Afton’s 151 Brew Club Bonds Over Beer

Our Homebrew Club got a write-up in a local newspaper! The article is below.

What’s better than brewing your own beer?

Paige Dingler, Nelson County Times

“Being a neighbor to a homebrewer,” said 151 Brew Club Vice President Stephen Goadhouse.

Club members say sharing their brews with friends is the best part — if you live near a homebrewer, you might get to share in the love that goes into each one-of-a-kind batch.

“Getting rid of it’s no problem at all,” said club member Frank Wilson.

Of the 30 or so dues-paying members of Afton’s 151 Brew Club, about six are homebrewers, four of whom took home prizes for their beers from the 50 West/Ocelot 2022 Homebrew Classic competition in Dulles in December. The club placed second overall, with members taking home two first place and two second place medals among 136 other judged entries.

Having a home brew operation isn’t a requisite for membership in the club, though.

“If you’re a beer enthusiast, you want to learn about beer, or you want to share it with friends — which is the best way to experience beer — then you’re more than welcome to join our club,” said club President Mike Johnson.

The 151 Brew Club meets once per month, usually at WildManDan Brewery in Afton. On a warm January afternoon, club members were at the bar having a typical exchange — talking beer styles, nontraditional ingredients, and types of yeast — over beers.

Dan and Terri Tatarka run the WildManDan Beer-centric B&B at 279 Avon Road in Afton, and Dan, a former homebrewer, mentors the club.

Member Terry Withers said home brewers typically produce two and a half to five gallons in every batch; his Irish Red Ale placed second in the British Isles Ale category. WildManDan is barely a step up, brewing 10-gallon batches out of the brew barn and taproom that feels like an extension of the couple’s living room. Terri said she was told by a brewer at a larger facility: “I pour more than that down the drain every day.”

Paige Dingler, Nelson County Times

Johnson called it the neighborhood pub and said you’re likely to find a club member at the bar every day it’s open, Thursdays through Sundays.

Every month, the club chooses a style of beer, and members bring in samples from commercial breweries to judge based on the Beer Judge Certification Program Guidelines, and homebrewers share their newest creations.

“It’s really a great way to experience and learn about new styles. I was an IPA person; that’s all I drank. But when I joined the club I got introduced to European beers and there’s just such a big world of beer out there that I wasn’t aware of until I came and experienced a club meeting where we tried all sorts of different beers,” Johnson added.

“I really didn’t have any interest in homebrewing either. I liked to drink beer. I always thought it was easier just to buy good beer and then I started talking to these guys who were having such a great time and said it was very therapeutic and it was a great experience to brew your own beer at home — you can control your own ingredients, you can control your process.”

Other members of the club invited Johnson over to help them brew.

“I said, ‘All right, I’m hooked,’” he said.

Johnson’s only brewed 12 batches so far but took first place in the Homebrew Classic’s British Bitter category.

Wilson talked about getting his start with a gifted home brewing kit and a pot on the stove, then updating his setup with a burner and kettle from Bass Pro Shop. He brought the turned wood tap handle another member made him as a prize for winning the club’s last internal competition.

151 Brew Club homebrewers will all brew a specific beer style for internal quarterly competitions, judged by other members.

“And I think that’s the biggest benefit that I feel, being part of the club, is the fact that the enjoyment you get, first off, trying and making a new beer, and then I get more enjoyment sharing it with the other people in the club and I feel they’re the same way,” club member Doug Floyd said.

“Watch out, you’ll end up with a barn,” Terri Tataka cautioned with a laugh.

“That’s exactly why we’re here, because Dan loved the process, but he loved handing you one of the beers he brewed more than anything else, so here we are,” she said.

“People ask Dan all the time, what’s his favorite beer to brew, and his answer is always ‘the next one.’ It’s curiosity, it’s creativity, trying to solve a problem that he encountered before. That’s the fun of it, right?”

None of the homebrewers at WildManDan that afternoon were worried about running out of inspiration. Nor was Dan, despite his 15 years of homebrewing experience. Two kegs were kicked — a German chocolate cake stout and a rye IPA — during the conversation, and Dan said that kind of fast turnover is one of his favorite parts of having a brewery because he gets to brew lots of different beers.

“We sell all of our beer here and we don’t have anything left to distribute. It’s a good problem,” Terri said. The couple isn’t interested in expanding, either.

You can’t buy WildManDan beer at any store, though you can take a 32-ounce “crowler” — essentially, a growler in a can — home with you from the barn.

The 151 Brew Club typically meets on the fourth Sunday of the month, and meeting details can be found at the club’s website,

“That’s really what it’s about — camaraderie, sharing a good beer with friends and making new friends,” Johnson said.

Emma_Martin  Jan 11, 2023