful Flanders Red that their club did in a barrel.  This was a veritable circus of beer stuff (minus the side show.) 

This is the first time I've actually been to the Lucid brewery and it was a great experience.  I was able to look into the brewery itself and ogle the enormous space they have wonder they share with two other breweries!  A second serving station inside the brewery was active and pouring several different beers from those outside.  I ended up getting a Duo double IPA there, which was the best beer I've had from Lucid so far.  I'll be adding my description of that on an upcoming double IPA smackdown blogpost. 

Action shot of my friend Mark pouring me a Duo!

Of course I have to mention the fact that Lucid provided those of us who pre-registered with 5 gallons of freshly brewed wort to be used for our own nefarious purposes.  We dropped off our empty and sanitized carboys on arrival and then picked them up magically filled on our way out.  The recipe is a double black IPA.  I'm sort of a black IPA hater, so this is certainly not something I would have brewed myself, but I'm excited to see what I can do with the wort.  I added a smack pack of Wyeast American Ale yeast and rehydrated pack of dry American ale yeast as well once I got home that day.  The following day I opened the door into my basement and could smell the hops from the fermenting brew all the way at the top of the stairs!  I have a couple ounces of leaf Citra hops that I'll probably add as dry hops down the line as well.  I am very interested to see what everyone else does with their wort as well and hope to have a tasting event organized sometime in the next month or so.  The Surly brown strong ale wort from several years back keeps showing up in various forms at homebrew club meetings, but I think this hop bomb will need to consumed pretty fresh. 

Lucid paired with National Camera Exchange (this may have been where the Foto name came from) for the event as well.  They had photographers taking pictures of the event and also pictures of homebrewers in front of a Lucid backdrop.  I recently bought my first real digital camera from them and am about half way through the free classes they offer with purchase.  I have only good things to say about those guys.  In fact these pictures were all taken with my new camera!

JAB and Lucid shot by National Camera Exchange!

Overall I think this event was a great success.  When I heard that Lucid was planning the rally on the same day as their Big Brew event and with a wort giveaway, I thought they were certifiably insane.  The logistics are mind boggling, especially when trying to wrangle notoriously independent homebrewers into some semblance of order.  But they really pulled it off!  The Big Brews were smooth and relaxed.  The lines for tickets, beers and wort were all clearly marked and well run.  I want to thank Lucid for taking on this epic event and for volunteering time, tasty beer and swag for us homebrewers.  I am humbled.  Also thanks to everyone else involved as either sponsors or volunteers. 


John Focht said...

Let me know if you need help draining that BIPA!

Kevin Meintsma said...

Eric - Thanks for the mention - it's a lot of fun sharing our beer with other clubs and random attendees. Next year, perhaps you guys will join us for Big Brew!

sgt2531 said...

Thank you Lucid and all the volunteers. It was a great event. I fermented my wort with a 3rd generation of Wyeast 1056 and 1728. Then dry hopped with 1oz of CTZ (super DANK!). I am still enjoying it and I believe the results were great/tasty! Interested in learning what others did with their wort.

Jon Messier said...

Thanks for coming out and for the great write up! We had a blast, especially after a boot or two!

Our homebrewing community is un-matched and we're lucky to have gotten our start with such a great support system.

Jon Messier

iowantabeer said...

We had such a great time! The brew turned out great!!