The Underground Brewers of Connecticut, aka UBCC, aka the YAHOOS, is a homebrew club with members from New Haven, Fairfield, and southern Litchfield counties.
The club exists to help its members:
- brew better beer, mead, and cider;
- judge beer according to BJCP guidelines;
- find excuses to drink beer together;
- enjoy themselves.
Members come from all walks of life. Some are barely old enough to drink (legally) and others are older than Moses. Some have hardly begun to brew and others have shelves full of medals from national homebrew competitions. Many are BJCP judges. What we all share is a love of good beer and a desire to brew it.
Unlike many clubs, we have no by-laws, officers, minutes, elections, budgets, committees, etc. We get together, we judge each others’ beer, we talk about beer, we have a good time. If you show up to too many meetings, you will be asked to pay nominal dues to help defray costs for club parties. That’s about as much structure as we can handle. We aren’t into rules.
As a result, it is difficult to know how many “members” the club has and who they all are. A typical meeting might have two dozen attendees out of a committed group of 40 or so. But there are well over 100 email addresses on the club mailing list, including many members who have moved away but still want to stay in touch.
The UBCC was founded in 1975, several years before homebrewing was made legal in the United States (hence the name). As far as we know, we are the second oldest homebrew club in America; only the Maltose Falcons in California is older. That means that the club predates the AHA, the BJCP, and pretty much all of the microbreweries in the country.
The group was started by Pat Baker, who went on to help found the BJCP some years later. Pat gathered customers of his homebrew supply store in the back room to taste each others’ beers and offer constructive criticism. In the process, they worked out the rules of what would eventually become the BJCP point system. That emphasis on judging has stuck with us; most meetings still involve blind judging of members’ homebrews and commercial beers.
The club has grown and shrunk since that time. Some members have gone on to become professional brewers, beer journalists, and nationally-known homebrewers. But after nearly 40 years, the club continues to meet once a month to drink beer and help each other improve.