With the explosion of Toledo’s craft beer scene over the past few years, it’s become commonplace to see casual drinkers dissing “lite” brews in favor of trying the latest craft beers on draft. In fact, if you look for it, lurking in the corner of any given bar you can catch at least one drinker’s face glowing behind their phone as they carefully catalog every microbrew they try into their Untappd beer app to earn badges and bragging rights over their beer-dork friends like some bizarro, alcoholic Pokemon game. And this phenomenon hasn’t stopped at bars; for the past few years a growing group of Toledoans has gone a step further and taken their hobby home with them. Enter the Glass City Mashers.
“Blame it on Martha Stewart,” said Scott Yarnell, president of the Toledo-based homebrewing club. “The DIY movement isn’t just for potpourri and doilies, we’ve been making beer at home for years.” The group formed in late 2011 and has only been growing since then. From humble beginnings to currently 70 due-paying members, these hop heads meet up once a month at The Attic on Adams to discuss different beers style and how they’re made. “It’d be easy to think of homebrewing as unapproachable to your average drinker, but you wouldn’t be more wrong!” exclaimed Scott, and the Mashers are willing to put their money where their beer holes are.
The Mashers are holding free classes, open to the public without advanced signup to show you the ins and outs of home brewing, all in honor of the National Homebrewers Association's 15th annual Learn to Homebrew Day. The classes will be hosted by Titgemeier’s on Western Avenue and will start at 9am and run through the afternoon. Scott’s 20 years of homebrewing experience, teamed with a handful of other seasoned homebrewers will provide the knowledge needed to get any curious craft beer fan started. “We’ll be exploring the 3 different ways to brew, extract, partial mash and all-grain. And if the bug bites you, Titgemeier’s will have everything you need to get started, available for sale all day,” said Yarnell.
Several of the Mashers themselves have mastered the art of beer and taken it to the next level. There are brewers like Scott, still tweaking his recipes for local and national competitions, to some of the Mashers’ founding members, Tom Schaffer and Bob Hall, who bonded over their love of beer in the group and are due to open up the Black Cloister Brewery in downtown Toledo in the coming months.
“Making good beer is easy, making great beer is nearly impossible,” said Yarnell, “What started as a fun hobby for most of us has become a bit of an obsession. Don’t get me wrong, it’s challenging and can be a little frustrating, but at the end of the day there’s nothing better than sitting down with a cold mug of a beer you brewed up yourself.” So whether you have a thirst for beer knowledge or just really like drinking, Learn to Homebrew Day looks to be a great event for beer layman and connoisseurs alike.
Saturday November 1, classes start at 9am and run through 2pm. Check out Titgemeier’s at 701 Western Ave. For info, call 419-243-3731 or check out the Mashers’ website at glasscitymashers.org.