db15Mix one part Malts Club, a venerable home brewing group, one part Hops Club, a beer appreciation org

It was a Cold Sunday, after a Saturday of snowing, January 11, 2009. I had the fine privilege of attending my first meeting of the Draught Board 15. The DB15is New Jersey’s largest beer appreciation organization, headquartered at the award-winning Gaslight Brewery in South Orange, NJ and the official Beernexus.com beer club. It’s filled with great people, who have a great understanding and knowledge of beer and home brewing. The DB15 meet every second Sunday of the month for themed beer tasting and other beer social events.

This meetings topic was Polish Beer Tasting. Due to the football games being on, the meeting had less people come out than usual. I originally planned to spend just an hour, to get a feel of the group. Man was I wrong and hour turned into two hours of funny and great conversation blended with informative talk of home brewing, beer tasting, and a lot of comedy.

There was a lesson here also; I did not know any of these people from Twitter, or anywhere else on the Internet. They were/are all local to me. Meeting them added to the richness of the beer world I have stepped into beginning with Beer Utopia. If there is a club of any sort in your area, consider joining, you may like it. If there is not, start your own, especially if you’re a brewer or a pub.

The beers we sampled:

-Lezajsk 1525, and beer the lacked in hops, had little flavor

-O.K. Beer Okocim, Full Pale, piwo jasne pelne, Not that ok, strange flavor, not that good

-Piaste from Browary Dolnoslaskie Plast, Not a bad beer, not the best either

-Zamkowe 1321 by Namyslow brewery, The best beer of the day, known as the “beer of knights”

-Lech, Browary Wielkopolski, A Heniken-like beer, not that good, very dry, thinned out, not skunked -Heiniken

-Zywiec Porter by Grupa Zywlec, A hoppy, balanced porter, lots of chocolate malt

-Black Boss Porter by brogwar. Witnica, Lots of chocolate malt, a good porter

“The Polish beer market is the Europe’s fifth-largest and the tenth-largest in the world. It is also the fastest-growing in the EU. Polish brewers now account for nearly 10% of the entire European production volume. Polish beers combine elements of the Czech, German and British traditions. However, there is one unique Polish style, the grodziskie beer, a smoked wheat ale.

“Most Polish beers are pale lagers, though porters, made in the strong Baltic style, are popular. Three major breweries make the vast majority of all Polish beer. They are Carlsberg-Okocim, Grupa /Zywiec (Heineken owned) and Kompania Plwowarska (SBA Miller). Specific brews from this group that we will be sampling include: Harnas, E.B. , Hevelius, Lezjsk, Okocim Piast, Zyweic, and Warka. Each of these were personally selected for the meeting by Gaslight proprietor Dan Soboti.”