The American Homebrewers Association is great not only because they put out the magazine Zymurgy (free for members), which is filled with great recipes and interviews with/articles by brewing luminaries. Not only because they lobby on behalf of homebrewers everywhere to make state laws more open to our hobby. Not only because you get generous discounts at many pubs and local homebrew shops.
They are also great because they put on free rallies hosted by local breweries. These events include raffles, brewery tours, and, yes, free beer.
I missed one at Revolution earlier this year, but this past Sunday was my birthday and, as luck had it, the AHA held another rally, this time at the new Lagunitas brewery in Chicago.
They had an open bar with a full lineup of taster-size beers (although they broke out the big cups later on in the afternoon). They took us on a floor tour of the facility (which is just enormous). They fed us BBQ. They gave away three stainless-steel conical fermentors in a raffle (in addition to a huge stack of brewing books and some other goodies).
And they sent us home with vials of Lagunitas yeast.
Quite a party favor. So if you’re not already a member, I recommend joining.
I’m in the middle of brewing a set of English beers, so I’m going to try and freeze this yeast. Currently reading up on that practice and will post more about it here later.