Saturday, January 20, 2024

Fossils history

 The FOSSILS club (Fermenters Of Special Southern Indiana Libations Society) was created in September of 1992 in New Albany, Indiana.  Sometime in August, Roger Baylor wrote hand-written letters and mailed them via the USPS (this is BEFORE email!) to 6 friends, Dennis Barry, Amy Baylor, Lee Cotner, Mark Francis, Barrie Ottersback, and Dick Lang.  Our first meeting was held at Richo's Public House (pub) in New Albany, Indiana.  Richo's would become a world-class establishment, featuring wonderful food and beers from all over the world.  They would eventually have more than 30 beers on tap, including many of their own. This wonderful pub would become our normal meeting location through the years.  Occasionally we would hold a meeting at a member's house, or perhaps at a local brewpub (there were NO brewpubs in Kentuckiana in 1992!), but Richo's was our 'go-to' location. As of January 2024 this is still the case!  Although we were called 'Fermenters', Dennis was the only original member who had made any homebrew, and at the time of our 1st meeting, he'd only made two batches.  Our membership has fluctuated over the years, from the original 7, to over 100 members, to the present day, where we have 30 or so active members, only a few of which actually still brew beer.  Numbers are irrelevant - we have a wonderful time at each meeting!

We decided to have a few officers, a President, Vice-President, a Secretary and a Treasurer.  These offices are voted on by our members, and elections are held every October. We actually also had a PFAW (President For AWhile), when Roger Baylor, our first President, was in Europe for awhile, teaching English in Kosice, Slovakia!

Over the years, we have held various events.  We had an annual Porter homebrew competition; we had an annual 'brew food' competition, and a 'funky and pungent' food competition.  For many years we had an annual 3-day & 2-night summer picnic & campout with the Louisville Ky. homebrew club LAGERS (Louisville Area Grain & Extract Research Society), where there'd be over 30 different homebrews ON TAP!!  On Friday night, Barrie would make a 15-gallon pot full of seafood gumbo that was fabulous. On Saturday evening we'd smoke several types of meat, and everyone would bring a dish to share.  We also have held a Christmas party every December since 1992 (I think we missed one, during the peak of Covid).  It features catered food, homebrewed beers on tap, bottles as well, and a huge raffle. We held a 10-year anniversary party, a 20-year one, a 25-year one, but missed our 30-year one, due to Covid.   We have made T-shirts for our members, and various FOSSILS glassware.  For many years we'd vote on the "FOSSIL of the Year" award.  Our members have won many local and regional homebrew contests, including the Best Of Show Blue Ribbon at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville KY.

We are presently (2024) more of a beer appreciation and education club. As of January, 2024 we are holding our monthly meetings on the second Sunday of each month, at New Albanian Brewing Company (formerly Richo's), at 2pm.  For most of our existence, we would meet on Sunday evenings around 6pm, but we now like the 2pm time slot better.  For the past 15 or so months, starting in November of 2023, at each meeting, after the formal meeting discussion, we then sample several beers from a particular beer 'style' (IPA, Barley Wine, Porter, etc), discuss the characteristics of each (ABV, IBU's, aromas & flavors).  We discuss what we like or don't like about each, discuss which ones we like the most, etc.  The first one we sampled was Imperial Stouts!!  After the tasting, we hold our usual raffle of mostly beer-related items - this raffle raises money for the group and pays for the beers we sample.  It is a great time and at the same time, the members are learning more about beer styles.

Dennis Barry
Homebrewer since 1992 and good beer geek for decades. World traveler; have spent ~15 months traveling through Europe since 2014.

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