Beer & Chocolate

It’s that time of year again – the Oregon Chocolate Festival is coming right up. And yours truly is again presenting lively & delicious chocolate and beer tasting sessions.

For the past 5 years (this year = 6th) it’s been a pleasure to be part of this event at the invite of my fine colleague, Karolina of the Neuman Hotel Group. As I look back at the previous years, I like what I see.

OCF 2012

2012: First year invited to the festival by Karolina. My Fine Husband is a brewer in the same town and he was invited to make a beer for and talk at the Friday night Chocolate Makers dinner. Yum! I was lucky enough to go along and enjoy the hospitality and get a glimpse of what was ahead. We also were given a booth in exchange for my presentation, wherein we sold WEB goodies.

It’s always fun to see returning guests like Michelle.

2013: On the grow – the festival keeps attracting return guests and new guests into the flavor fold. I’m invited back thanks to our success last year and it’s a great time again, this time with an even fuller room (2 sessions, one Sat & Sun) that last year. Returning guests provide a humbling bonus.

Felicia enjoys the festival, with a fresh beer in hand.

2014: Getting bigger! And our last year in the actual room inside the hotel. We’re bursting at the seams and I give away a few tickets to the event – even better to help the Hotel generate more enthusiasm for a consistently well run and well done event. Felicia is the Winner and I’m so glad to have her the other 40 – 50 guests for each session. The Hotel Group has a terrific team, year over year, too so that makes the life of a presenter so much easier and more fun.

2015: Last year at the Ashland Springs Hotel, Downtown Ashland. In the tent we had a ball with as many guests would fit on Saturday, as well as a robust audience on Sunday too. Still with chairs only, we can snugly fit 60ish guests seated, with a few standing in the back. Thankfully I had enough of everything to serve the groups. Even better, my filmmaker Sean and PR pro Erika are in the house to capture all this tasty fun (clip above).

Join us at the Hills for the Festival

2016: We made a big leap forward to the new location, Ashland Hills Hotel, where the room can seat significantly more. We set up for 80 (seats & tables) and had big overflow of likely 100 = 120! While it’s a thrill to get that many people in the room who want to take part, it’s a disappointment to not be able to fully serve everyone who wanted to be there.  Big thanks to my team, Stacy & Russ, for working with the NHG crew to make it sing for me and our fine guests. I also gave away some private beer & chocolate tasting sessions (only 1 of 3 was redeemed…).

Soon: March 3 – 5, 2017. We’ll seat 100 people only, making sure that those who get there in good time have a literal seat and chair to enjoy the fun. Saturday & Sunday will allow for two different sessions, separate menus and as likely a few surprises. I’m deep into the throes of menu planning and development – creating a fun and delicious & enlightening menu for the 100 guests we’ll have Saturday and the other 100 we’ll have Sunday. Plus Karolina has given me the opportunity to be the moderator of a panel of beverage & food specialists – can’t wait!

Paula, Cassie, Ginger & Karolina are ready for you to join the fun!

Why am I walking down this chocolate memory lane today? Because in a world of sometimes feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything some days, these events are incredibly tangible and real. They’re like my fairway: a successful event like this helps me keep moving forward, knowing what I do matters.

  • Thanks to all the guests – one timers, repeats and stalwarts.
  • Thank you to Karolina and my crews – you make it all the better and successful for everyone.
  • Thank you for my flavor partners, including Dagoba Organic Chocolate and Larry/Brewer and others.

I’m relishing the upcoming festival and hope to see you there. Here’s the agenda. Please, come join us.

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Personal Anniversary Beer Dinner

My Fine Husband and I met February 6th, 2002. I was on a date (with someone else) and he was the Brewmaster leading a beer dinner with the AKM, at Granite City Food & Brewery, Sioux Falls SD.

To celebrate this meeting and then our first date March 1st 2002, we recently decided to recreate the specialness of that meeting by making our own in-home beer dinner. Date night. What a great idea!! And why hadn’t we thought about it before….oh well…no matter.

First course....complete with a cozy fire.

First course….complete with a cozy fire.

Once we decided to have this fun dinner celebrating us, we endeavored to put together a menu. Larry chose and procured the beer he desired for the evening, then I put together a complementary food menu. What fun it was to do so – knowing so much more about beer, pairing and cooking with beer now than I did 14 year ago….

When I went on that fateful February date, I went because it was Something To Do – not because it was a beer dinner proper. It was a fun thing two people who hardly knew each other could do together and converse throughout. In retrospect, it was the fact that the date in particular was quickly becoming a first and last with that person (nice guy, just not for me) that motivated me to turn my full attention to the event: learning about beer and food together.

Now, I grew up with a dinner party throwing family so the idea of coming together over beverage and food was familiar and attractive to me. To feature beer was the new idea – since my family mostly had cocktails and a bit of wine. Beer was around, simply not at these parties for whatever reason. I shared a bit more of the story in my TED talk here.

Fast forward to a month ago. The beer dinner we decided to throw ourselves was a really fun way to celebrate meeting and beginning our relationship. Here’s the menu we enjoyed.

My Fine Husband & me celebrating - cheers!

My Fine Husband & me celebrating – cheers!

If this all sounds good to you, go ahead and reproduce it as you wish, of course! Celebrate your own wonderful occasions with this or a menu of your own devising.

Life is worth celebrating. Do it often.

Cheers to My Fine Husband, professional brewer and love of my life. Here’s to years of fun dinners together forever.


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SAVORING Oregon Beer & Cheese

If you were able to attend SAVOR last weekend, you’d know it was a tastebud heaven focused on American beer & matching foods. Delicious is what we’d call it!

Happy and accomplished brewers Larry of Standing Stone (l) and Matt of Oakshire(r) at SAVOR Salon 2012

Ginger had the pleasure of moderating a few Salons, added value special sessions, Friday night. As promised to the crowd, here’s the menu of the early session Friday June 8th.

Perfect opportunity to keep the elevation of beer moving forward. Ideal flavor exploration opportunity. Stunning setting (National Building Museum).

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Women + Beer Advance: Agenda

Here’s the tentative agenda(updated 6.21.12)* for the inaugural Women + Beer Advance, dedicated to providing fun, engaging and stimulating education for all female beer enthusiasts. (Yes, it’s subject to minor changes, alterations and enhancements, as life can change; *as of 6.21.12)

All agenda items listed are included in the registration fees. Registrations can be made here. Sooner is better than later please.

Women + Beer Advance, 2 – 4 August 2012, Southern Oregon, USA

Thursday August 2nd:

Welcome reception & Beer30– social mixer for attendees, available presenters, and hosts to sip, nibble and meet.

5 – 9 pm, location pending, Medford

Friday August 3rd: Onsite at Host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

9 – 1030 am Opening & Welcome address by Ginger and the WEB crew

1045 – 1215 – In the Beginning: Beer Ingredients – supported by Roy Farms and Briess Malting

1230 – 2 pm Learning Lunch*, select Advance menu available for attendees at host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

1 pm* Dynamo Julia Herz, Brewers Association (via remote broadcast): “Taste Trip” interactive beer and food session as part of lunch

215 – 330 Good Sense! The Sensory Side Of Beer, Rebecca Newman, Dogfish Head Brewing

345 – 515 Alchemy of Beer & Glass, Glassware session lead by the Beer Goddess herself, Lisa Morrison featuring Offero Glassware. Lisa will have her books available to sign and purchase.

(Break for Dinner on your own)

7 – 9 pm W+B Beerwalk, Special PubQuest Maps provided guiding you to 4 Downtown Medford beer friendly places serving fresh, well cared for beer.

Saturday August 4th: Onsite at Host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

9 – 1030 am Classic Combinations: Beer & Cheese, Shawn Fels, Award winning Rogue Creamery

1045 – 1215 Economics of Beer, Larry Chase, professional brewer, Standing Stone Brewing. We’ll learn about the economics of beer – from buying ingredients to making the beer to getting it in your glass.

1230 – 2 pm Inspirations & Aspirations: special Advance select menu luncheon. Open floor question & answer time, at 4 Daughters Irish Pub

215 – 330 pm Sustainability of Beer, Katie Wallace, New Belgium Brewing (via remote broadcast)

330 – 400 Beer Resources – Discussion of more resources on beer, online and offline

400 – 430 Wrap up and Thank you, awards & goodies

5 – 6 pm Live Nationwide virtual tasting Guests queued to talk

745 pm Screening of The Love Of Beer, with Filmmaker Alison Grayson; brewer Tonya Cornett, 10 Barrel Brewing – long distance appearance


All travel investments are on your own. This high value advance includes a lunch both Friday & Saturday, otherwise there are plenty of choices close by to enjoy.

The area Chambers of Commerce can help direct you to places of accommodation and transportation. Medford, OR Chamber & Ashland, OR Chamber

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What I Learned During Zwickelmania

Did you zwickel last weekend? If you did, maybe you live in Oregon. If you didn’t, well…plan to get to Oregon for the annual celebration Zwickelmania in 2013.

Per the host, Oregon Brewers Guild, here’s the scoop:

Zwickelmania, hosted by the Oregon Brewers Guild (OBG), is a free statewide event that offers visitors a chance to tour Oregon breweries, meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers.

pig tail attached to a zwickel

I got myself and willing friend to attend a free Beer 101 class hosted by the brewer at Standing Stone, Larry Chase, at the brewpub. It was enlightening to go through beer 101 with a room full of other interested and lively beer enthusiasts.

Here just a smattering of the things I learned.

  1. A zwickel is a sample valve on tanks
  2. Chlorides in the water make for a more mellow flavored beer
  3. Calcium sulfate is in the Burton on Trent water, home of Bass Brewery
  4. Sulfates help accent hop character
  5. 6 row barley has more protein than 2 row

Great price, super event, and always time to celebrate what the beer community brings to our country at large, starting with your own local.

Support your local guild

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My good and long standing friend KP and I used to joke about having our own radio show someday. This idea stemmed from our conversations when we were together – they were always lots of fun, funny, and usually got other people laughing too. We have easy banter, can talk about lightweight and substantial stuff equally and above all want to have fun with it.

Join us for BeerRadio

Fast forward to now. KP is still a very good friend and I now have a radio show. She’s already agreed to be a guest one day soon.

BeerRadio is the show WEB launched ala our community radio station,, in February of 2011. At first I was thinking of recording it 2 times a month. Well, I quickly understood what a great fit it is so we’re live every week now. We run from 5 – 6 pm every Wednesday, usually from my World HQ base location in Southern Oregon and sometimes from the field.

So far:

If you like what you hear – no matter the station or topic matter – support it monetarily. Send in a donation, underwrite the program, buy an ad or volunteer to help  the station survive and keep affording the community the resource you value.

All of these shows are archived by one of my fabulous radio station colleagues (thanks Wayno!!) and permanently accessible via the Program Archives. You can stream them live from the station website too.

Like I say when we throw a get together, the guests make the party. Thanks to all the fine guests we’ve had and the ones coming up. We’ll keep knocking on doors of beer community members who want to enjoy an hour’s worth of conversation about them, their relationship with beer and different topics that come up. We try to ask questions that are not necessarily already talked about and it’s relaxed and very informational.

Thanks also to Jason and Carson of KSKQ who took a chance on BeerRadio. Cheers gents ~

p.s. Lisa’s Beer O’Clock is a terrific listen too!

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American Craft Brewers like to Collaborate

Here’s an example of collaboration: Guest tap of a neighboring brewery during American Craft Beer Week (just finished May 16 – 22).

Larry (l) and Scott (r) salute ACBW with collaboration

Larry Chase, Standing Stone, and Scott Saulsbury, Southern Oregon Brewing, enjoy a good beer together. And not just during ACBW.

They are comrades, as are many brewers. This is a snapshot from this past Saturday during ACBW. Larry invited a few guest brewers to join them at SSBC and share their beer for the benefit of the SSBC guests and beer enthusiasts. Corey of Klamath Basin was another brewer Larry engaged.

See, when collaboration happens, then it’s better for the whole community. Collaboration = communication = common goals = fun = success.

Support your local brewery collaborations. Look for them off-sale (in stores) and on-site (on draught). There’s no more creative group of thinkers than American craft brewers.

Here’s another example of collaborating in the beer community.

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Larry Found a Higher Calling

Meet Larry Chase. Professional brewer and brewer for Standing Stone Brewing Company in Ashland, Oregon.

He was willing to answer some questions for Women Enjoying Beer. I find it interesting to learn about different personalities in the brewing community and hope you enjoy it too.

WEB: How did your passion for beer develop?

LC: Being introduced to beers with flavor turned me onto enjoying beer.  Some of the first beers that started me toward the passion were Pete’s Wicked Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, and some of the Leinenkugel brands.  Finding out how beer could have so many different flavors was the next step.  By reading “All About Beer” magazine and purchasing “The Complete Joy of Homebrewing” by Charlie Papazian I began to learn how only 4 ingredients could create a diversity of flavor.  Traveling also led to development of my beer passion.  Searching out beers while exploring Europe and then visiting brewpubs throughout the U.S. over a 4 month time span was another way I set down roots to my growing passion.

WEB: Do you have a favorite thing about making beer?

LC: The aromas–the sweet grainy aromas of a new mash, the aromatics of hops when they are first added to kettle, the bready aroma of fresh yeast, the unmistakable smell of a fermentation.  The aromas of brewing beer are fabulous.

WEB: What kind of people do you find populate the industry?

LC: People passionate about beer who come from very diverse backgrounds:  engineers, chemists, biologists, people who majored in English, French Literature, Philosophy, chefs.  Most people in brewing truly enjoy what they do and are always willing to share advice.

WEB: What are some of your favorite beer and food pairings?

LC: Rich chocolate brownies and a kriek or framboise lambic.  Grapefruit and sharp cheddar cheese paired with an IPA that uses citrusy flavored hops.

WEB: Is there a beer (or two) on your list you’ve yet to try that you’re jonesing for?

LC: Usually it’s the local beer in places where I’m visiting.  I’d like to find more lower alcohol and flavorful session beers.

WEB: How does one become a “Brew Master”? What was your path?

LC: My path into brewing started in the school of hard knocks–learning on the job.  I landed in the right place at the right time with a small brewpub that was looking to hire an assistant brewer.  I was simply collecting information on what the job was like–informational interviews–and the head brewer asked if I would be interested in applying.  That’s probably the fastest I’ve ever fired off a resume.  After working for a while I learned that my previous bartending experience played a part beccause then they could offer a full-time job between assistant brewing and bartending.  While doing the work, I read voraciously all of the magazines and books that were in the brewery.  Within 8 months I started the first correspondence course offered by the American Brewers Guild. After 6 months I completed their Intensive Brewing Science and Engineering class.  The learning continues every year with conferences, technical meetings, and reading.  Not sure that this route makes me a Brewmaster.  I probably am in my immediate brewery environment, although in the bigger world of brewing there are certainly a lot of people who know a lot more than I do.  The great thing is that a lot of them are willing to share their knowledge.

Thanks Larry and cheers to many more years of great (award winning ) brewing to you!

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An Impromptu Meeting of the Beer Minds

Tonya (center), Larry (right) and Todd (left) all taste some beers

Check it out: Three brewers, informally together, tasting beer.

It’s a lovely site to behold and happily so relatively commonplace. This picture was from a recent trip to Bend, Oregon – home of numerous breweries.

Tonya’s leading Larry of Standing Stone Brewing Company (r) and Todd of Caldera Brewing (l). Tonya is the award winning and very sharp and fun brewer of Bend Brewing Company.

All the beers tried in the brew house were on target per style according to the three assembled here. Kudos to the craft brewing community in all of our communities.

Support your local brewers!

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Brain of Brewers Competition Winners

This post has some very special meaning to me – my Fine Husband, Larry Chase, is the brewer for Standing Stone, participated in the Brain of Brewers contest this year, and won Gold for his Hefeweizen AND Bronze for his Amber. He’s been a passionate professional brewer for over 13 years now and this was an extra special reward.

Larry Won Gold and Amber in the 2010 Brain Of Brewers Contest

He was very excited to enter this contest, has long used Lallemand yeast and was thrilled to win 2 medals. Of course being biased and also a big craft beer enthusiast, I was also ecstatic for him!

The gold came with a generous $5000 award as well as a lovely red ribboned actual medal and certificate to display. The $5K will all go towards equipment to keep making great beer even better.

Congratulations to all the winners – well done. And a big thank you to Lallemand for instigating this kind of contest for brewers. Larry tells me Lallemand put on a very tasty and generous spread for the event as well (Sorry I wasn’t able to go with him!).

The results of the Brain of Brewers beer contest for beers brewed exclusively with Lallemand dry yeast.

Congratulations to all! Cheers –


Gold for Hefeweizen




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Toasty Brewer

Julia Herz (l) BA & Larry at the Craft Brewers Conference

I’ll take the opportunity today to highlight My Fine Husband, Larry Chase. He’s a professional brewer, is truly passionate about quality clean tasty beer and I love him for it (among other reasons).

The Brewers Association offers many benefits – among them featuring various members of the brewing community on site. Like here.

Good man, good beer, good dogs (see the picture). Good life.

Lucky me.

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Cheers To Larry

p1030883Today the post is dedicated to my Fine Husband, Larry.

It was at a beer dinner (on a date headed South) that I first met him several years back. It’s his birthday today – so if you know him – or even if you don’t – send him some birthday wishes here.

Lucky am I.

Cheers Larry!

ox gcj

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