A Beer Judge’s Diary: Zoom!!!!!! to Great Meetings

Picture courtesy Russell Scott

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 Yeah, ya’ll have to know: best to meet via the internet these days due to COVID. I downloaded Zoom on my laptop and the home computer just before the first one we attended with Music City Brewers: a version of what we used to call Thirsty Thursday.Thirsty Thursday tends to be a little chaotic anyway, so that wasn’t a surpise. The net made it a little worse, but not much.
 It’s still a good idea even if it’s the more social gatherings people used to have way, way, WAY back in time. You know a month, more or less?
 I’ve already found a microphone, now I have to find a camera for the home PC. I swore it had one. These days it’s no humongous surprise that stores are sold out. Onward to the net.
  I felt Zoom shined the next day during this month’s regular meeting for Clarksville Carboys, Clarksville, TN. Meetings for various clubs that have become irregular due to COVID. I liked the fact I discovered a section where we could type in comments as the meeting rolled on, raise a hand if you want to speak and other features. I really like it that members can be muted making a meeting orderly. I usually find it annoying that at the many meetings I’ve been to, for various clubs, too often there are at least two people blathering a little too loudly in the background. Can’t say I’ve NEVER been the guilty party, but usually not.
 It makes for an orderly meeting AND side conversation that can be paid attention to… or not. Bet some spouses wish they had that feature. I’m typing this VERY QUIETLY so Millie doesn’t hear. Uh, oh… I think she did. What am I typing, dear? Why nothing at all. NOTHING.
 We had a beer we were all supposed to pick up from The Star Spangled Brewing Co., as directed by fellow brew club member Allen Duvall who is now the brewer at Star Spangled. We were impressed: everything we tried there was good. The beer we were to pick up was an American Pils, Allen said from the 2008 Guidelines. We all talked about it. It reminded me of a Pre-Prohibition Lager: maltier, firm bitter… I could almost become a lager convert. Almost. Sorry I prefer my hint of ale yeast driven fruit to hint of lager yeast driven sulfur. That’s just me, and I’ve had plenty of ales with an imperceptible fruit sense. And plenty of lagers with an imperceptible sulfur sense. This was one of them, though I’d have to try it again to be sure.
 First Andy Howell covered the usual club business, and then Allen Duvall went into depth about his job at Star Spangled, the American Pils, the process by which he arrived at his recipe for the Pils, and planning recipes at the brewery in general. Fascinating.
 Eventually we had general conversation, which included a few member’s pets. Jackie Lawrence’s border collie-like dog kept popping onto the screen to socialize with us and for mistress lickings. I swear Payson: collie in the rough, was jealous and jumped up on his master then lick, lick, lick. Point being we get to see each other in our natural environments, with the added plus you can alter the background if you wish.
 Spreadsheets and lists can also be placed on screen so all can see immediately. That’s not normally a meeting option without projection or passing out sheets. Yes!
 Not sure what others were sipping, but after the Pils we had Dogfish 120 (LOVE it) and a NOLA/Terrapin collaboration: barreled stout with lactose. Like too many lactose beers, to both of us, there was almost no base beer and absolutely no barrel. Sigh.
 In the end there are a lot of advantages, and perhaps the biggest was after a growler of the Pils, 120 and a big bottle of lactose soup, we didn’t have to go anywhere. We just shut down the web and continued our War of the Roses game that we have been playing since we met in 74. I found Millie’s bear trap in the bathroom, but I just checked and the trip wire I laid in the bedroom is still there. I typed that VERY QUIETLY so Millie didn’t hear. Uh, oh… I think she did. What am I typing, dear? Why nothing. Nothing at all.
Zoom meetings? Thumbs up from us.

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 A Beer Judge’s Diary is one of many columns by Ken Carman, Certified BJCP beer judge, homebrewer since 1979 and seeker of both simple and complex quaffs who once upon a time thought he didn’t care all that much for beer. Then he discovered brews beyond the standard fare’ available on the east coast in the 60s. Thus the adventure began.
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