Ginger Beer, Micheladas & Ginger Beer

Pints up to the fantastic & very good sports who joined me for a bit of performance art at the TRA Marketplace show last week in Houston, Texas.

Sasha & Ginger at TRA.  It'd call it 'delish-elada!

Sasha & Ginger at TRA. It’d call it ‘delish-elada!

I was lined up to give two What’s Hot In Craft Beverage sessions in their recently expanded Craft Beverage Pavilion this year (gave 2 last year too). In plotting the sessions, I thought: “Let’s invite some of the terrific exhibiting businesses.” So I reached out to 4, 3 reached right back, almost immediately, and I invited them to join me on stage.

Props to the following guests who sat with me (check out the TRA’s Facebook page [TX Rest Assoc] for the recorded sessions). Here’s a bit about them. Follow the links to learn more.

  • Sasha & Juan Sotelo, Triple S Michelada – yum yum yum! Check out their story and enjoy their super flavorful beverage as a stand alone drink as well as a mix choice.
  • Zack Silverman, Kelvin Slush Company co-founder. When’s the last time you had a slushie??? How about one with delicious enhancements? They had 4 refreshing choices – I sampled them all.
  • Paul Imbesi, NAB representing Barritt’s Ginger Beer. Of course I noticed this right off the bat. And Paul was a fun and gracious guest, sharing the unique story of how he helps bring Barritt’s to the USA.
Zack, GJ & Dave/TRA enjoying a great vibe at TRA.

Zack, GJ & Dave/TRA enjoying a great vibe at TRA.

I’m always grateful for people who are willing to interact – sometimes even when they’re unsure of what’s going to unfold. As a presenter, I have to be ready for anything, and prepare for everything. Having guests bolster a simple talk skyrockets the value for the audiences and begins very fun and fruitful relationships.

The gist: Invite others to work together. It’ll add so much enjoyment and purpose to your work. All my guests we’re easy to work with and guide and I appreciate the hard work they all do, day in and day out. Props to their colleagues too, for tending the booths while we were in session (Helena, Nick & Rodger – this means you!!).

One post-show thought for me to all of this: I’d gladly invite them again, and I’d welcome working with all of them. They are sharp, interested in making a true difference in the beverage and restaurants communities and in their own lives. Doing what you love drives a lot of success.

Drive on.

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What’s Hot In Craft Beverage

June had me returning to the Texas Restaurant Association’s annual TRA Marketplace show. It’s the 2nd biggest restaurant association show in the country – and well worth going for restaurant pros in Texas and in other areas.

Education is always worth while. You’ve got to invest in yourself within your industry and chosen communities to best serve yourself and your clients.

This year I presented three different sessions, 2 of which were What’s Hot in Craft Beverage.

Some of my fine colleagues in the Craft Beverage Garden, TRA 2016

Some of my fine colleagues in the Craft Beverage Garden, TRA 2016

For the What’s Hot sessions I ran through some insight on the various beverage categories, with an emphasis on alcoholic ‘craft.’ While I usually don’t use the word craft in beverage, it can hold some meaning for industry pros.

Here’s some of the insight I shared.

2016 Trends in beverage include: House made (everything), beverage and food pairings, in-house made ice cubes, smoked & grilled, bubbly, tea, creative garnishes and ingredients, tasting menus, fermented drinks (i.e. kombucha).

  • For Beer: count on seeing more of sours, ‘session’ (lower alcohol), canned choices including Crowlers, nitro pushed, and growler stations.
  • In Wine: aging in spirits barrels, alternative packaging choices, red blends, the growth of specific varietals.
  • Spirits will give us: more than 900 (projected) distillers, whiskey, gin, vodka and rum running forward + herbal liqueurs and house made cocktails with fancy ice cubes and lower alcohol choices.
  • Cider: it’s still holding with big growth in the UK that the US, though still moving upwards in the US.
  • Mead: keep enjoying the honey explosion! Small batch honey will feed this tasty beast.
  • Sake: The nightlife scene is seeing more popularity here and the popularity of Japanese foods in North America will fuel this progress.
  • In Alcohol-Free: watch for fancy and artisan ‘craft’ sodas with root beer, ginger beer and orange leading the way, mixers including tonics are growing, and various ‘waters’ are pushing upwards.

So what’s a beverage drinker to do? Enjoy whatever you wish, responsibly. There are choices for us a’plenty, and business a’plenty of the beverage businesses.

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Marketing Learning Lab Offer

Marketing Learning Lab:
Going Deep into your Marketing Strategy & Tactics.
The What, Why, How, When & Where of Building Your Marketing Success.
Join me Wednesday June 22nd from 1 – 4 pm for a 3 hour ask-all-the-questions-you-want in-depth Marketing class.
Extreme Value priced for the first 12 reserved seats at only $100 (crazy, I know!!!). We’ll have room for up to 20, attendees 13 – 20 = $199.
Interactive, open discussion format on all things marketing, following an agenda.
Location: Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon – will share with final registrations.

Call me today through June 14th to save your seat (payment required in advance to save your seats). Want one for your business? We can do that – call me 515.450.7757 to set it up.

**Also**

A few of my most sought after services include:

  • Full Day, All Out! Everything is possible when you hire me for a full day of work together. We can do one-on-ones, groups meetings, talks, classes, media & press appointments….you name it, we can likely fit it in.
  • All inclusive rate: $2500 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Speaking – Marketing, Marketing to Women, Connecting (how to meet the people you want and need to meet), The Power of the Customer Experience, Beer & Food pairing and tasting, and Cooking With Beer among available topics. Interactive, entertaining & meaningful. (I can deliver my TED talk as well.)
  • Rate: depends on audience size & scope, $750 – $2000 + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Marketing Coaching program – We get started on this 6 month program to amp your efforts. We begin with an in-person 2 hour in-depth session where we cover all the ground you want, supported with weekly half hour calls between monthly meetings (long distance works well for many in this program too). Ground covered includes marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, and business development. This can also cover honing your ‘pitch’ and brand and image review.
  • Rate: $600/month, 6 month commitment + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
  • Discovery Session – One time BIG boost of ideas, logjam breaking, and ideation on business topics you want to discuss – including marketing expertise and guidance, strategy & tactics, business development.
  • Rate: $400/per person + everyone present will get a copy of my book when it comes out this fall (September) as a thank you gift.
Marketing Learning Lab

Marketing Learning Lab photo courtesy of Graham Lewis

If you want more topic choices, email me and I’ll send you full Service menus.

For new clients: Rates are an amazing value at regular price
For returning clients: Thank you! Rates will be offered at a 10% reduction incentive
For all: Gift of the book (marketing focused) when it comes out this fall.

This offer is only available on a first reserve, first get – as of right now through end of day June 1st. Call me NOW to book it (I’ll send you an invoice & Letter Of Agreement to reserve the date).

Let’s get your business going stronger together. It’d be a joy to work with you – good, solid, & productive fun!
Call me today 515.450.7757. Thanks for your time and attention. By all means, forward to others who could benefit (appreciate the spread). Cheers!

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Changing Perception

“If there’s a problem, it’s my job to change the perception.”

These were big words uttered by a long time hospitality pro during a very worthwhile panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace. She said a mouth-full, for sure.

So how do we 1. know there’s a problem and 2. how do we change perception.

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

In keeping with this being a site on women & beer, I’d relate it to a huge problem being the misnomer that women don’t drink or enjoy beer. While millions understand that’s simply not true, millions and billions more seem to think (actively or passively) that is it true.

So how do we change that perception, knowing there’s a problem.

Wait – first you want to know how I judge there’s a problem? Glad you asked.

Do a quick online search of articles on women and beer, beer labels and sexism in beer and it’ll come at you with lightning speed.

The problem, Houston, is that we’re making much ado about an incorrect and damning stereotype. I can tell you for a fact – women enjoy beer. Women enjoy beer, they enjoy wine, spirits, cider, mead and sake…and everything else out there any one person can enjoy. Like Nancy Nichols, the author of the cited piece above said, “don’t view your sex as a factor.”

There’s a misperception that certain alcoholic beverages hold a lock on a certain gender. It’s a bunch of bladerdash.

Think for yourself and with your own brains and taste buds. If you run into a misperception – when you run into a problem with this thinking – set the record straight.

Ain’t so such thing as a woman’s beer nor a man’s beer. To thine own taste buds be true and we’ll all make progress breaking down the sexism in beer.

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Creating Believers: Beer & Chocolate Tastings

“I used to be a beer racist, but you changed me.” – April A

Ninkasi’s Believer Red has long been a beer that makes me smile. Yes, it’s delicious. More importantly I really like the philosophy around the name: Believer.

We all want to believe in something and last night I made believers of new beer & chocolate tasters. April’s quote, my host of last nights event, nails it: remove your prejudice and simply fall into the possibilities.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

Beer: Just Add Chocolate to pair.

As part of the annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, I deliver lively & tasty “Beer & ____” sessions each year. This year – my 5th year doing so – I also introduced what I dubbed the ClassPort. Everyone who attended all three of my tasting sessions over the course of the Friday – Sunday weekend event was eligible to win a complimentary private beer & chocolate tasting; they got their ClassPort stamped at each class.

Three people dedicated themselves to the task (!) and I ended up giving away 3 sessions. Why not!? They made the time and participated, I love engaged guests, and it’s fun all the way around.

Last night I delivered the first of the three private tastings to 8 game and mostly unfamiliar-to-this-concept folks. Suffice to say minds were changed!

Here’s what I find are 3 of the consistent surprises when people put beer and chocolate together.

  1. Most people have never even thought of putting beer and chocolate together, never mind attended an actual planned tasting event. The element of Surprise & Delight is on my side!
  2. The tasting first of the beer alone, then the chocolate alone, then the two together is a good pattern for the S & D factor. “Wow! Who Knew? Really??” are all rallying exclamations from guests.
  3. Since beer is so incredibly diverse, it’s easy to blow minds multiple times with however many courses you choose to feature. I planned 3 last night (menu below).

The next time you think of beer, think of chocolate.

The next time you think of chocolate, think of beer.

Then invite some friends over and make some new believers out of them.

Oh – and Ninkasi beers, by the way, make great choices. I’ve featured them many a’time with success. Choose the beers and chocolates you like, mix and match, and simply have fun exploring.

Discovery awaits!

Menu:

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Cooking the Books

Today I got to speak, yet again, with the energetic and whip sharp Laura Kimberly. Laura is the Branch Manager of the Medford Public Library, Medford OR.

A beer and food tasting event held at a local brewery.

A beer and food tasting event held at a local brewery.

Laura and I started to get to know one another last year, pre-TED talk. Since then we’ve kicked off a very fun and tasty relationship discussing and planning ideas and events to further bolster community support of our public libraries. Scott, one of their fine Reference Librarians, is also in cahoots with us for even more fun.

And a bunch of fun it is!

We’re focusing in on an event June 10th at the branch called Beer & Books. I’ll be giving a very fun program built around the beer related books the library has in circulation. There’ll be free tastes of beer for attendees, likely from a local brewer, generously provided by the Friends of the Medford Library + snacks to go with that tasty beer.

Beer brings people together. People love to hear about beer, food, and herstory. This will be one of those events. Watch the Events page of the Library for full details. We’ve planned the event to happen in conjunction with the annual Medford Beer Week.

In the meantime, support your local library and save the date! Plan to join us and we’ll get bookin’ into beer.

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Oregon Chocolate Festival 2016: Workshop Recipes

Welcome back!

Thanks to those who are seeking this out do to your attending one of my sessions at the 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. As a returning presenter, I’m very glad to share the menu + recipes (or links therein) so you can do this at home.

OCF 2016 Workshop signage

OCF 2016 Workshop signage

Of course, if you liked the presentation – if you like lively engaging entertainment period – call me for your own events. Business and home, private and public events are all fair (and fare) game.

Friday

Chocolate Gingerbread cookies, courtesy Martha Stewart

Fast Fondue, courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, Chocolate cookbook

  • 1.25 c brown sugar
  • .25 cup stout/robust deep roasted flavored beer
  • .5 heavy / whipping cream
  • 9 oz semisweet chocolate chips/chopped
  • In a medium saucepan, stir together the stout and browns sugar, then add cream and bring to a steady boil. Remove pan from heat, stir in chocolate till all melted. Keep warm to serve. Fresh fruit, biscuits, and cookies are all good dippers.
  • Dip, drizzle, have fun!

No-Fail Fudge, courtesy Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library, Chocolate cookbook

  • Grease an 8 x 8 pan with butter.
  • Combine: 1.5 c unrefined sugar, 2 T unsalted butter, .5 t salt, .5 c evaporated milk in a roomy saucepan over medium heat. Stir continually until boiling, lower heat slightly, and simmer & keep stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in chocolate until smooth. Add 2 t vanilla extract and stir again. Quickly pour into the pan, smoothing the surface as desired. Place in fridge for 1 – 2hours until firm. Cut & serve. Store in airtight container at room temp for up to 1 week.
  • (I used Scharffen Berger’s Coconut Macadamia Nut in one batch, their Sea Salt Pistachio in another. Both delish!)

Saturday

  • Fast Fonue (see above) – I used Dagoba’s Xocolatl in one batch, their Milk chocolate in another
All that remained after one of the workshop tasting sessions...

All that remained after one of the workshop tasting sessions…

Barley wine Poached Pears

  • Peel, quarter and core as many Bosc pears as desired. Chunk if desired (hint: more surface area = quicker cooking) Make sure they are just ripe, not overripe. Place them in a pot and add roughly 4 cups of barley wine + water so they are gently floating. Add mulling spices for extra flavor. Simmer until pierceable with a fork. Remove from heat, letting them cool down in the liquid. Place pear pieces in serving dishes, drizzle with Fast Fondue (above), garnish with fresh mint if desired. Serve.
  • Tip: Keep the liquid to keep cooking with.

Citrus Cookies

I adapted the Gingerbread cookie recipe above, replacing fresh lemon & orange zest for the savory spices and cocoa. These cookies will cook best if the dough is chilled for .5 – 1 hour before scooping & cooking. I rolled the dough into fat logs to cut into coins for baking.

Sunday

Both the Sour Cherry Jam & the Apricot Lemon Marmalade are from the excellent book, The Canning Kitchen, Amy Bronee. I highly recommend you buy it for the recipes.

Cheers & keep nibbling ~

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2016 Oregon Chocolate Festival Recap: Beer & Chocolate &…

First of all, THANK YOU to all the super engaged and fun flavor loving guests at the very recent 12th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, Ashland Hills, Ashland OR.The organizers moved it to a roomier venue – and in my opinion, with great success. Way more room and opportunity for everyone to fully get around

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

Elegant tasting-ready room at OCF 2016, Ashland Hills

and mingle. The previous venue is now too small for this ever-growing destination event.

It marked my fifth year presenting at this yummy Theobroma cacao saturated festival. Each year I’ve given lively & tasty beer and chocolate tastings. We’ve gone from a room that’ll seat 30ish to a tent that seats 45/50ish to (now) a roomy room for 80+.

When people started coming in, 30 minutes before the sessions started, I knew we were in store for more incredible crowds of enthusiasts. I’m happy to report, every single person who was our guest at all three of the sessions was a pure pleasure to have in the room! I especially liked the multi generational families with offspring of varying ages.

With 22+ Friday night, 80 – 100+ Saturday afternoon, and 80 – 100 Sunday, it was a packed crazy good time had by all. Can’t wait to return next year! I’m always humbled by guests who return to my sessions on purpose – so a special thanks to them all.

Russ, Ginger & Stacy - revved up for the 2016 OCF

Russ, Ginger & Stacy – revved up for the 2016 OCF

The sessions ran smooth in large part thanks to my exceptional (not exaggerating here) crew, starting with my second in command for the weekend, Russ. He’s a service professional, kept it all going, gave directions to the hotel staff (who are always fantastic too!), and made my job easy. Hats off to my colleague and occasional assistant Stacy, equally competent, sharp and guest focused. The hotel staff & crew, management and security hired – all of them were smiling, helpful and fun to work in delicious harmony with and for.

So – what’d we have, you may be asking? Good question! Let me whet your whistle with the menus we served. I encourage you to try this at home:

Friday / Always a Classic: Beer + Chocolate Pairing & Tasting

  • Standing Stone* Chocolate Stout with chocolate gingerbread cookies & Dagoba** Lemonberry Zest chocolate.
  • Barleywine* with shortbread cocoa sticks with Xocolatl** fondue + red raisins
  • Milk & Honey* with Scharffen Berger Coconut Macadamia fudge

Saturday / Together Forever: Beer, Wine & Chocolate Tasting

  • Barleywine* + Weisingers Syrah with barleywine poached Bosc pears drizzled with unsweetened** fondue and Rogue Creamery Flora Nelle blue
  • Chocolate Beer* + Weisingers Sauvignon Blanc with citrus cookies and mandarin oranges

Sunday / Better All The Time: Beer, Chocolate & Cheese Tasting

  • Noble Stout* with more Coconut Macadamia fudge + Scharffen Berger sea salt pistachio fudge and unsweetened coconut shavings
  • Twin Plunge Double IPA* with Orange** chocolate, mandarin oranges, and rustic french bread crostini topped with Rogue Creamery Cacow Belle cheese & either lemon orange marmalade or cherry citrus jam
  • Milk & Honey* with Milk chocolate** and water crackers topped with soft chevre, dusted with Drinking chocolate powder**

Hungry yet?

Good.

I’ll post recipes tomorrow.

*Standing Stone Brewing Company beers

**Dagoba Organic Chocolates

 

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Beer Syrup

Yes, you read it right – beer syrup. What, you ask, exactly is that?

It’s a lovely elixir of almost unbelievably luscious flavors made by using beer in reductions and, well, to make syrups. On pages 197 & 199 of the new (totally fantastic!!) Beer Pairing book by Julia & Gwen, they cover making syrups.

goodies simmering in beer....

goodies simmering in beer….

I’ve got some in my fridge from the prep I did for the Big Beers festival in early January. For the seminar I lead, I had simmered various fresh citrus fruits & dried vegetables in beer. Once the fruits and vegetables were done, I saved the liquid. Almost every liquid in my kitchen finds a new life in other dishes. At a minimum the worms in my compost pile are extremely happy with what we give them!

Making beer syrup is quite simple with perhaps the most difficult part simply deciding which beers to reduce. Caveat: very bitter beers are not good candidates, as they can get very unpleasantly tannic. (I first learned this in cooking prep for the TFOB). It’s not what you or the beer really wants. All the same, experiment and cook a variety of beers down to see what you get, taste every few minutes to learn more about what’s happening and how the flavors change until you find what you want.

In preparation for my Vail session, I simmered ruby red grapefruit, lemons, limes, blood oranges, valencia oranges, and kiwi in 3 different beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash Nancy, and Bruery Terreaux Oude tart with Bosenberries. WOW! Talk about a very fun and tasty experiment – or shall I say exbeeriment….in all events, the syrup in my fridge from those exploits is deliciously awaiting being included in recipes. So far, I’ve used some for baking sweet potatoes (yum), smoothies (yum), and punch

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences - Vail rocks!

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences – Vail rocks!

(yum). They’re quite versatile so get creative.

Lucy Saunders, long time food & beer pro, is an outstanding resource for cooking with beer. Her books are useful, fun and a delight for the enthusiastic cook using beer in the kitchen. And I’m just starting to get to know Adam Dulye, beer chef for the BA.

When you find yourself looking for a new idea, make some beer syrups. I guarantee it’s beer as you’ve never had it before and well worth while. Oh, and sipping on a beer while you’re cooking is the best way to happily wait for the alchemy to happen.

Cheers!

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Superbowl Commercials & Messages They Send

Last year about this time I found myself in a self-imposed experiment: watch the entire Superbowl from start to finish and really look at the advertisements between play. No pre-game show, thanks – it was enough of an investment for me to simply sit through 3 hours of American football.

I had asked the general public for volunteers who wanted to scope out their local beer retailers to make observations on the beer displays they found. Thanks to Joanna in Orlando and Leslie in Monterey among them for contributing their thoughts.

Overall their thoughts were what I’d call positive: no huge gender influence or sexism. YES! It’s a small victory for women and beer and I hope that continues for a long time.

What have you seen for beer ads so far? Displays in your grocers or alcohol stores?

So what was the result of my watchings?

Well, it was a large variety of companies and purposes. You can watch them here. The most profound one to me was the domestic abuse commercial, based on a real chilling phone conversation of a woman calling 911 – unbeknownst to whomever was in the house threatening her – under the guise of ordering a pizza.

They ranged from tax service companies to cars to TV programs to snack foods and, of course, ubiquitous beer ads. I loved this one from Reebok, as it was suited to the event and focuses on their core message and strength of everyone. Kudos!

As it stood, Budweiser was the beer sponsor of the event so it only makes sense to only see their ads. How much does an ad cost during the game? Find out here – and you better be sitting down.

What I was glad to observe was that, while there were certainly questionable ads as far as sexism goes, the offenders were other than beer. I’d give them a pass (the other companies) and say they were simply silly, wondering why they even put the particular ad up during Superbowl. Yet that would lessen the overall message of making sure sexism in all forms is banished and inappropriate no matter the products and services advertised. So I won’t.

A few head scratchers were:

  1. Why was there a male voice over for the female Paralympian Amy Purdy? Why wasn’t a women chosen?
  2. Why the sexed up animals in the tortoise and hare ad?
  3. No females in any of the car ads.

Women make between 75-85% of all purchases. Who’s forgetting this fact? A whole bunch of people working for a whole bunch of different companies apparently. Those who remember will see benefits far and wide in so many ways. Most importantly for building equality for all, the globe over.

The Superbowl is on iconic televised event – those advertisers could help change the world for the better by promoting gender equity and respect instead of the same old tired sexist forays.  What an incredible opportunity for those who can see the forest and the trees!

If you decide to watch the bowl this weekend and want to share your thoughts on the ads, I’d love to hear it all.

I’ll thank my family (again) for participating in the exercise with me last year. It won’t happen anytime in the near future, though I’m sure I’ll still be curious about the ads as many of us are.

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Another Big Success at Big Beers Fest

Many thanks to all of you who supported the recently completed Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines Festival in Vail, Colorado USA. As anticipated, it was a smash and a ball, thanks to the vision, hard work, logistical magic and mojo of many.

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

Guests doing a pledge with me at Big Beers 2016

It was with great relish I was invited to return and present again – so that I did. Here’s the link from my session, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. Great crowd (you know who you are!) and super helpful and fun volunteers to boot, guided by my Fine Husband as well. Preparing and sharing food and drink is at the top of my happiness list in life.

As I promised the room full of folks, here’s the menu I served.

My original menu was entirely different, with fully prepared dishes. Alas – one of the powers that be sent down orders from on high at a very late hour, so – being nimble, I switched to fit a whole different set of parameters. Can do.

In the bigger scheme of things, I pride myself on being nimble and being able to change with the flow. Everything is possible and I was there to take care of my host, the Festival and founders first.

prepping the mushrooms with Dragon's Milk

Prepping the mushrooms with Dragon’s Milk

Wandering around the kitchen is descriptive of how I approach and navigate my food & cooking world. It’s overflowing with opportunity, ideas and shiny things to try. I do wander…through my fridge, larder, recipe books & files, brain, and the stores I visit. It’s one great big tasty adventure and I fully embrace it.

A number of attendees who sought me out afterwards told me they would have never thought to use beer for rehydration or that they don’t usually eat mushrooms but they tried them and various other comments. Success is measured by participation. When you dig in, literally, then you achieve. When you let it pass, you negate discovery out of hand. Pity, really. Fun and exploration are so much more rewarding.

So thanks to the following for their help & assistance. See you again soon ~

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All Hail Vail!!!

Yes, it’s that time of year again folks: The Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival is kicking off this week in snowy gorgeous Vail, Colorado, USA.

Yours truly will be returning (queue the music please) to give a lively & info chocked beer & cooking session: How To Cook With Beer, Wandering Around The Kitchen with Ginger. It’ll be loads of fun, there will be tastes and tricks, tips & ideas for you to take home with you.

Vail Cascade Resort awaits BBBB....

Vail Cascade Resort awaits BBBB….

Laura & Bill Lodge, Sister & Brother Wonder Team, put together this world class event and I’m thrilled to be heading there again.

In 2014 I was invited to present for the first time – here’s the menu I made & served to the happily SRO room. Wow! Yes, please – sign me up for more. They do such a great job there’s a wait to be asked to return to present if you fit their needs.

I’m also hosting a Marketing Beer To Women Workshop, Pour it on! You can register here.

Laura knows I’m available at a moments notice for this one and anything she’s involved in. Great people usually = great events.

Hats off, pints up and skis on – see you in Vail!

Now, back to my kitchen…I’m fine tuning the goodies to be served with my 3 fan-taste-tical beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash’s Nancy & The Bruery’s Oude Tart with Boysenberries (is your mouth watering yet??)

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Headed To The Mountains…For Flavor

Next week will find the deliciously fantastic Big Beers Belgians & Barleywines festival happening in Vail, CO. Organized & run by Sister & Brother team, Laura & Bill Lodge, this is a must attend for beer lovers.

Fun lovers at the 2014 BBBB.

Fun lovers at the 2014 BBBB.

Let me count the ways.

  1. Laura & Bill are pros. The festival is an extended experience with dynamic offerings for all sorts of activities: classes, seminars, and tastings among them.
  2. World class talent. Full disclosure: I was invited back this year! And am thrilled with the other company I’ll get to keep – here’s the line up.
  3. The attendees have an elevated sense of what they want – and it’s delivered on a snowy silver platter at this event: new ideas, high value education, and robust personalities.
  4. It’s in snowy stunning Vail, Colorado. ‘Nuf said.

Well, there are plenty more reasons  – like how the Vail Cascade Lodge is super friendly and accommodating…how you can walk out your room and go skiing…and the town is easy to navigate among them.

Me, I’m excited to head back and work with the team again. Anything they put together, I’m interested in attending. Beyond my Cooking With Beer session I’m giving, My Fine Husband and I will partake of whatever hits our fancy.

Get you to Vail, Beatrice! Much ado, indeed, about it all. See you there.

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Belgian Beer & Bananas

Wow. It hit me right between the taste buds last week – Belgian Beer & Bananas can come together terrifically!

Here’s where the flavor epiphany came from:

Traveling to work with a fantastic client, Global Beer Network, brought me to Massachusetts. As is the case for travel, you inevitably get to find places to eat. Two genres I seek out are Mexican and Ethiopian food. Yum.

Say Yes! to pairing.

Say Yes! to pairing.

As good fortune had it, there was a Mexican place within walking distance for me so I headed there one night for dinner. The menu was refreshingly enticing and so, as I do from time to time, I ordered a few small plates (‘sides’) to make up my meal instead of one entrée. Fried plantains with agave nectar were one of those items. So glad I did!

They were nicely fried, hot hot hot when they arrived, and it’s right then it hit me: Bananas so obviously go with many Belgian beers. The yeast contributions can often match a variety of bananas in intensity and complement each other wildly flavor wise. As a flavor hound, it hit the bulls-eye.

Had I thought of this pairing before? Highly likely. And circumstances as they were simply brought it home, full on. Will I remember it more readily now? Absolutely.

Cooking with beer, pairing talks, and various beverage and drink events are always on my agenda. I have now officially written down the idea to use in the not so distant future. Boom.

It’s good to build a Flavor Library – tastes, pairings, and ideas to tap into when you’re racking your brain to develop a menu. So glad to have a newly invigorated couple to call upon soon.

Enjoy your beer, bananas and combining all sorts of flavors this season.

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Beery Details for 2016 Vail Big Beers Cooking With Beer Seminar

Whew!

One thing I am grateful for is friends. Industry friends in particular are on my mind today, as I am developing my seminar at the 2016 Vail, CO Big Beers Belgians and Barleywines Festival.

It’s a huge treat to be invited to return and give another flavorful session to a packed room. Thanks to Laura, Bill and everyone who gets this tasty beast off the ground, year after year.

Ginger & John Holl at 2014 BBBB (yes!!)

Ginger & John Holl at 2014 BBBB (yes!!)

I love this festival for many reasons: well run, well done, well attended, super engaged guests, a slightly elevated (though not snobby) brand of attendee. My former WEB Captain Diane and I rocked the session out in 2014. Perhaps it was the aroma from the slow cooker of the Grown Up Pork & Beans I made in our hotel room…in any event, Vail – here I come again.

As alcohol regulations stipulate, interstate trade of beer has its own miasma to negotiate, including labeling. To that end, two of my three choices for breweries were ruled out this week. Damn! So I set about to scramble and replace.

It’s not fun to be asked – “Hey – I need a replacement for someone else, it’s short notice…can you help me?This is where relationships come full circle. I was able to call on two other industry frolleagues who were very quick to reply and say YES! Both of whom I’ve worked with before in beer, food & cooking events. They understand the rules of beer law and see the value in working together.

Today I’ve got it all dialed in, thanks to the help of all three generous breweries & folks. Here they are:

The Bruery, Placentia CA. Patrick’s beers and operation have long-held my taste buds at attention – the styles they brew really agree with me, are very refreshing, low alcohol many, and I’m very eager to develop my recipe and serve it with a fresh Bruery beer at the event.

New Holland Brewing, Holland MI. My friend Fred, aka The Beervangelist, stepped right up to the plate. He and I have done the Fred & Ginger show (literally!) at GABF and other events (SAVOR) as well as sharing a passion of the bigger picture of food, cooking and community. I’ll gladly be cooking with and serving one of their beers in Vail.

Are you coming?

Are you coming?

Allagash, Portland ME. Having featured Fluxus in 2014 at Vail, I was very happy they replied so quickly to my request to again be one of my partner beers. And deliciously so! Allagash is an absolute go-to brand for me – my husband even packed 3 (4) packs home with him earlier this year when he was in Portland. Good man. Great beer. Thrilled to have them return to the line up for my event.

A BIG shout of thanks to the two who won’t be served (this time):  Jared Long, Brewer & my brother in beer, Altitude Chophouse & Brewery, Laramie, WY & Larry Chase, Brewer & My Fine Husband, Standing Stone Brewing Company, Ashland OR.

So – support your local brewer? Heck Yea I do!! Local casts as wide a net as you wish your neighborhood to be. The globe is my neighborhood and I’m sending cheers to these neighbors today.

See you in Vail ~

p.s. the skiing is snowtastic too!

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Marketing Workshop: Pour It On! The Key To Your Future = Women + Beer

Women make 75-85% of all purchasing decisions, including beer.

Are you ready for the best business you can get?

Then come to this highly interactive and educational workshop with the industry expert and leader of women + beer, Ginger Johnson, and take away insight you can apply immediately for increased and improved business success.

Tom Horst/Crystal Springs Brewing & Ginger at BBBB 2014

Tom Horst/Crystal Springs Brewing & Ginger at BBBB 2014

With enormous possible market share development, smart marketing in the beer world requires examination of women as buyers and consumers. This entertaining and enjoyable session is well worthwhile to those who want to learn more about the Why Behind The Buy for women.

Content will include:

  1. 10+ Do’s and Don’t in Marketing Beer To Women
  2. 3 Universal truths of Women & Beer and why these matter to your future
  3. Highlights from 2014 report Why Do Women Drink Beer?+ other insight from the master survey of female consumers and their relationship with beer
  4. Fresh ideas on how to successfully market beer to women
  5. Answers to all the questions you want to ask!

Register today, limited seating available. Testimonials here.

Details:

Registration

  • Before December 15, 2015
  • Single: only $99 person
  • Multiple simultaneous 2+: $89/each
  • December 16th – January 5th
  • Single: $125/each
  • Multiple simultaneous 2+: $115/each

At the door/day of (if there’s room): $140/each/cash & check

Call Ginger today to reserve your spots with credit card 515.450.7757 PST

Women Enjoying Beer is the only business on the planet dedicated to talking with women about their relationship with beer. Her first TED talk covered beer and women, April 2015. As a qualitative researcher, she finds out the why behind the buy and all the decisions making influencers of women + beer. Founded in late 2008, Ginger has been invited to present/be part of multiple international events including CBC, NBWA, Toronto’s Festival of Beer, SAVOR, Congresso Cervesa Mexico as well as many other industries’ conventions and events including the National Restaurant Association, CIA/St Helena, Whistler/BC Bike, and Texas Restaurant Association. Her BeerRadio program ran strong for 4 years, she’s featured in the award-winning documentary For The Love Of Beer, dozens of TV spots, and has written about and been included in many articles in publications including The New Brewer, All About Beer, IBD, and various beer and other industry publications.

Find out more at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com and GingerJohnson.com

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Beer, Wine & Spirits – Oh My $$

  • Beer: $101 billion
  • Wine: $36 billion
  • Spirits: $65 billion
Julia Herz, CIA 2015

Julia sharing in her dynamic style at the CIA.

The tornado & spokesperson Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, shared these stats at the CIA recently.

Whoa. Think about those numbers for a moment…..

Or two.

Then to let it further resonate, realize that constitutes 1.5% of the American Gross National Product. Beer Serves America echoes these numbers and also provides more info here.

When you’re supporting beer in our communities know it goes way beyond the glass.

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Neurogastronomy: What Is It?

The Yale School of Medicine is helping define neurogastronomy.

Anne G/CIA Marketing & Ginger at the Crafting Beer and Food Summit, CIA

Anne G/CIA Marketing & Ginger at the Crafting Beer and Food Summit, CIA

I first heard the term recently at the CIA, St Helena campus, at the inaugural Crafting Beer & Food Summit. As a panelist and participant at the event, the flavor theme came up over and over and over…and it’s one I, daresay, preach about. Flavor first, then style or whatever else. To me it’s the entrance to our sensory gustatory experiences.

While the word hard some immediate familiarity, knowing the richer meaning and further information is fascinating. The book of the same title by Gordon Shepard expounds on the concept. More fascination.

So what’s this connection of brain and flavor? Scent and mental? Perhaps even scentimental…. Queue more fascination, please.

It’s true progress to see an icon recognize and promote beer – just as they have long promoted and championed wine.

Read up, sip, nosh and learn. It’s where everything should start: brains first.

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Quality Is Queen

What’s on the collective mind of the professional beer community? Quality.

On the heels of the brewery explosion – which is still mushroom clouding – smart brewers and business people in the beer world realize and know quality is queen.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Deschutes is a great example of quality driven beer.

Here are a few indicators:

  1. Having been invited to be a panelist at the inaugural CIA Crafting Beer & Food Summit, Napa CA, we were asked to talk about the Business of Beer. Nicole Erny was right on in her comments and I’d echo the same: quality + business = success.
  2. Consistency is also queen. Inconsistency of brands which are supposed to be consistent is not the way to build a business nor a clever marketing ploy to promote a brewery’s beer. Inconsistency is different from variety and variation of beers that get the green light to vary.
  3. When an entry-level consumer tries a beer which is not to style or brand, then we’ve all f’d it up. That sort of experience is a tough one to overcome. Plus if the consumer likes the non-quality beer, then we’ve just warp speed damaged what the experience is supposed to be.
  4. The Brewers Association recently released the Quality Management Book, written by Mary Pellettieri – and gave a complementary copy to every BA member. PLUS they already had the Draught Quality Manual out for establishments pouring beer on draught.

Quality is queen. It should be, as a quality product should be the goal and daily driver of all businesses. There’s a lot of poor quality beer out there, created by brewers who are too blindly passionate to realize that poor quality beer brings everyone down and hurts the industry community.

Ground zero is you and me. As the buyer and consumer of beer, we must demand quality, get to know beer, and speak up for quality.

Rally time is here. Join me in the call for quality.

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Crafting A Beer & Food Summit

“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.”
Abigail Adams

Education is queen.

So it was enthusiasm I signed up for a class My Fine Husband told me about. Crafting Beer & Food is a summit being put forth by the CIA Greystone, CA. It’s one of three Culinary Institute of America campuses, the other two being in New York and Texas.

I’d happily go to any of the campuses, so when I registered and offered myself up as a panelist, speaker and otherwise of service, they embraced the opportunity. Sweet! Ergo, I’ll be in distinguished company for the panel The Business of Beer & Food, Tuesday of the summit.  A big thanks to Anne Girvin of the CIA for the invite.

Education improves your palate.

Education improves your palate.

Beer & food go hand in hand, like a chicken goes in a pot. Many will jokingly say “beer is food” – and there’s some truth to that sentiment.

I’m excited to further my education, always glad for the fortuity to present, and see and meet engaged people. The sessions I signed up for are ones I’ve never seen offered elsewhere, specifically cooking with beer information. Since I cook with beer professionally as well as personally, these are of very high interest to me.

Full details are here and there are still some seats available. The summit is sure to be well worthwhile. I’ll circle back to share afterwards – though encourage you to register if it’s of interest to you.

With a nod to Ms. Adams, I’ll be attending with ardor and diligence. See you there.

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