Crooked Eye holds first homebrew club meeting

By Matt Schickling
Wire Staff Wire

MATT SCHICKLING / WIRE PHOTO

Men like to sit around and talk about beer, preferably over a beer, with access to more beer.

That’s exactly what Crooked Eye Brewery is offering on the third Wednesday of every month with its homebrew club. The group held its inaugural meeting last week at the brewery in Hatboro.

As local brewers were filtering in, the Crooked Eye staff was finishing up a batch of its Hazy Eye Double IPA, which gave the tasting room an appropriate beer-y aroma.

“I want people to come and just talk about beer,” Crooked Eye’s head brewer Jeff Mulherin said. “I got my start in homebrewing, too.”

And the club, which drew about 10 participants despite the wintry conditions on local roads, dove right in to discussions about brewing beer at home and how each can benefit from such a club.

Participants had varying levels of experience, from years of brewing at home to some who tried a few times using small kits to some who are just looking for a new hobby.

“It’s all the same process whether it’s a small batch or not,” Mulherin said, noting that everybody has something to offer the group.

Perhaps he has the most to offer, as someone who took a small homebrewing operation and made it into a commercial success. Crooked Eye now occupies taplines in bars throughout the area and is always expanding to more.

At this location, they’re about six months away from turning into full-fledged brewpub, with dining options to pair with almost a dozen different Crooked Eye beer offerings. On Saturdays, they’ve started testing out some menu options for the brewpub like pineapple habanero meatballs or sweet country chile ribs braised in Crooked Eye Brown Ale.

Mulherin has the know-how, but in this business you can always learn more.

“He just lives and breathes it,” Paul Mulherin, Jeff’s father, said.

After introductions, Mulherin gave the group a rundown of Crooked Eye’s brewing operation and others described their own. Some even brought their own homebrewed beer to share with the group and Crooked Eye agreed to knock one dollar off the price of all pints, which usually go for $5 or $6.

“I want it to be your club,” Mulherin said. “I’m just hosting it because we have the space and resources to do it.”

He also brought some ideas to the table, like hosting monthly competitions among the brewers. March is slated to be an IPA brewing competition, and the group will vote on who does it best.

“For the club, judged by the club,” Mulherin said.

He also wants to do large-scale group brews on some Saturdays so the group can get some hands-on experience in large batch brewing. While the club is free, those interested in participating in the group brews may have to chip in for supplies.

Another feature of the club is guest talks from other successful brewers. Mulherin already lined up brewers from Weyerbacher, Free Will and Neshaminy Creek brewing companies to come in and share some knowledge.

People interested in participating in the group can come to the next meeting on Feb. 18 or come by the brewery during operating hours, which are Thursday and Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.crookedeyebrewery.com.