Beer, Beer Everywhere…And Not A Drop To Drink

How do you choose the beers you drink?

Did you know that the #1 reason women drink beer is flavor?

  • Not calories.
  • Not style.
  • Not peer pressure.

Flavor.

Did you know the #2 reason women drink beer is because it was recommended to them by a valued relationship?

  • Not calories.
  • Not style.
  • Not brand.

Relationships.

Do you know the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 10th reason why women drink beer?

If you don’t today’s the day to get the book that will help you answer and act. Buy it now, right here.

 

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The Fusion of Flavor

“Flavor is a fusion.”Julia Herz, CIA Beer & Food Summit 2015

Our taste buds stand at the ready to give us the sensory experience of our lives. If we can let our brain be led by our taste buds, we stand to gain a great deal.

Ginger & Julia in Vail, Big Beers fest 2016

Ginger & Julia in Vail, Big Beers fest 2016

Flavor is fusion. It’s combination of actual and figurative – we factor in our previous experiences with flavors in present day eatings. Keeping an open mind will help us all enjoy more, learn more, and share more.

I like the idea of flavor as fusion. We are combining what we just put in our mouths with what else we’ve had today, be it coffee, toothpaste or pancakes. It’s the mental gymnastics we allow to frequent out thinkings while consuming too. Can you remove that bad (insert your own no-thank-you food here) from trying it today? Many of us have a tough time doing that yet that’s precisely what we need to do to move forward and get past the bad.

Be “beer-minded” – think about what is going on, talk, discuss, ask questions. Flavor components and agents aren’t necessarily off-flavors – they are what they are by themselves. preference is different from quality; quality is more the realm of off-flavors and consistency & infection issues.

With a nod and a bow to Julia, be flavor minded. Enjoy the journey of beer and all its flavors available. Happy fusion awaits.

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Summer School: CAMFA

A few years ago I introduced CAMFA, a beer learning concept I based on 5 elements of enjoying beer: Color, Aroma, Mouthfeel, Flavor, and Alcohol.

As we head full on into summer, I’d encourage you to use this fun, easy & memorable concept to fully enjoy your beer.

Enjoy using CAMFA with your summer beer adventures

Enjoy using CAMFA with your summer beer adventures

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using CAMFA:

  1. Color. Color is only color. Said another way, it’s not flavor so lets your taste buds speak to flavor, leave the color for your eyes only (, James).
  2. Aromaaaaahhhhhh! It’s one of the most delightful and oft overlooked elements of beer – aroma. Really breathe it in. It’s lovely to smell your beer.
  3. Mouthfeel, aka Texture. Mouthfeel is that surreptitious friend who enables us to really get our oral sensory receptors fully engaged. Put them to work.
  4. Flavor, aka Taste. Flavor is the number one reason women engage in beer (WEB research 2008 – present). Learn to try every beer you have opportunity to do so.
  5. Alcohol. Moderation is Alcohol best friend and is ours too. Beers full glory can be best appreciated when it’s consumed and therefore enjoyed in a modest fashion.

Enjoy your summer schooling in beer with CAMFA. I’d love to get your “What I Did This Summer” essay come fall – send ’em my way! And tell me all about your beer, CAMFA adventures.

Cheers ~

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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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Rules of Beer Engagement

Craft is a hot, hot, hot word right now, particularly in the beer world. On the one hand, some care. Passionately. On the other, who cares? I don’t. I want a fresh delicious beverage I can sip to me delight. I don’t want to hear your rants and raves, your denigrations or high faluting opinions or judgements on high. So just call beer what it is: beer.

If you’re a buyer and consumer, I’d encourage you to consider your habits with the following Rules Of Beer Engagement:

1. Focus on flavor first, not style. What flavors do you enjoy, across beverage and food? Find those and get to know them, well. Identifying flavors at their base will help you move towards beer (and food) you enjoy. It’ll better enable and empower you to ask for what you want which is better for the breweries, retailers, and distributors as well. Specific is terrific.

2. Keep an open mind. Indeed, an open mind is the every best palate tool everyone can and should utilize. Saying you like this or that, saying that you don’t like that or this is closed-minded. Unless you’ve had serious repercussions of beer in your mouth very recently, then it’s time to try it all. Just as an open mind is a help, a closed mind is a major pleasure inhibitor.

Don't get upside down about beer - enjoy it for what it is.

Don’t get upside down about beer – enjoy it for what it is.

3. Enjoy what you like and support whomever is drinking with you in what they choose. In fact, try what they’re drinking and share what you’re sipping as well. If it’s been more than a month since you tried a certain beer your friend is now sipping, try it again. Our physiology changes in various ways as we age – so beer of days past will not taste the same as it does today.

4. Be a diplomat, ditch the snobbery. Diplomacy changes the world for the better. See number 3 above. Supporting beer includes supporting freedom of choice, reserving judgment (who the hell needs that anyway!!??), and fully embracing the moment.

5. Craft is 5 letters connected together. That’s it and that’s all. Any remaining parameters, lines in the definition sand, and boundaries are only on you to put up or leave down. I suggest not labeling your beer. If the product is well crafted, if care has been taken in the manufacture of beer, then it matters not the quantity made. Small isn’t the antithesis of big; it’s a sheltered view of the world and only encumbers your bee enjoyment.

Beer is meant to be enjoyed, shared, savored, and consumed. Doing so with an open mind and diplomacy will more than expand your taste buds – it’ll expand your world and make you a welcome member of society at large.

I want to hang out and get to know people who are open. If you’re one of them, give me a call – let’s go for a beer.

 

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Be In It For Good

  • Remain connected to the experience and flavors
  • Be generous hosts – make everything feel easy
  • Who are you, what do you want, what do you want to say

The above thoughts all came from a friend and colleague whom I much admire, like and respect; Fred Bueltmann, New Holland Brewing & widely known as the Beervangelist.

Fred’s words often resonate with me as I believe the philosophy of what he is communicating is not prevalent enough in the industry. I’ll expound.

1. Remaining connected to the experience is where the consumer starts. The consumer wants to connect with your beer and brand. The industry professionals already involved need to constantly and emotionally remember this every day. The customer is who you are making the beer for. Yes, you have to love it yourself to really do it justice. That said, you can’t drink it all yourselves so keep one eye on the customer, always.

Be in it for good.

Be in it for good.

2. Remain connected to the flavors. I am a huge proponent of flavor, not style. Consumers 1. Don’t necessarily know about style 2. Consumers don’t necessarily care about style if they do, 3. Flavor is where the conversation needs to start with everyone, no matter their experience. Flavor is a common ground topic. Every one tastes and explores flavors. Start with this common denominator to make steady constant progress.

3. Be a generous host. Do all of your guests feel welcome to the brand? Do they buy your products on sale or off sale or both? What does the environment in which they purchase your beer look like? What do the labels look like? Who do they speak to? Who do they repel? Being generous implies a cognizance and awareness of Who The Customer Is. Many times the “who” is she.

4. Make everything feels easy for the customer, including buying your product and consistent taste of beer. Attention to quality is key here. Successful businesses, otherwise known as brands, build their worlds on consistency. Something the consumer can count on, to return to over and over again, for the experience they are looking for. How specifically consistent? That’s up to the company and what they want to be consistent. I can guarantee if you have a flagship beer (or more) they must be the same, every time to the consumer.

5. Who are you? Who you are is part of the story. The story is what the consumer, especially the female buyer and consumer, want to know and embrace. The story makes a brand.

6. What do you want? Knowing what your goals are, aka what do you want, is critical in every endeavor from playing musical chairs (I want to be around til the last chair) to businesses (I want to deliver a delicious high quality product every time).

7. What do you want to say? Communication is addressing your story and message forward, it’s called marketing – bringing your product to market. It’s a good word and a principle concept in building and sustaining a solid beer company.

Your female customers deserve no less. You deserve no less. Be in it for good.

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Do This To Learn More About Beer

1. Go to a wine tasting

2. Attend a cheese tasting

3. Take a sensory class at a local brewery

Enjoy it. All of it! Cheers -

Enjoy it. All of it! Cheers –

4. Smell more of what you put in your mouth

5. Ask others what they taste, talking about what you taste too

6. Buy a food or meal out that you’ve never had before

7. Get a trusted friend to help you eat blindfolded or with a listening deadening device

8. Smell trees, plants, flowers, foods, beverages and anything else you wish without tasting them

9. Challenge yourself by naming every smell, aroma, taste and flavor you can – even if it’s “not quite right”

10. Read about flavor, food & drink

11. Attend a local homebrew club meeting

There are so many ways to engage in life. What we enjoy gustatorily is an enormous gift. Make time to savor. Everything.

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What Did You Do Before

What did you do…

Before you enjoyed beer?

Before you decided to try different flavors?

Before you held yourself back saying “I don’t like X”, based on a really old memory?

Before someone helped you rethink what could be possible?

Before you went off the deep end flavor wise?

Before you consciously determined you like beer?

Where did you find flavor?

Where did you find inspiration?

Who helped you learn and grow and expand?

What will you try next?

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Double Vision Doppelbock

Yum yum yum yum….

We had the pleasure of enjoying a Grand Teton Brewing Company Double Vision Doppelbock with dinner over the weekend. WOW! So delicious, clean and beautiful.

P1100828It’s been awaiting the right meal and so it happened: we choose to pair it with fresh grilled beef hamburgers and mashed Yukon gold potatoes & sweet yams, with a bit of Parmesan cheese and sour cream. The smoothness of the beer was utterly sublime with the earthiness of the meal.

Keeping in mind that color is not flavor, the glass really brought this beers gorgeousness out in the open for us to admire. Poured into a tulip style glass, it gave us a lovely aromatic experience, we could see the ‘legs’ of the beer slip back into the main body, and it was so much fun to see a rich creamy head that lasted for some time.

Thank you to our friends at Grand Teton Brewing in lovely Victor Idaho. It’s always a fun day to enjoy their beers. And no, they didn’t pay me to write this. I do it freely and happily when I want to crow about high quality, flavorful, well made beer.

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Beer Flavor Sexism Rant

If you can’t take the truth, then stop reading. If you can take it, be my guest.

Below is a contact I received recently from a brewery in planning.

I’m starting a brewery and want to find a brew or two that is [sic] especially tasty for women. What types of beer tend to be most appealing? Witbiers? Lagers? I hear you have done research and asked questions to women about what kinds of beer they like best. If you have this info, I’d greatly appreciate it!

And it’s perfect to discuss the fact that there is no such thing as a woman’s beer or a man’s beer. I’ll say it once (here):

EVERYONE LIKES FLAVOR

If you choose to not recognize and understand this and start here, then we’re all doomed to perpetuated bad myths, stereotypes that hold everything back and sexism (both ways) in relation to beer.

Let me be clear – WEB isn’t about gender: it’s about opportunity afforded to all, by all, in a respectful and equal playing field world.

Considerations:

1. Think of flavor as a human pursuit, not a gender oriented one.

2. Appeal is in the tastebuds of the EDUCATED taster.

3. Education is the absolute key to progress. Self education and education provided by brands, distributors, and retailers. Go get it!

4. There are myriad books, journals, and publications (both online and hard copy) to help educate consumers and pros alike.

5. Women Enjoying Beer is a full on business; it’s how the company can afford a living for the team. Never ask a service provider for free work. Yes, we can help anyone who is interested in actually using the qualitative information we gather from women all over the country. And yes, you get to pay for it since it’s one of our products – just like you get to buy a beer if you want to enjoy it.

We ask all sorts of qualitative questions in our research. We’re very unconcerned with what brands and styles women like in a vacuum. Meaning – you have to qualify what styles you make as they relate to your brand, what food you’re serving (if you do) and foods you recommend to pair (which everyone should), where the beer is served, what people are doing/have just done/are going to do/currently doing. There is not, nor will there ever be, a single type of beer for any gender.

WEB has chosen to delve into WHY more women aren’t enjoying beer (and why they do) which is a wonderful Pandora’s box of responses. There’s no such thing as a singular answer, since every aspect is different for everybody. Sure, there are patterns and common threads. About 4 of them.

6. If this was a woman: why would you possibly want to keep the “she-only-likes-this/these-kinds-of-beers” syndrome going?! If this is a man: shame on them for not realizing everyone likes flavor – just like if it is a woman. Of course I know, yet for this argument it’s neither here nor there. It’s unbelievable either way.

The obvious lack of market research is mystifying and appalling (whether done by the founders or hiring someone like WEB). Every brand needs to do research before they open and ongoing while they are open. Period.  I shudder to think of how this person looks at females in general.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Women hold themselves back. Mentality like this, which I’m not saying if it’s male or female, is scary and will only make the next generations suffer in many ways coming up. All genders can do something about it.

Think I’m being too dramatic? You should read some of the super passionate input we’ve received. WOW! Reports based on the 2012 Women + Beer Survey will start coming out soon, available for purchase.

Who’s offended – mildly or outright – at sexist labels? If you’re the one who says “it doesn’t matter to me/pertain to me”, this is an incredibly apathetic and dangerous attitude. Who has these labels in obvious eye-shot of an audience that is uneducated and not versed in soft porn and how damaging it is? No, it’s not that far a leap.

Everyone can do something about killing sexism, starting with beer – whether you consume it, buy it, or neither. This is a terribly ignorant query. Really?!

A much better query would be something along the lines of: When do women enjoy beer? Why do they enjoy the styles they do? Where do they enjoy beer? And so on…. I doubt men would appreciate being forced into categories as well.

As you can tell, this really gets me going. EGADS!!! This should get you going if you have any females in your life you care about.

We have so much distance to still travel for the extinction of sexism in beer to actually die.

Please do your part: start with a genderless flavor conversation. Assume respect for all genders who look at your brand. This is where every brewery will make progress, every consumer gets equal respect and brands will stop using sexist labels.

The best brands want nothing to do with including any kind of gender references and implications, graphics or images on their beer. Beer should be high quality and be sold on its merits – nothing else.

We get asked “what beer brands are bad at sexism?” I always turn the question around and point out examples of the really smart brands that focus on the beer and classy design, which appeals to everyone. FYI – in this case I reference brands like Boulevard. Sierra Nevada, and New Belgium. This facet is one reason they’re so successful. One of these days though I’m going to let ‘er rip and publish a post on poor brand choices.

Until then, I’ll keep breathing and forging ahead. It’s obvious with thinking like this that WEB needs to be around.

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ABC’s of Women, Beer & Food: Letter D

D is for Delicious.

Beer is and should be delicious. Food is and should be delicious. But what is it precisely that makes something delicious to us?

Take a read here about nuerogastronomy. And this article tells us “Experience is also an important determinant of…preferences…”

So deliciousness is the combination of many things according to different sources.

What do you think ‘delicious’ means? Or rather – what does delicious mean to you?

try and try again

However your definition unfolds and is explained or described or not, beer and food is meant for nutrition. So does it have to be delicious for us to partake? Of course not. And clearly there are signals of certain flavors that can be warning signals. It’s part of the enjoyment and social facet to enjoy your drink and food so as to fully embrace the exercise.

I say: enjoy what you like by trying everything you can. Truly, as long as it isn’t poisonous, when you give something a try once or a few times even to get a few opportunities to experience it, you may find your next favorite flavor.

Sip, nosh, nibble, quaff.

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Marketing Beer To Women: Start With The Tastebuds, Forget The Rest

“What kinds of beer do women like?”

We often get asked this question. Here’s the answer: “Ones with flavor.”

This may seem like a ‘duh’ or ‘what kinds of flavor’ lead on, and it’s not. It’s the absolute unequivocal truth.

Of course everyone likes flavor. To assume there are flavors that women prefer over what flavors men prefer is preposterous. Yes, everyone tastes flavors differently, and everyone wants different flavors. That’s exactly the point: that there are no corners on the taste buds of women, or men for that matter. And it’s exactly the reason consumers should try everything they can (suspending judgement on what they think they like) and businesses should be offering samples to all the women they encounter (to see what they do in fact like).

flavors, flavors everywhere....

There may be some lingering ‘women don’t like bitter due to the preherstoric females protecting (literally) the brood’. Let’s get with the times, everyone.

So why don’t all beer oriented companies see this? I can’t tell you that – ask them. What I can tell you is that this is precisely why WEB is around: to enlighten on what, to us and to some of you, is the obvious. These aren’t new clothes for the Emperor: they’ve been there all along!

It’s up to the crowds to see what’s right in front of us and always has been: people like flavor. Flavors vary from region to region by the nature of culture, herstory, availability and so many other factors. All the same, flavor is where you find it. And women want it.

So – beer businesses, take note: Focus on taste buds of women, not the rest of the body. It’s so elemental and simple its shocking that more don’t boil it down to this to begin with. Get rid of ineffective efforts and start by educating women on the flavors of beer.

Boobs, hair color, age, income, location, and all the other so-called important demographic factors means nothing if you don’t have flavor. Beer is an affinity product. Flavors love women, women live flavor.

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Why Serving Size of Beer Matters to Women

From the Twittersphere posted by @BeerofTomorrow: “I dug your episode [of BeerRadio] w/ Meg Gill, can you talk about why a variety of serving sizes is important for women [and] beer? Thx”

With a YES and a nod to @BeerOfTomorrow, today we’ll publicly respond to that query.* (Glad you liked Meg’s episode of BeerRadio – so did I, she’s terrific! Thanks)

Different styles of beer should optimally be served in different glassware. Shape matters in the sensory experience. In that vein, the liquid volume capacity (size) of the glass will then naturally vary.

Pilsner style beer glass

For instance, if you choose a lovely refreshing Pilsner, then the proper choice is the Pilsner style glass. The design of the glass is specifically geared towards making that beer give you the best possible experience.

What if you choose a barleywine instead? Then a tulip or snifter is best to let that beer perform for you. The angle of the glass itself, how it’s rounded to retain the aromas, the bulbous shape for temperature….it all adds up for maximum enjoyment.

Women like flavor. Size of a beer matters to them, whether they say they want a big glass of beer, a small taste, half pint, or anything else. Because enjoyment of flavor is directly tied to the size of beer serving and what they want out of that particular experience.

It matters and is different to all women since all women have their own idea of what their beer experience should be. This may seem evasive, yet I’d argue that everyone, female and male, wants their beer how they want it.

Their reasons for wanting it how they want it vary.* Here are a few:

  1. Temperature – Will it get too warm before I am done with it? Many want their beer to stay chilled or cool. This is a factor of beer serving size.
  2. Quantity – How much of which beer do they want to drink? What do they have going on immediately after they consume, what else will they be doing, who else will they be seeing? Can they enjoy 12, 16, 20 ounces or more and feel safe in doing so?
  3. Size of glass – How big is the actual vessel the beer is served in? This factor should be considered by all serving establishment for ALL patrons. Smaller hands are not exclusive to women. And being able to fully control and safely grasp the glass you’ve been served should be in mind when determining sizes on the menu; just as the alcohol content needs to be considered (another issue for another time).
  4. Samplers – I can tell you that samplers of beers, flights to some, are always an excellent idea for serving and getting women into beer. And I daresay for men as well. It’s the perfect opportunity to get multiple flavors in front of one person. From the business side, it should also be good margin, which helps your business grow and thrive.

Small glasses are key for the best beer 'sampler' - no more than 4 ounces

To those of you who serve samplers: Keep the sampler sized portions small – it’s called a ‘sampler‘ for a reason. I’m always appalled when I got to breweries and pubs who serve up a sampler of 6 – 10 beers in 6 ounce glasses. That’s irresponsible, wasteful and not a good value at the end of the day.

Conclusion: If you’re not being offered a serving size in the glass shape you want and feel is best, request it until you get it.

Every brewer wants their beers to be enjoyed in moderation, at best temperature when possible and in the best choice of glassware. Women want to enjoy flavors of all kinds, and size of serving factors into the experience in a number of ways. The investment of proper glassware in a variety of sizes will more than pay off in educating everyone on what’s best for the beer.

*Based on qualitative female beer consumer research conducted across the USA by Women Enjoying Beer, 2009 to present/ongoing

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5 Pointers “To Do” for Women’s Beer Groups

1. Use the words “Women” or “Females”. These are words with respect and equality. Any other titles or labels are not progress oriented.

2. Assume everyone wants to enjoy and explore flavors. One of the most common questions WEB gets asked is “What kinds of beer to women like?” Response: Ones with Flavor. Everyone likes different flavors and starting with the flavor conversation is how you’ll make progress.

3. Do your homework. Before you hold an event or host a group, ask some qualified women (meaning – women who drink beer) what kinds of flavors they like – and don’t limit it to beer flavors. Make it wide open to include any and all kinds of flavors.

4. Make sure the atmosphere is comfortable temperature wise (including the bathroom), seating wise, and per table height. Make sure the bar isn’t elbows-on-the-kids-table height. Turn the music down, but not off, and make sure it’s appropriate. Distracting music will only detract from any education you and the consumer are trying to accomplish.

5. Enjoy. Listen, learn, ask questions, provide responses with no judgement. Thank the women who participate and invite them back.

Yes, simple’s good. And effective.

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31 Facets of Women & Beer: Facet #13

Women and Beer Facet #13 is No Color Needed (or wanted).

Beer is beer. Beer is not pink, it’s not baby blue, or any other color.

And it’s not about marketing a beer expressly made for women to women. That’s tooooootally off base and complete bunk. Here are a couple doozies that stink (1 and 2).

We had yet another contact by a student involved in a group marketing project. This group chose to market beer to women.

Right off the bat I told them: Beer isn’t about gender. And marketing is about knowing your market. One facet of this that came up in our conversation was the color issue. No pinkification – it’s insulting, totally misguided and usually is quite a pandering move by the driving company. Unless you’re Barbie, Victoria’s Secret or Susan G. Komen, or you’re doing an authentic collaboration with the aforementioned, leave the pink alone.

Beer is about flavor, not color. In one way, it’s that simple.

31 Facets of Women & Beer Series starts here

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Why Women Don't Enjoy Beer

We are often asked why women don’t drink beer. While there are myriad reasons women both drink and don’t drink, here are a few common findings from women from our research.

  1. The don’t like the flavors of the beers they’ve had. This usually manifests itself as ‘I don’t like beer’ – BECAUSE they have bad flavor memories of the beers they have had. Unfortunately a lot of times this leads to universal dismissal of all beers.
  2. They have a bad memory associated with beer. Again, unfortunately it’s almost always not the beer’s fault; it’s the fault of the drinker or source. They drank too much and got sick or they had beer that was truly bad.
  3. They’ve not been invited to explore the flavors of beer. It’s like a parent not letting a child try a new and unique food thinking the parent thinks they won’t like it based on the parents tastes, not the childs.
  4. 3 women who love beer

    They have alcoholism in their past or families so they want nothing to do with any kind of alcohol. Once again, it’s not the beers fault. Regardless, this is an area of life to always respect and acknowledge.

  5. They think it’s highly caloric. While we don’t expressly study health and nutrition surrounding beer, we do hear the caloric facet come up on rare occasion. Know this is also a low-on-the-totem-pole list of concerns too. I believe that this enters women’s thinking largely due to the hammering of image that woman are supposed to be calorie hypersensitive. Untrue. Most women know or have an idea of the caloric content of a lot of things they consume, many still don’t realize the relative bargain of beer to value (social, experience, flavor, volume). I love to share with women that beer on the average has half the calories of wine, and we enjoy wine too.
  6. It’s assumed they want wine, by someone else, so they aren’t offered a beer. Pish! The more women we talk to, the more speak up that they do in fact prefer a beer in social settings and sometimes have to forcefully ask for a beer if they are not offered one. Seriously, every adult who is capable of making their own beverage choice should be offered a beer.

The best part of all of this is that every brewery, distributor, and retailer can do something about 5 of these 6. And even #4, which needs to be handled carefully, when handled with respect can actually engender return respect for the purveyor.

Women want to enjoy beer. Learn how to ask them what it is they do and don’t like about beer and get the conversation flowing. You’ll find more than enough opportunity to open new doors.

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CAMFA Series #5: Alcohol

We’ve been digging into the concept of CAMFA, an educational tool developed by Women Enjoying Beer to teach some beer enjoyment basics. Today we’re on the last letter: A

CAMFA C = Color, A = Aroma, M = Mouthfeel, F = Flavor, A = Alcohol

The alcohol in beer is the product of the brewing process wherein alcohol and CO2 are the result or fermentation. Brewers determine, within their recipe making, what resultant alcohol content they are aiming for. And while brewing certainly is a science, it’s equally art and the final outcome may or may not be as precise as they desire. Beer is a living organism and brewers are excellent manipulators of the wort and beer to get the results they desire.

The alcohol content of beer is commonly referenced as ABV, or Alcohol By Volume. It’s familiar to many and you should be able to find it in all beer labeling. If the beer you get or serve comes from a cask or keg, the staff of the dispensing body should absolutely know what the ABV is. It’s a responsibility factor for both the serving or selling party and the consuming party. Equal onus here, folks.

Alcohol is the reason some people drink, and in moderation, that’s acceptable. Hopefully more people than not partake because of all the other wonderful reasons there are to drink beer: camaraderie, education, entertainment, support, and curiosity.

Beer is the result of an extraordinary investment. Of resources in people, time, equipment, supplies, money, and passion. Enjoying it responsibly reflects the respect you also hold for it while simultaneously recognizing the investment of the brewer/y.

Cheers to all parts of CAMFA: Color, Aroma, Mouthfeel, Flavor and Alcohol. Cheers to the brewers round the world who allow us to partake of this universal beverage.

CAMFA Series #1: Color

CAMFA Series #2: Aroma

CAMFA Series #3: Mouthfeel

CAMFA Series #4: Flavor

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CAMFA Series #4: Flavor

CAMFA is a program developed by Women Enjoying Beer to educate all beer consumers, all internal and external customers.

Today we’re up to the F.

CAMFA C = Color, A = Aroma, M = Mouthfeel, F = Flavor

Flavor is perhaps the most commonly known or familiar aspect of beer. When you ask someone why they either like or don’t like beer, many will say the flavor/s. It’s one of the most obvious sensory parts in the beer experience.

Flavor is a wonderful part of beer

And there’s a few good reasons why. Whether you like the flavors of the beer or not, you notice them right away. Many people still don’t pay much attention to the beauty in the color of beer, or the smelling of their beer or even the texture of their beer. Flavor is a common denominator.

  • What do you taste?
  • What kinds of flavors are you identifying?

Being able to label the flavors you taste, like identifying smells, is a powerful tool to building your beer knowledge. Flavors of beer are as diverse and limitless as any beverage can be.

Part of that is due to the fact that with at least 4 basic ingredients and potentially scads more, there are infinite flavor combinations that can occur. Add to that: Beer is a living organism (most beer is not pasteurized). Hence it’ll stay alive and the flavors can change subtly or remarkably depending on a few factors.

You want the beer to stay alive, to not have the yeast die or get killed off, to really enjoy the beer as the brewer meant it to be. Fresh, full of flavors and aromas for you to relish.

Flavor is the (so far) result of the color, aroma, and mouthfeel of your beer. The flavors are a kind of metaphorical tie that brings them together in your mouth. And such wonderful ties they are!

p.s. talk about flavor – get into pairing beer flavors with foods...

Tomorrow: Alcohol

CAMFA Series #1: Color

CAMFA Series #2: Aroma

CAMFA Series #3: Mouthfeel

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