Great Friends

Doug, Steve & Larry

Doug, Steve & Larry

Here we are – about 3400 of us (record year) – at the Craft Brewers Conference. Breathe it in – it feels GREAT!

It’s the annual craft beer industry gathering – full of seminars, conversations, great people, quality beer, opportunity and fun.

Last year I had the pleasure of addressing the group ala What About The Other 50%?! Developing And Serving The Female Beer Enthusiast. It’s fun to hear from people at the conference this year, whom I met last year, commenting on having attended my session.

The BA does a super job at picking presenters and I did not make the pool of speakers this year. Sigh. Nonetheless, I’ll try again next year. And I did get a media pass – which means I have tons to share to help spread the education forward (and for which I am very grateful).

So onto another big day of learning, meeting, reconnecting and building new relationships.

Cheers from Chicago!

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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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Maui & Southern Oregon Breweries

Maui CoCoNut Porter

Maui CoCoNut Porter

Many thanks to Maui Brewing and Southern Oregon Brewing for their generous contribution of beer for our meet up last Thursday.

Maui Brewing: Since this was a Beer & Dessert pairing event, Maui’s CoCoNut Porter went sublimely with the Coconut mousse in a crispily delicate phyllo shell. Mmmmmmmmm!

Southern Oregon Brewing/SOB: The custom made Beerimisu paired oh-so-deliciously with the Pin Up Porter. Wow!

All the guests were blown away by, well, beer and dessert. There’s a growing faction of regulars for this group and it’s fun to see to learning and savoring happen simultaneously. Yes, you can see it – in the facial expressions

SOB's Pin Up Porter

SOB's Pin Up Porter

and hear it in the low murmur of satisfaction.

The bonus (very planned) is that SOB is made within 15 miles of where we met (low carbon transportation) and Maui’s came in cans (lighter weight = lower carbon per shipping). Both of these sustainability issues are important to women & men.

Cheers to Scott & Aloha to Kim and Anita!

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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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Following Science…

sanitation and cleanliness matter

sanitation and cleanliness matter

Rebecca shared with me the phrase “chemically compromised.

Hmmm…how does that apply to beer? How does that apply to other things?

If whatever it is – is in fact chemically compromised – why?

Does the need to be chemically compromised? If so, why so? If no, then why would anyone do it?

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Sensory Science

p1040688Sensory Science plays a big part in our beer experiences.

How the beer smells, how it swirls, how it tastes – all over our mouth, and what it looks like.

Truly, there is a great deal of science behind it. Ask Rebecca Newman, Jennifer Helber, Jeri Kustelski – to name a few of the very knowledgeable and respected beer sensory scientists.

When’s the last time you smelled your beer? When’s the last time you swished it all over inside your mouth before swallowing? When’s the last time you held it up to the light or drank it with your eyes closed to not see the color first?

Experiment with your senses and your beer. It’s very enlightening in so many ways.

Educating yourself will increase your knowledge and appreciation for the affordable luxury in the glass.

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Smell

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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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.

BEER AND DESSERT!!!

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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Hurra!

Cheers to you, Deverie!

Cheers to you, Deverie!

Deverie is creating a series here – check it out. They are well written and informative.

And I can tell you, next to Vicki Aldous’ piece, one of the most accurate ones written – which I am very grateful for especially given accuracy is tantamount to WEB’s efforts. All press is not created equal.

Educational I’d say. And, as WEB promotes, it’s education that will feed progress.

Already looking forward to more conversations together, and better yet, meeting in person to enjoy good beer and food together. We found out we both really like chili beers – however elusive they may be.

Good people, quality beer, tasty food, education.

Sounds like success to me.

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Ninkasi = Quality

One sign of good beer

One sign of good beer

A big shout out of thanks to Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon for their providing Women Enjoying Beer with three of their very tasty and well made beers last week. I can tell you the attendees were salivating – as many had tried at least one Ninkasi before.

As for me, it was a first try. There will be a second, third and so on.

Nicole, Laurie, Jamie and all the rest (whom I’ve yet to meet) are to be credited with sharing their beers with the beer community.

In fact, as we were holding the events (monthly meet up in Ashland OR), two of the servers at our host, Standing Stone, spoke up (loudly) when they realized the featured beers were Ninkasi – specifically Oatis Oatmeal Stout. Good Grief!

We enjoyed Oatis Oatmeal Stout, Total Domination IPA, and Believer Double Red.

Mmmmmmmmm….

Among other things, one of the regular attendees took the empty 22 ounce bottles home to put her homebrew into. Cool!

Be a Believer, Dominate and eat your Oatmeal.

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Talk and News From the BA

p1040808Thanks to Julia for yet more good news. Here’s info per a recent press release from the Brewers Association.

*In a year when other brewers saw a slowdown in sales, small and independent craft brewers saw sales dollars increase 10.3 percent and volume increase 7.2 percent over 2008.
*The sales increase represents a growth of 613,992 barrels, equal to roughly 8.5 million cases.
*In 2009, craft brewers represented 4.3 percent of volume and 6.9 percent of retail dollars for the total U.S. beer category.
*Actual dollar sales figure from craft brewers in 2009 was $7 billion, up from $6.3 billion in 2008.
*The total number of U.S. craft brewers grew from 1,485 to 1,542 in 2009.
*Craft brewers produced 9,115,635 barrels, up from 8,501,713 barrels in 2008.
*Overall U.S. beer sales fell from approximately 210.4 million barrels to 205.8 million barrel (down approximately 5 million barrels) in 2009.
*The total U.S. beer industry, in 2009, had an estimated retail dollar value of $101 billion.

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Cheers to Chris

Chris was one of the first people to reach out to say “come visit us” on our Home Free Tour last year. We were thrilled to get the invite as we reaaaallllly wanted to visit and stay in Jackson.

Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY

Snake River Brewing, Jackson WY

He’s indicative of the brewing community – generous, hospitable, smart, and all around really nice guy.

His blog sums it up well.

In addition to his personal hospitality, Snake River hosted an event with WEB. 19 beer enthusiastic women crammed into a small room to talk and listen. Great fun and education had by all. He’s right of course – their clientele knows their beer. It was fabulously invigorating.

Many thanks to him and his tolerant cats for letting us stay. We’re already plotting to return for another visit…welcome mat’s out in Ashland too, Chris.

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Setting The…

At the recommendation of a friend and colleague, I recently read Setting The Table by Danny Meyer.

p10407122My recommendation? It’s a purposeful, educational, fun and very useful read – for anyone is any kind of hospitality business.

The beer business is very hospitable with out a doubt. If you’re in the industry, circling the beer community an any way as a vendor or supplier, a restaurateur of any genre, READ THIS BOOK.

It’s chock full of, yes, his anecdotes. Not withstanding, these are helpful stories from which you can apply concepts that would be productive and profitable.

It was inspiring and particularly applicable for me in my professional pursuits right now – and I’ve now made it a goal to meet Mr. Meyers. If you happen to read this, Mr. Meyers, it’d be my honor and pleasure to be at your service.

Read on.

What have you read lately that you’d recommend?

(p.s. sorry about the sideways picture – the server’s goofy today….)

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Gems Among The Blather

p1040462In reading through comments (posted at the time) per this story per the 2.11.10 Women Enjoying Beer event, I’m reminded once again that we have free speech in this country. And I’m very grateful for it.

I’m grateful for the comments from people who are understanding what we’re working towards and supportive. And I’m grateful for comments by people who clearly don’t ‘get it.’

Why, you may wonder?

Because people that are uninformed and off base, people who don’t try to figure out what’s what and just spout to crow, end up making themselves look just that – uneducated.

The first few times I heard some comments that made me bristle, I thought – what am I not doing right? How am I missing the message? How can I deliver it better to hit their mark?

You know what? Part of the onus in any two way conversation is on both parties.

You have to educate yourself before you form opinions.

So – to those of you who read and understand that WEB is not about gender – it’s about opportunity and education, I thank you. For those of you who think it’s some flaming feminist whatever, educate yourself.

It’s insulting to only you in the long run if you don’t make the effort to learn how things work.

Bring it on.

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What Are You Talking About Today?

What will you talk with your employees about today?

Will it be cleaning? Will it be operations? Will it be other employees? Will it be supplies? Suppliers? Vendors? Ingredients? Community? Events? Sales? Donations? Service?

Laurie understands the servant mentality
Laurie understands the servant mentality

Will you give them some helpful knowledge on how to better inform your clientele? Will it be to challenge them to rethink the status quo – especially if the status quo needs a swift kick to re motivate?

Whatever you talk about, focus in. Make the time count, be prepared.

Success relies on preparation, thoughtfulness, discourse, action, follow up. Skimping on any of them does a disservice to all.

And in the beginning , middle and end, it’s all about service.

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Thinking Is The Key

Justin, Ginger, Rhonda, Mike - last May in L.A.

Justin, Ginger, Rhonda, Mike - last May in L.A.

Jim is right on in his goal as highlighted here. Many of the beer community members are like that. Which is where Jim and Rhonda began when they started Boston Beer.

Encouraging and making people rethink things is often where the challenge lies. Cracking open the thinking to allow for fresh thoughts, new patterns, new ideas and therefore encouraging more blood flow to our craniums is key.

Change. Rethinking.

Like Mike says, Change is coming one way or the other. May as well open up your arms to receive the hug. Here it comes!

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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).

Cheers!

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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Successful Launch

A hearty thanks to the 21 women who came to the lively launch of Women Enjoying Beer at Standing Stone last Thursday night. What a great group!

Women Enjoying Beer in Oregon

Women Enjoying Beer in Oregon

All wanted to be there for a variety of reasons – many times overlapping reasons with their neighbor at the table. We enjoyed a flight of 4 beers (Lager, Nitro Stout, Oak Aged Barley Wine, and IPA), talked about what they want from their beer and in general had a good time learning more about beer.

Don’t take my word for it though – ask the women who attended. Thanks also to Vickie at the Daily Tidings for the coverage. It’s the most accurate article yet written about Women Enjoying Beer.

And accuracy is important – which I why I keep preaching it.

Next meet up for the Ashland Area wing of Women Enjoying Beer will be March 11th. Get in touch if you want to be in the loop. (the information you share is always safe)

Now, which beer to enjoy for lunch today….

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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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