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Wednesday, 01 January 2014 10:02

America's Oldest Home Beer Brewing Club Celebrates its 40th Anniversary in 2014 With Commercial Collaboration Beers, Competitions, Brew Seeions and More

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The Maltose Falcons Homebrewing Society, the oldest homebrewing club in the United States, marks its 40th anniversary with a year-long celebration filled with two commercial collaboration beers with acclaimed craft brewers Eagle Rock Brewery and Firestone Walker Brewing Co., homebrew competitions, monthly brewing sessions, monthly meetings, and brewing education events.


"For 40 years, the Maltose Falcons has been a driving force behind the growing homebrewing and craft beer movements in Los Angeles and nationwide," said club President John Aitchison. "We look forward to continuing to help make Los Angeles a great American craft beer city."
In the spring of 2014, Eagle Rock Brewery co-founder and Falcons member Jeremy Raub will brew the Falcons' official 40th anniversary beer at Eagle Rock's brewery. The beer, a Baltic Porter, will be an Eagle Rock beer bearing the Falcons' name and will be commercially available at the Eagle Rock tap room as well as in select Los Angeles bars and bottle shops throughout Los Angeles County.
"Eagle Rock Brewery is proud to support and be closely involved with the homebrewing community. We came from the Maltose Falcons, so we're excited to brew this collaboration beer with them, and to mark  this monumental anniversary of the oldest homebrewing club in America," said Raub, whose family started Eagle Rock in 2009. "Homebrewing is a strong part of the American craft beer movement, and LA is finally emerging as a real craft beer town, thanks mostly to the efforts and support of the homebrewing community."
In its four short years in existence Eagle Rock Brewery has contributed to the ongoing development of the beer community in Los Angeles, initiated multiple educational opportunities for the growing population of beer enthusiasts, and gained acclaim with a wide range of unique artisanal beers. Their beers have received medals at the Great American Beer Festival, Los Angeles International, and the San Diego International Beer Competitions, furthering the presence of the LA beer scene in the worldwide beer community.
The Falcons' second commercial collaboration brew in 2014 will be with Firestone Walker, also a strong supporter of the homebrewing community and a leading California craft brewery, noted for its unique Firestone Union barrel fermenting system, its Barrelworks Program, and its award-winning barrel-aged beers. Firestone and the Falcons will brew a collaboration beer at the Paso Robles brewery, which Firestone Walker plans to barrel age and use to blend into its 2014 annual Anniversary Ale, the next in what has become a legendary series of highly coveted, blended barrel-aged beers. “I started out as a home brewer myself, so this is like going back to my roots," said Matt Brynildson, Firestone Walker's Brewmaster. "Home brewers bring a lot of creative energy to the table, and I’m excited to collaborate with the Maltose Falcons to come up with something special.”
40 Years of Driving Home & Craft Beer Brewing
The 40-year history of the Maltose Falcons reaches back to before homebrewing  was legal in America. The club was founded by home brewer Merlin Elhardt in Los Angeles in 1974, years before homebrewing was legal and before the formation of the American Homebrewers Association. The club was active in 1978 in the efforts to legalize homebrewing on the national and state level, and were invited to the initial signing of the state Bates Bill that ultimately legalized homebrewing in California in July, 1978.

The club was also instrumental in working with United States Senator Alan Cranston of California on his bill (H.R. 1337) repealing Federal restrictions and taxes on homebrewing, effectively legalizing it at the Federal level. The bill was signed by President Jimmy Carter on October 14, 1978. Just months later, in April 1979, the Maltose Falcons held its first Springfest competition (now called Mayfaire), the first and longest-running legal, sanctioned homebrew competition in the United States. Mayfaire is still considered one of the country's eading homebrew competitions, receiving hundreds of entries.

Famous Falcons
The club has been a training ground for brewers, many of whom have moved on to found or become professional brewers at notable craft breweries, including: Paul Camusi co-founder, and Steve Grossman, brother of co-founder Ken Grossman, of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company; John Maier, Rogue Ales Brewmaster and Alaskan Brewery Assistant Brewmaster; Jay Anekeny, author of the book "The New Easy Beer and Mead: A Beginners Guide to Home Beer Brewing"; Darryl Richman, author of the book "Bock"; Gerry Stoker, founder of the Southern California Homebrewers Festival; Ken Rhude, brewer at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery, and founder of Little Egypt Brewery; Michael Bowe, founder of Angel City Brewing Co.; Mark Van Leeuwen, Santa Clarita Brewing Co.; Alex Puchner, Huntington Beach Brewing Co. & BJ's Brewery; Mark Jilg, founder and owner, Craftsman Brewing Co.; Skip Virgilio, founder, Alesmith Brewing Co.; Dean Lynn, owner, The Great Beer Company; Bill Kimbrell, founder, Bayhawk Ales; Drew Beechum, author "Everything Homebrewing Book" and "Everything Hard Cider Book"; Dave Griffiths of Ladyface Ale Companie; Roger Bott of The Lab Brewing Co.; and Marty Velas of Copper Cellars/Smoky Mountain Brewery.
Supporting Brewing Education

The club has an acclaimed, robust brewing education program, which contributed to being named California Homebrew Club of the Year in 2010. The monthly club meetings at John Daume’s Home Beer Wine and Cheesemaking Shop in Woodland Hills, is usually attended by 40-80 members and features guided, themed commercial beer, cider and mead  tastings that cover styles, ingredients, brewing techniques, and the background of the breweries. Members’ brews are also tasted and critiqued. The club conducts a Troubleshooter's Corner during the meetings in another room, offering members a chance to have their problematic beers tasted and analyzed by senior club members with deep expertise who can offer helpful technical brewing advice, without the fear of embarrassment for serving a terrible beer to a room full of people to be judged. Notes with a detailed analysis of off flavors and possible solutions are posted on the club's website.
The club also hosts a training program to prepare homebrewers to take the Beer Judge Certification Program exams and become certified beer judges that are needed for homebrew and commercial competitions nationwide.

At the club's monthly brewing sessions, members can sign up to brew a batch of beer on the club's 40 gallon all-grain system, offering members the chance to learn new equipment, beer styles and brewing techniques, and each member takes home 5 gallons of wort to ferment. All of the monthly brewing sessions throughout 2014 are themed for the 40th anniversary, highlighting Falcons members' recipes that have won major awards or are otherwise significant to the club's history.  

For more information about the Maltose Falcons, visit Follow us on Facebook at

Matt Myerhoff, Board Publicity Director
Maltose Falcons Homebrewing Society
Cell (818) 481-8579

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