Three Cheers – In The Right Glass

Here’s an article that’s headed in the right direction.

Makes me cringe when I see ice cold glasses used for ANY beer, whether it’s supposed to be served chilly or not. Beer is not supposed to be served frozen.

When giving any kind of event or education piece, this is a critical light bulb turn on. Here’s my analogy.

Say you have a garden ripened tomato. Do you store it in the fridge? If you do, what happens to the taste and flavors? What happens to the tomato? What then is your experience going to be like?

Beer, like garden tomatoes, needs to be served (preferably when possible – and it’s not being snobby) at its best temperature. We’re not talking about getting candy thermometer out. We’re talking about good uncommon sense. What temperature should it be served at, approximately? Lager? Crisp out of the fridge. Stout – let it warm up just a bit to really be able to enjoy all the flavors.

Do you see pourers of Guinness grabbing a frozen glass? Cold glass, fine. Frozen – the beer doesn’t really appreciate it , me thinks.

Plus who wants a bunch of frozen crystallized froth in their beer glass?

So pick your glassware, pick the right temp of the glassware. Double whammy for double the pleasure and authentic experience.

This isn’t being a snob. It’s knowing what you like and asking for it.

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Up & Coming Fabulous Events

1. Monthly Women Enjoying Beer meet up – June 10th, Thursday (usually the 2nd Thursday of the month), 7 – 830 pm. Join us at Standing Stone for 4 different beers from a variety of breweries. Full details here.

2. How about a White Water Rafting Trip with Beer?!? Joy Henkle of White Water Warehouse has graciously invited me to join one of their fantastic trips. You can join us for a tremendous experience July 18 – 20. Contact Joy here to get details and make your reservations.

This is a first effort on a beautiful collaboration of a first class outdoor experience complemented by world class beer. We’ll do beer tastings intentionally & carefully paired with tasty foods the two nights we are out.

Rafting and beer – what an incredible combination! For those of you who have asked for trips, here’s your first opportunity.

3. July 8th – Full on Mexican Beer & Food dinner for our monthly meet up. We’ll have a delicious summery Mexican beers paired with courses of freshly prepared Mexican Food, by a Mexican chef.

Mmmmmmm! Is your mouth watering yet??

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Brewing in 10 Steps


I recently took advantage of a training session on the brewing process.

In 10 simplified steps – here it is.

  1. Milling – the grain in the mill. Breaking the grain open, not crushing them, to access the endosperm  (starch).
  2. Mashing – adding hot water to the grist (grain). Begins sugar extraction and breaking down of starches.
  3. Lauter – separating the liquids (sugars) from the solids (grain) – and Sparge – hot water sprayed on top of the grain to wash away (into the wort) the last remaining sugars.
  4. a grant

    Boil – sterilizing the liquid (safety) and heating up the wort to access the hops (bitterness and essential oils).

  5. Whirlpool – liquid and solid separation
  6. Knockout – wort out of the (boiling) kettle to the fermenters, heat exchange happens here too.
  7. Fermentation (Fx) – yeast is added and away it goes to feast on the fermentable sugars.
  8. Conditioning (maturation) – chills and lets yeast drop out of solution.
  9. Filtering (or fining) – removes the yeast
  10. Serve and drink!

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Southern Oregon Brewing Hospitality

Many Thanks to Scott, Justin, Kristen, and Tom for Thursday night’s success.

Southern Oregon Brewing was our host location for May’s monthly meet up – with resounding success.

Women Enjoying Beer and Cheese

We had 24+ women show up just for the event – most had reserved a spot and we had some more fabulous women come join us to the groups benefit. More truly is merrier! Thanks to everyone who came to enjoy the SOB beer and cheese pairing.

To the patrons who were in the taproom already enjoying beer, wondering what was happening when Anna and I began setting up – cheers! Thanks for being game to let us (unknowingly) interrupt your Thursday night.

Cheese is a classic to pair with beer. Why?

Because like cheese, beer has many complexities that, since it’s a living thing (yeast and all), has infinite possibilities of what flavors may develop. Yes, you can plan some, yet since yeasts and molds are rather independently spirited organisms, in the end it can be a surprise.

The SOB beers and cheeses we paired:

  • 1. Gold Ale with Monterrey Jack
  • 2. Pale Ale with medium Cheddar
  • 3. IPA with Camembert
  • 4. Porter with Caved Aged Swiss Gruyere
  • 5. Black IPA with Gorgonzola

How’s that sound?

Good beer and food references:

p.s. Happy American Craft Beer Week – May 17th – 23rd – we’ll be at SSBC celebrating tonight from 6 – 8

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Lost and Found

Lost Continent – yet another tasty, quality release from Grand Teton Brewing Company.

It’s out now – if I were you, I’d go try to find some.

This release of Lost Continent is an updated version of the last time they let us enjoy it. It’s got a full hoppy drier flavor profile. They’ve used a variety of hops in it –  all from the (American) Pacific Northwest.

Galena, Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo, Summit, and Cascade. Wow – it’s a winning combination.

The fruity and floral flavors – like a traditional Double IPA – complement nicely a variety of foods including full flavored Asian foods and roast meats like pork and chicken.

Refreshing, tasty, light bodied, drinkable, hop forward.

A great way to enjoy it would be to share it with friends and dessert – like a citrus tart.

Cheers GTBC!

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Windy's Good

streets of Chicago

streets of Chicago

Here I am  – in the Windy City – otherwise known as Chicago, Illinois, USA. Why?

The Craft Brewers Conference and Brew Expo happens Wednesday night through Saturday pm with the cherry on top being the World Beer Cup awards announced at the Gala Saturday night.

Already ran across – or rather intersected on the sidewalk – Bob Pease, Chris Pryor, (saw Paul Gatza) as well as the fabulous Simon and Roger, Alex, Stephen….who else? Well, there will be lots of opportunity to see all the fine folk of the brewing community.

There will be some we’ll miss – Jennifer, Rebecca, Rebecca (yes, two different ones), Brian, Rhonda, and others.

So I best get some good sleep tonight as the Briess malt plant tour leaves the city at 630 am, returns around 1030 tomorrow night.

Tough job, I know….

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Beer & Dessert Today

p10408031Come join us tonight from 700 – 830 pm for Beer & Dessert.

Call for your seat please – it’s sure to be enlightening, tasty and fun.

After all, beer is a social beverage when enjoyed responsibly. The affordable luxury, as Sam and others say, which is very true.

The joy of good beer is enhanced by great company.

Hope to see you soon!

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p1040423Here are some smell oriented sensory words to share. Teri Fahrendorf was kind enough to leave them with me after she shared them with the audience at a recent WEB meet-up.

Think about some of these when you smell and drink your beer.

Specific Keywords:

spicy, cloves, banana, grapefruit, pineapple green apples, garlic, onions, bready, roasty, coffee, chocolate, musty, earthy, cardboard, plastic, pine trees, resins, wet dog, barnyard, copper pennies, caramel, toffee, smokey, ashes, bacon, campfire, smoked sausage, burnt toast, butterscotch, movie popcorn, Cheetos, crayons, rotten eggs, burnt matches, bandaids, bactine, rubbing alcohol, solvent, bubblegum, vanilla, winey, woody, whiskey or bourbon barrels, green grass, hay, straw, floral.

Thanks Teri – the guests found the information you shared helpful and interesting.

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Beer & Cheese

beer & cheese in Kansas City MO

beer & cheese in Kansas City MO

What a delicious, lush, pungent, tasty, and fun combination – Beer & Cheese.

For those of you who have been pairing for many years, superb! For those new into the fray, congrats and welcome.

Cheese and Beer. Beer and Cheese. Full flavors. Lighter flavors. Colors, smells, and appearance.

Here are some of my favorite ideas in pairing beer with cheese. I suggest you also talk to others about what they like – enthusiasts are always glad to share.

  • Crisp IPA with Sharp Cheddar Cheese. Add in season grapefruit for an extra flavor explosion.
  • Barleywine or full bodied Stout with Blue Cheese.
  • Scottish or Brown Ale with a nutty cheese.
  • Hefeweizen of American Wheat with a creamy Chevre on a simple cracker.

Is your mouth watering yet??

Sebbie’s a fabulous resource here…

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Cheers To Sean!

Lawson’s Finest, indeed. Glad to read this press about Sean and his efforts.

Sean & I in his brewery after a snowshoe

Sean & I in his brewery after a snowshoe

He invited us to visit him on our trip last year – which we gladly did. Although we almost didn’t.

The weather in early December in Vermont – ahhhhh! Snow! All good yet the roads are hilly (read low traction) and it’s best to stay in. Not drive about on unfamiliar rural roads.

After a few conversations and a bit of scheduling talk, we made it work. And so very glad we did.

Sean was a gracious and generous host – we got to taste at least 4 of his beers, they were widely different and delicious. Plus he sent us down the road with a few bottles which we happily shared with others we stayed with shortly thereafter.

When you get the opportunity to buy his beers, do so. You’ll be very glad you did.

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WEB meet up – April 1st, Beer & Desserts

Celia loves beer and dessert

Celia loves beer and dessert

Here’s the line up for the next WEB meet up in Ashland OR.

Let me know where you’d like to set up a WEB wing (Chelsey, I’ll call you back soon!) Education, social interaction, quality beer. GREAT combination.


April’s Women Enjoying Beer meet-up will be a week earlier than usual due to the Craft Brewers Conference which happens the following week in Chicago.

This month we’ll be savoring an ample selection of 4 lovely beers including Maui Brewing’s CoCoNut Porter with 4 hand crafted desserts – mmmmmmm! Is your mouth watering yet?!

Details: Thursday April 1st (no foolin’), 7 – 830 pm, Standing Stone Brewing, $15 each

Please call to reserve your spot by March 30th since these desserts are being lovingly custom made to fit the event 515.450.7757

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Lots of Chatter

Anna at the launch

Anna at the launch

Thanks to everyone – from Vancouver British Columbia Canada to Ashlanders in Oregon – for all the chatter you’ve generated per  last week’s Women Enjoying Beer recreational group launch.

It tells us that this is something many people want to talk about. Women and beer that is.

And talk about it we shall. The contacts people have reached out to make are fortifying and reaffirming that yes, Virginia, there is something to this conversation.

Be sure to get in touch if you want to be part of the info stream (all info is always safe – no sharing, renting, giving, etc. of personal data).


p.s. the next Ashland area event is already on the agenda…

p.s.s. if you want to see a group start in your area, get in touch…

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New Women Enjoying Beer Wing Launches Tonight!

p1040233Join us tonight if for the launch of the Ashland area/Southern Oregon/Rogue Valley (yet to be named) wing of Women Enjoying Beer.

If you’re a women who likes beer, would like to know more about it, is already knowledgeable – then come join the fun.

We’re meeting at Standing Stone Brewing Company from 7 – 9 pm tonight. A flight is included in the incredibly reasonably priced $10 event price. A 4 beer flight, program and great camaraderie are all part of the evening.

You’re more than welcome to order some tasty food on your own as well – they have a terrific locally focused, organically focused menu.

Call me at 515.450.7757 if you can make it. Hope to see you soon!

p.s. want to form your own group? Get in touch with me here.

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Keg, Bottles (and not vs.) Cans

p1040169This is a good article on outlining why cans can be a good option. Thinking about it is the first step.

Indeed, whatever receptacle we choose to get our beer in, be conscientious of its impact, how, why, when, again and so forth.

Taste profiles of beers right out of a can and right out of a bottle and right out of a keg and right out of a serving vessel….

Keep in mind beer is always best fresh, best served how it should be served regardless of how it comes.  There are resources aplenty of the sensory science behind glassware. Rebecca would know for sure.

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Books Referenced

Some of the books I showed the crowd at the recent men’s beer and food pairing included:

1. Randy Mosher’s Tasting Beer

2. Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table

3. Anything by Michael Jackson – in this case one of his pocket guides

4. I would have highlighted Lucy Saunders’ The Best of American Beer & Food had it not been on loan

5. An older (1995) selection by Stephen Beaumont

6. Charlie’s Complete Joy of Homebrewing

We need more women to chime in – in book form – on the beer with food.

Any takers?

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Glass Matters

Found on the table after the event...

Found on the table after the event...

The different beers served with the recent men’s beer pairing and tasting:

  1. Stout – small straight cylindrical taster
  2. Lager – half pint glass
  3. IPA – half pint glass
  4. Barleywine – flute
  5. Double IPA – wine glass
  6. Cider – flute

Glassware matters. Focus groups have told me time and again that what they drink out of is can be integral part of the experience to them.

  • Size
  • Capacity
  • Style
  • And for those who know sensory science, Design

Beer deserves to have its own and proper glasses for serving. Just like the wine industry has identified glasses that optimize the wine, brandy makers have snifters and so forth.

The glassware we had on hand and used was partially to get them to rethink their drink. Looking at it for color and head, smelling it for aromas, swirling it about for aeration, ideas for presentation.

Rethinking requires a new approach be taken. Different glassware can do that.



We Men Enjoying Beer: The Second Half

Building on yesterday’s post per a men’s beer tasting and pairing at Standing Stone Brewing Company in Ashland Oregon last week…

p1040357Course 4

Barley wine with a Marion Berry salad. The slightly fruitier flavors, medium body, mid octane barley wine paired well to bring out the medium flavors of this salad. Marionberries are of Oregon so it also featured a local fruit with the local fresh beer.

One guest shared he had poached some scallops in a barley wine with yummy results. Good suggestion.

Course 5

Double India Pale Ale with hearth baked pretzel and Marionberry mustard. Sweet and hot, chewy and crisp. All words to describe the flavors in this course. We had a contrast of the house made agave ketchup as well.

There aren’t a plethora of Double IPA’s yet and the crew at SSBC is really proud of the one they make. (Vinnie’s is a really nice choice too.)

Course 6

Wandering Aengus Cider with fresh cheeses. I chose a cider on purpose to get people to rethink what else can also be compatible in tastings. Ciders are a great gluten free choice as well. The fresh cheese we chose included the very local and award winning Rogue Creamery Cheddar, made just for SSBC. Mmmmmmmm.

The lushness of the crisp and still fruity cider worked nicely with the cheeses providing both complement and contrast. Parmesan and a provolone were also available. The creamier ones were the best fit here.

More on what else we covered at the event tomorrow.

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We Men Enjoying Beer

Wednesday last found me with about 16 men – enjoying beer and food. It was a special night in the form of a educational and social event for the male staff at Standing Stone Brewing Company.

table set...ready to go

table set...ready to go

Why men? Why not. WEB is about education and opportunity.

It takes all parties to progress the conversation. Plus on the Home Free Tour last fall, we had held a women’s only tasting and pairing. So it was time.

We had the good fortune to have a few other guests join us – people who are related to SSBC in some way. Coffee supplier, bar manager at another local restaurant, and 3 regular patrons. Good mix.

The first two courses were as follows.

Course 1

Nitro Stout with Stir Crazy Chocolate Cake. We started off with a full flavorful match. The deep roasted malt in the stout is a most excellent pairing with Chocolate. The cake is made from scratch, like their whole menu always is as well as their beers, and it was a really nice consistency. Not too thick or light. Goldilocks would have approved. Juuuust right.

Starting with an unexpected pairing set a great tone.

Course 2

Lager with Fish Tacos. The light crispness of the lager went well with the lighter flavor of the fish, lightly sauteed with other simple fresh ingredients to complement it.

I picked the contrast of the stout to the tacos on purpose. To highlight the differences of the two styles of beer.

Course 3

India Pale Ale with the special Pork Chops. The forward hoppiness of the IPA was a good partner to the pork chops, local and organic. Nice bitterness – or bite as some servers like to describe it – and a medium flavor personality to pair with the chops.

Tomorrow – the other 3 courses….