Suds Duds Society always tries to support local homebrew clubs affiliated with the highlighted brewery of the month. Beer Can Island Brewers was chosen to be the highlighted homebrew club because they are good friends with the KJ & Jillian of Leaven Brewing. Jay Patel, one of the Founding Fathers of BCIB, was invited and attended the very first Suds Duds Social at Leaven Brewing. We set up a tab for the homebrew club to enjoy some beer and hold a loose meeting on a Saturday night. One of many topics discussed was the beer brewed before the event; a Grisette.
Grisettes were originally brewed for miners in Belgium's Hainaut region. It is an off-shoot of a saison with longer boil times and large amounts of unmalted wheat (up to 40%). Mining work and high alcohol beers don't mix well so the style traditionally comes in around 4% ABV. Maybe not to the extent of modern IPA's, the grisette is hopped heavier than most farmhouse beers later in the boil and whirlpool additions. Let's just call it a session Belgium IPA! Now that we have had our beer history lesson... It is time for our history lesson on the Beer Can Island Brewers.
Tom Tanner and I (Jay Patel) met in the fall of 2013 when I was shopping
around for some vessels to set up my brew stand. Tom posted an empty keg
for sale on our neighborhood classifieds. I reached out to him about it and one
thing led to another. We started talking about home brewing and it grew from
there. By the spring of 2014 we had found several others interested in
participating in a group and we formed Beer Can Island Brewers.
The name Beer Can Island Brewers was born and it didn’t take long for us
to start attracting members. Locals know Beer Can Island as the small island
in Tampa Bay officially called Pine Island. Since there was no other local homebrew club within 10 miles our goal was to become THE home brew club in South Shore. Original members Tom Tanner, Jay Patel, Dr. Matt McDowell, and Matt Gordon began promoting and marketing the club by wearing t-shirts we had printed with the Beer Can Island Brewers logo.
Today, the group is strong with about 20-25 members, men and women, and
each brings a variety of experience from beginning homebrewers to some
seriously experienced ones. Some just like beer and wanted to learn how to
brew it, while others have been homebrewing for 20 years. It’s a bit of a
mash-up as the group includes pharmacists, sales reps, retirees, real estate
agents, and IT folks just to name a few.
If you live in the Tampa area, hit them up and go to one of their meetings/events. You may even seem them pouring their homebrew at local events. Meetings usually take place at a member's house and they always break down a process of brewing with different ways it can be accomplished. They are all about educating, learning from each other and happy to mentor beginners. There "membership fee" is purchasing a Beer Can Island Brewers shirt. Sounds like a great deal to me.... Support small beer at all levels and cheers!