Brewing beer brings people together and promotes a sense of community. Whether it’s getting together at your local brewery to quaff their creations or joining an online community, you and your “beer friends” are bound by your affection for barley-based fermented beverages. Homebrew clubs are a great way to not only find camaraderie, but also to improve your abilities. If you are a beer-loving female living in Salt Lake City, Utah, you really ought to be a Bombshell. The all-women’s homebrew club, Hop Bombshells, is here to add a little “girl power” to your brew!
The Hop Bombshells Homebrew Club was founded in 2013 by Jamie Burnham who was managing The Beer Nut at the time. The Beer Nut, a homebrew supply shop in Salt Lake, was being frequented by, not only bearded brew dudes, but also a number of women. Burnham took notice and began asking these women if they’d like to form a club. From the beginning, she wanted to bring education into it. “That was really important to me,” Burnham says, “I didn’t want to have a beer drinking club. While I like the social aspect of that, [it wasn’t] what the goal was for me.” As a result, Bombshell monthly meetings are more like school with all kinds of beer-related classes designed to empower women to not only be better brewers, but to also appreciate what they’re brewing…and drinking.
In addition to shared learning, Hop Bombshells are a fellowship of women that support one another. Embarking on a new hobby, especially a male-dominated one, can be overwhelming. Brewing beer is complicated, and it’s easy to be intimidated. Sure, we love the men in our lives, but it can at times be beneficial to take them out of the equation. There are a lot of great co-ed homebrew clubs that do an excellent job of being supportive of each other. Even so, there is a different dynamic with women. “Together as a group we are strong, powerful, and [most of all] confident,” says Burnham. “That’s our whole goal: to build confidence in women.”
If you love beer, but you’ve never homebrewed before and aren’t sure you want to, you can still be a Bombshell! I’m in the same boat. I started attending meetings just over a year ago, and I’ve loved every minute of it. First of all, what gal doesn’t want to meet and hang out with other women who love beer at least as much as she does? Earlier I described how attending Hop Bombshells is like going to school, but it’s also like going to church. The more you learn, the more you love, and the more you surround yourself with believers, the more you believe! I’m technically still a brewing virgin, but I’m on the verge of finally trying it, and when I do, I’ll have a whole army of Bombshells to assist in my development.
Once a quarter, the Hop Bombshells get together for a big brew day. Lady brewers converge on the yard of the chosen host with all of their brewing equipment and ingredients to spend the day hanging out and brewing beer. Often, participants will team up in pairs to brew their batches. Its an opportunity for a beginner to brew with a more advanced brewer and get a better feel for the process. Its also a good time to observe the methods of other brewers and potentially pick up a few tips to assist in your own brewing style. If you need to borrow a piece of equipment, you’ll most likely have access to what you need. Bombshells can also use the club’s library of brewing equipment whenever they need to at no charge.
Learning to brew beer can be a rewarding experience. Burnham tells me, “Its a creative outlet for people. Nobody’s tastes are exactly alike. You can be as creative and far out as you want to be. There’s really no judgement in that.” The possibilities are endless. With the aid and encouragement of a homebrew club, who knows what you might achieve? There are many brewing mysteries waiting to be revealed. Not only will there be beer to drink, but a sense of accomplishment to go along with it. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.