The Marshfield Area Society of Homebrewers wants to share their passion with everyone
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield Area Society of Homebrewers (MASH) is a group of eggheads, mad scientists, and gadget lovers. That is, if you ask them.
“Some of us are scientists, some of us are gadgeteers, and if you’re a gadget person or a science person, there’s a lot about the hobby to appeal to feeding that part of your psyche,” said MASH member Michael Conard.
“Mad scientists, that’s all we are,” added MASH President Justin Graff.
There are between 25-35 members in MASH, which was founded in 2007. The group meets at the Blue Heron Brew Pub/West 14th Restaurant the first Thursday of every month in the Parkin Room, and often the Brew Pub involves the group in brewing competitions with winning beers finding their way to the taps of the restaurant. In those cases the home brewer will be invited to make the beer inside of the Brew Pub, but for the most part MASH members live up to their names and make their beer at home.
“We typically brew in our garages or in each other’s garages or even in our kitchens,” Graff said.
MASH is also working with the Brew Pub on a program where the group will make a half or full barrel of an experimental beer that would then be kept on tap at the restaurant.
“They support us in everything,” Graff said of the Brew Pub. He added that MASH consistently takes part in the Brew Pub’s events, including its Oktoberfest celebration and more recently the Marshfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Best of Marshfield Dinner that was held at West 14th.
MASH’s monthly meetings begin with education, and anyone is invited to sit in and see if they might like to join the club.
“That’s what home brewing clubs are really about is learning more about your hobby, your craft, and learning to evaluate beers,” said Conard. He added that the process of beer making and all of its complexity drew him to the hobby.
All walks of life are represented in MASH, a wide array of different career fields and experience levels.
“People who’ve been professional brewers are in our club. People who have never brewed a beer in their life are in our club,” Graff said. “It’s all kind of communed around the fact that there’s an interest in the scientific portion around producing good beer at that point. Everybody’s a little bit eggheadish.”
Conard and Graff both said that anyone interested in learning about home brewing will find a welcoming environment among home brewers. They said there is a culture in home brewing of people wanting to help others learn about the process and share the passion of beer making.
Graff said that MASH is a part of the exploding craft beer industry, though he added that the industry is growing so fast that it is getting away from the roots of home brewing.
“It’s even written into our bylaws that we educate about home brewing and we support the craft beer industry. The craft beer industry in a lot of ways is born out of all the home brewers. … Craft beer is getting so big now that it is tending to pull away from the smaller clubs,” Graff said.
Conard added that there may be less people getting involved in home brewing because now there is so much craft beer readily available to people that they do not need to make it themselves. Craft beer, Graff said, is anything brewed in an amount less than 250,000 barrels per year, but Conard had a different interpretation.
“Any brewery that doesn’t care if they spill a little beer down the drain (or) on the floor during the process is too big to be called a craft brewery anymore,” Conard said.
Graff noted that home brewers are not allowed to sell their beer for profit but that they often donate their beer to local events.
To learn more about the Marshfield Area Society of Homebrewers, visit mash54449.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.