The Brewminaries is a homebrew club in Prospect Heights focused on helping every member make better beer through experiments, brewing, & discussion.

We were founded in March 2015 by a handful of brewers from the Bitter and Esters' beer swap. Right out of the gate we had award winning brewers, and BJCP certified judges as members. With more than 50 years of brewing experience between the founders, we realized we had the potential to help beginner brewers become better brewers, faster.

Brewminaries was born out of passion for brewing and community. Members enjoy leap-frogging the classic mistakes and speed bumps that a novice brewer would face alone. We support each other, and make better beer together.

Become a Brewminary!



Rachel Zeiss


Rachel is one of the earliest members of the Brewminaries, and has been brewing with her husband since 2014. Starting off with kits and recipe books and knowing pretty much nothing, Rachel now loves to create and work on recipes, be it a traditional style (always a challenge) or something totally out there.  She loves gathering with friends (especially for brew days) and making sure everyone is fed. She also loves to cook and bake, so combining food with beer has been the logical next step. Being a part of the Brewminaries means sharing and collaborating, and you couldn't find a more welcoming and interesting group of people to learn from! Want to know about how much she loves the club and everything it stands for? Feel free to contact me about anything Brewmie related!



Ariel Schwarz-Kainz

Vice Dictator

Ariel hails from the Land of 10,000 Lakes where she was first inspired to create delicious beer from the amazing breweries in her hometown of Minneapolis, MN. She's been brewing with her husband for over 3 years and when she isn't moonlighting at Bitter & Esters, the local home brew shop, she works in non-profit management. She enjoys malt forward beers, floral hops, and experimenting with Belgian yeast, but not all at once.

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Sheri Lyn 

Events Officers

Sheri Lyn is a founding member and former Dictator of the Brewminaries. She has been brewing for six years, and learned to brew while volunteering at a hop farm in Tasmania, Australia. She spends her days as a water quality scientist, almost never brews to style, and enjoys going on food adventures in Brooklyn's diverse neighborhoods where she picks up unique ingredients to use in beer. As Events Coordinator, Sheri is responsible for organizing Brewminaries' events and coordinating with breweries and bars to promote the beer and brewing community. If you would like the Brewminaries to participate in or promote a quality beer-related activity, or additional information on how to get #brewmieapproved, please contact Sheri!  




Merlin U Ward


Merlin is a foundering member and former Vice Dictator of the Brewminaries. He's a Certified Cicerone®, award-winner homebrewer, and marketing strategist. He's also the co-founder of Wartega, a brewery located in Brooklyn, NY specializing in herb, spice and fruit beers. He lives by the quote: "Beer makes everything better!"

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Alex Biedermann

Scientific Officer

Since starting 3 years ago, Alex has focused most of his brewing efforts on mixed fermentation with "wild" yeast and bottle dregs. Rarely a purist, just about every batch gets dosed with fruit or adjuncts, though he does have a soft spot for a nice hoppy pale ale.

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Dustin Pope



Otto Berkes Jr.

Dean of Brewmies

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