Hickory – Founded in 2001 by a local group of like-minded individuals, CLASS is alive and well at 22 years of age. The Catawba Lager and Ale Sampling Society consists of local men and women (21 and older) with homebrewing aspirations, a love of craft brewed beer, or both.CLASS, A Local Beer Society

Meetings are held monthly to taste and discuss members’ home brewed beer and to sample craft versions of a revolving list of beer styles. Longview’s Advantage Beer & Wine Supplies, Hops & Grapes in Viewmont, and downtown Valdese’s Levee Brewery & Pub take turns hosting the monthly meetings. From Czech pilsners and German lagers to English ales and American IPAs; during the course of the year, CLASS covers a world of beers. From March through October each year, CLASS sponsors Home Brew Review, a monthly session with Olde Hickory brewer Steven Lyerly or one of his brewing associates. Constructive criticism provided at these small sessions typically proves helpful in improving homebrew recipes or brewing technique. It’s all about making a better beer with each brew.

CLASS typically schedules a Beer Cruise – a bus trip to craft beer hotbeds like Charlotte, Asheville, and the Greensboro-Winston-Salem corridor – for members, and often hosts a “learn to brew” day in conjunction with the National Home Brew Day each November. In December CLASS stages its biggest, most festive meeting of the year –a Christmas party and potluck dinner featuring appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts made with beer.

Interested in home brewing or just learning more about craft beer? You are invited to the next meeting on February 14, with focus on Old Ales and Barleywine beers, at Hops & Grapes, 2420 N Center St, Hickory, NC 28601. Check out the CLASS Facebook page and website: www.classbeer.org for more information.