Benjamin Franklin once said that “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Andy Maben of New Sarum Brewing Company and the Salisbury Homebrew Club are not only creating unique and delicious beer, but are also using that beer to help the local community.
The Beer People
Since its inception, the Salisbury Homebrew Club has been experimenting with new ideas and fun flavor profiles. Once Andy opened his new location for New Sarum, he invited the club to meet there. An active member himself, he wanted the club to have a place to meet as well as foster a two-way relationship between the brewers and the company. The Salisbury Homebrew Club accepts members of all different levels of brewing experience, from no experience to decades. They all have two things in common though, and that’s their love for craft beer and their willingness to try new things when it comes to brewing. Andy says that the club acts like a control group in an experiment. They can each experiment with different techniques or ingredients to determine the best brewing methods. The group also gives Andy dedicated taste testers. The competition came as a repayment for all of their contributions.
Once a year, New Sarum holds a contest for the members of the Salisbury Homebrew Club. Brewers get a chance to create a beer that, if it wins, will be brewed and available to the public for purchase by New Sarum. The members of New Sarum judge the contest based on the creativity of flavors, taste, and marketability. “We don’t want brewers to make a Christmas ale for a competition in April,” Andy remarks. “So, we try to teach the home brewers about marketability as well.” While Andy and others at New Sarum are BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) certified and go through rigorous palette training, he says that there are no guidelines for the beers the home brewers submit. They are just looking for a “stellar idea and stellar beer”. The only guideline for the competition is that you have to be a member of the Salisbury Homebrew Club.
Winning the Competition
Winning the competition has major significance, not just to the home brewer, but also to the Salisbury community. The winning beer is picked up by New Sarum and brewed on a four barrel system, making roughly 120 gallons. They unveil the winner at their anniversary event in April and they sell the beer until it is gone. All the proceeds from this beer are donated to a local non-profit in dire need. “It’s about giving back,” Andy says. “We are community driven and I want to give back to as many people as I can.”
The competition focuses on helping lesser known non-profits in the Salisbury community. This year, New Sarum and the Salisbury Homebrew Club donated $1,500 to Good Shepherd’s Clinic, which is a local, faith-based, and free clinic that provides medical assistance to those who are unable to receive the help they need due to financial reasons.
Choosing a non-profit is no easy task, but the Homebrew Club tries to simplify it as best they can. Each member gets to vote on a non-profit at their first meeting discussing the competition. They take those votes and narrow it down to three. Those three non-profits then come and pitch their organization and the Club makes a final vote from there.
The competition has been running for three years, and each year there is a tasty new brew and another organization and hundreds of people being helped. The first year’s winner was Bear with his Honey Basil Ale, made with local basil and honey. All proceeds from that sale went to Prevent Child Abuse Rowan. The second year was Paul with his Black and Blue Berliner Weiss, which was made with blackberries and blueberries. The money from Paul’s Berliner Weiss went to Rowan Helping Ministries. This year, Don Rankin won with his Summer Rye, an IPA made with 100% cascade hops, and on September 10, 2019 the Homebrew Club and New Sarum made a $1,500 donation to the Good Shepherd’s Clinic from those sales.
Andy believes it is our responsibility to help when we can, and his compassion for helping others and creating delicious beer has driven him to create this competition. The winning beer is unveiled in April at New Sarum Brewing’s anniversary event, and the beer is available for a very limited time. Once it’s sold out, it’s gone and won’t be coming back!
If you love beer and are interested in home brewing, the Salisbury Homebrew Club meets the second Tuesday of the month at New Sarum in downtown Salisbury. You don’t have to be a brewing expert to join! You just need to love craft beer and want to try to brew. There is a small membership fee. The president of the Homebrew Club is Rick Godby. You can find a link to their Facebook group here.
New Sarum Brewing Company is a fantastic local brewery. They make all of their beers in house and they are wonderful. If you are interested in New Sarum, check out their website here for their craft beer selection. They are located at 109 Lee Street Salisbury, NC.
If you are interested in donating to any of the non-profits mentioned in this article, we encourage you to contact them directly.
Prevent Child Abuse Rowan: www.preventchildabuserowan.org
Rowan Helping Ministries: rowanhelpingministries.org
Good Shepherd’s Clinic: (704) 636-7200