Happy New Beer!

Events are a lot of damn work.

So I’m always grateful for client partners who understand a few things:

  1. They want to work together to further beer education, for the beer and for the education.
  2. They understand we both have skin in the game and anticipate – ne expect – to pay me for my services.
  3. They are on top of the details. Logistics are involved and time-consuming – no wonder people specialize in events management!
  4. They forge ahead and make it work.

So my new year goblet of beer is raised today to the hard-working, smart and clever people with Fermenta today. I’ve the pure tasty pleasure to being their guest for a special January event coming right up on the 11th. Here’s the link – save your seats today (space is very limited and it’ll be a tasty blast into the new year).

I’ll even be bringing some bootlegged Women Enjoying Beer koozies as gifts for all guests. The company Kolder stole my logo this summer and called it a mistake’… (more on that another time).

This event is open to all flavor enthusiasts, all makes and models. We’ll have a grand time in Michigan Winter tasting, talking and learning together.

Like I say in the opening of my book, this is one of those occasions: “Lotta damn work, made easier with help.” Thanks.

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Fermenta Flavor Trip

With a nod to the Ancient Mariner, one of the very best aspects of beer is flavor – hands (and pints) down. And one of the reasons is that we all enjoy flavor.

Do we all enjoy the same flavors? Oh goddess, no! That’s not important. What is important to is to enjoy beer and the beer community for all it offers, all beer flavors and characters included.

In my travels and adventures of beverage and food, I frequently lead beer and food pairings – often beer and chocolate. This eye-opening and often unexpected partnership of two everyday goodies is met with skepticism and enthusiasm. “Really, we’re going to have chocolate with beer?” Yes, really. Here’s why.

fermentablackBeer’s grain bill – the actual grains in the beer recipe – has so many affiliations with flavors in various chocolates. In fact, since they both have a prominent base ingredient (beer = grain, chocolate = cocoa), they are naturally set up to deliciously co-exist. While I may sound bias, I can tell you that the light bulbs I see go on in a room experiencing beer and chocolate make the effort so incredibly worthwhile.

Teaching to flavor, opening minds by starting with our palate is gratifying and satisfying. Gratifying because there are always people in the room who have epiphanies. Voila! “Whoa – who knew??!!” reactions that in turn make me grin. Satisfying because I get to refresh my taste buds with beer and chocolate at the same time, thereby renewing the joy of flavor exploration.

Join us January 11th as the fine Fermenta folks and I host a lively educational event at gracious host Arcadia Ales in Kalamazoo. I’ll be giving the talk, HerStory: The Story of Women & Beer, with the bonus goodies of fresh beer, Dagoba chocolate and Rogue Creamery cheese. Bring your open mind and open palate, good humor and a friend. Space is limited so register today.

See you soon in the Great State of Michigan for a flavor filled night. Cheers till then!

g

this article was originally written for Fermenta, 2017.

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Beer & Chocolate at Swig & Stitch

Yum! If you already enjoy beer and chocolate, kudos to knowing about how versatile and tasty this combination can be. If you’ve yet to discover that beer and chocolate go hand and glass, it’s time to start tasting.

Last night at Swig & Stitch we paired Dagoba Chocolates with various beers at our host location, 4 Daughters Irish Pub. What a success!

To start – when I announced as much, the room gave an approving “mmmmmm” sound. As a presenter, it’s always good to have the audience excited about the forthcoming event.

Sandi teaching techniques at Swig & Stitch

Sandi teaching techniques at Swig & Stitch

It’s fun to mix and match too…though the chocolate rapidly disappeared and the beers were quickly enjoyed. So it goes for tasting – and so it should go. We feature small pours and portions. Enjoying beer and food includes exercising moderation.

We’ve got the Season Wrap-Up Event June 10th, in conjunction with Medford Beer Week. A fun program, beer & wine, and smackerels are all on the agenda. All are welcome (over 21 years of age) – here’s the info & registration link.

I encourage you to find Dagoba and other chocolates, choose some beers and get tasting. Everything tastes better at a welcoming establishment and with others. Let me know (comment below) the combinations you find delicious – we’ll share them forward.

Cheers!

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Grizzly Peak Winery & Beer

Sunday inaugurated a brand new idea to a local winery: Beer & Wine tasting, together. The open-minded and community oriented owners, Virginia and Al of Grizzly Peak Winery, were gracious hosts of this first time effort. They’re taking their time to build the winery slowly and

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted...

delicious Grizzly Peak Wines waiting to be tasted…

steadily with great results.

It’s a lovely location that exhibits a lot of love, hard work and investment. What a perfect place to hold a tasting event. It’s a place many consider for other events, as they’ve hosted plays, weddings and all kinds of other happenings.

With much success, the room filled with over 20 guests, 2 hosts and a few other special people to enjoy a sunshine filled afternoon learning about beer and wine together. The cheese and chocolate that accompanied the tasting was a flavorful and impactful addition as well.

Why beer and wine? Because you don’t have to only like one. You don’t have to choose one over the other. They are both eagerly awaiting the opportunity to give your senses a terrific experience.

The first time I gave a beer and wine event it was also at another winery. It’s yet another reason we need to shatter the idea that one beverage is the elite, the only, the one that strangely earns the self-imposed and very unsavory title of snob. And really it doesn’t surprise me since the wine folk I know embrace beer. After all it takes wonderful beer to make tasty wine!

Ginger & Virginia - happy tasters!

Ginger & Virginia – happy tasters!

Flavor is where you find it. The exploration of various liquids and solids can be enjoyable for all if the mind is open before the lips even part.

Menu: Beer & Wine, Together Forever

Cheeses featured were from Cypress Grove Chevre: Midnight Moon and Bermuda Triangle

Chocolates featured were from Dagoba: Hazelnut, Lemon Ginger, Beaucoup Berries, New Moon

I invite you to taste the two categories side by side – chocolate and cheese in the mix only teaches us more varieties of what’s possible for our palate.

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Great Flavor Partners, Beer & Chocolate

People file in…anticipating flavor and fun…they’re happily satisfied.

So went our annual Beer & Chocolate Tasting sessions at the recently concluded 10th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival. The whip sharp and inspiring Karolina of Ashland Springs Hotel (Neuman Hotel Group) started the festival 10 years ago to create a shoulder season event for residents and visitors alike. Suffice it to say: it’s been a big success.

Ashland is home to 23K+ permanent residents, a few thousand University students and innumerable visitors every year. A festival of this caliber is a pleasure to be a part of – Karolina and her fantastic assistant Paula along with the entire crew (Gina, Charlie, Gigi, and dozens more staff) are a joy to collaborate with.

Find a local beer class - and take it!

Find a local beer class – and take it!

When I approached Karolina 3+ years ago to inquire about adding their first ever beer and chocolate session, she was ready to embrace it – new, interesting, and attractive to the hundreds of guests that visit the fest. Some of them year after year after year, from far and near.

I love teaching. The lightbulb moments, the opportunity to open minds and pleasing palates, the myriad people you meet and the comfortable and accommodating setting are all reasons the love continues. Teaching in an ideal setting helps make it the best it can be for the guests too, never mind the presenters (!).

Get out and support your local festivals. Attend as a paying guest, volunteer to help, and spread the word.

Here are the menus for the 2 sessions we gave this year. Hope to see you in class next year!

Great Flavor Partners: Beer & Chocolate

Saturday

  1. Milk and Honey Ale with Roseberry
  2. Twin Plunge IPA with Lavender Blueberry
  3. Humboldt Fog
  4. Hop Night Cascadian Dark with Mint

Sunday

  1. Steel Cut Stout with classic Dark
  2. Noble Stout with New Moon
  3. Truffle Tremor
  4. Milk and Honey with Eclipse
  5. BONUS: award-winning Amber (with whatever was remaining!)

A great time was had by all – thanks to all the guests, new and returning. Cheers til next time –

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Beer & Chocolate: Oregon Chocolate Festival 2013

Mmmmmmmmm. Ooooooooooo! Ahhhhhh!

Sounds that emanated from the Ashland Springs Hotel Grand Ballroom, Conservatory, and Crystal room were harmoniously happy with the offerings at the 9th annual Oregon Chocolate Festival this past weekend.

Glasses and plates up to Karolina of the Springs who started this event 9 years ago. Cassie, Danielle, Jacob, and all the rest of the crew put forth a great and effective effort to show guests a lovely time. Several community partners helped enhance the event as well. Here’s the link to the fest.

beer and chocolate

beer and chocolate

We had the pleasure of providing edutainment both Saturday and Sunday: Beer & Chocolate tastings and pairings. We traveled through the tastings enhanced with great questions asked by the guests. Thanks to everyone who joined us! T’was fun to see some familiar faces return as well. Hope to see you all again next year at the fest.

As promised and is our habit to share, here are the two workshop menus. All beers generously provided by Standing Stone Brewing Company, Ashland OR.

Saturday 3.3.13

  • SSBC I Love Oregon Ale with Dagoba Lemon Ginger Chocolate
  • 2013 Chocolate Festival SSBC Chocolate Ale with Dagoba Xocolatl
  • SSBC Oatmeal Stout with Dagoba Chai Chocolate
  • SSBC Barleywine with Dagoba Roseberry Chocolate

Sunday 3.4.13

  • 2013 Chocolate Festival SSBC Chocolate Ale with Lillie Belle Perfect Illusion Chocolate
  • SSBC Oatmeal Stout with Lillie Belle Stella Blue Chocolate
  • SSBC Barleywine with Lillie Belle Purple Haze Chocolate

Thanks much to Dagoba Chocolates and Lillie Belle Handmade Chocolates for letting us feature their yummy wares.

We also mentioned a few references for learning more about beer:

In the meantime, until next year, call on Women Enjoying Beer for your own events. We’re available to hire to edutain and enjoy “beer and…” whatever you may have in mind.

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Oregon Chocolate Festival: 1st Ever Beer & Chocolate Pairing

Women Enjoying Beer presented the first ever Beer & Chocolate pairing session at the 8th Annual Oregon Chocolate Festival held last weekend in Ashland, OR. Our gracious and enthusiastic hosts, lead by the famazing Karolina, made being a presenter and vendor easy and fun.

Thanks to the guests who enjoyed an hour’s worth of lively tasting, conversating and questions. We featured 3 flavorful West coast beers matched with 3 delicious local chocolate makers.

Judging by the enthusiasm of the attendees I’d say we had a big success on our taste buds.

Many thanks to the generous supply of beer from the brewers and Lark’s Restaurant in the Hotel as well as the chocolate companies. The Hotel staff and volunteers from SOU were a big help as well.

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