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!


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WEB & 2013 Festival Of Trees

2013 WEB Tree

Look at the gorgeous glowing glass ornaments by Gathering Glass

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest commemorative stein & tickets for 2014

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest commemorative Stein & tickets for 2014

Another successful year of being a tree designer at the Medford, OR Festival Of Trees, put on by Providence Hospital is complete.

It’s a very well attended and fruitful event that brings in money to serve the community through the hospitals’ services. We’re very glad to have been a contributor to this fun event for 3 years in a row now.

I want to make sure we thank a number of folks and companies who helped make this possible, from the WEB tree angle.

3 year Donors:

Recology: 2013 FOT Tree Sponsor

Recology: 2013 FOT Tree Sponsor

Tasty beer & food cookbook under the FOT

Tasty beer & food cookbook under the FOT

2013 Tree Sponsor:

2013 Donors:

Great gifts, like these from Ninkasi Brewing, graced the project this year

Great gifts, like these from Ninkasi Brewing, graced the project this year

Lovely Dogfish Head brewing glasses + coasters

Lovely Dogfish Head brewing glasses + coasters

Thank you to the Cutler Investment Counsel for the Large Tree Sponsorship, American West Bank for the Large Tree Design sponsorship, and for whomever purchased the tree at the live auction event. We hope you find a great place to plant it and it grows strong and healthy for years.

WEB is consistently the only live potted plantable Large Tree designer (there are table top trees as well as wreaths and a few other excellent options).

Thanks as well to the hundreds of folks who came out to view the trees and support the event, the myriad Providence folks and army of volunteers who make it happen each year. A special thanks to my frolleauges with the Jackson County Master Recyclers as well

Delicious Weisinger's Wine

Delicious Weisinger’s Wine

Hop Bines from Alpha Beta Hop farm add grace

Hop Bines from Alpha Beta Hop farm add grace

for streaming and reducing and educating to make a greener holiday season.

This is the biggest single volunteer donation event we do each year – and happily so!

Again, thanks to everyone for their support. Cheers to a safe, happy, tasty and wonder filled holiday season –


A few stats from the Festival:

  •  Over 20K visitors usually tour the event, during invite sessions as well as public viewing
  •  The Festival has raised over 6.7 million dollars over 20 years. These dollars are applied toward a variety of community health services and programs for the Providence Medford Medical Center.
Growling goodies from BricktownE Brewing

Growling goodies from BricktownE Brewing

OMSI donated some fun tickets

OMSI donated some fun tickets

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Why Do You Go?

Why do you attend festivals? Why do you attend conferences of any sort? Have you ever stopped to consider why you want to attend events of different sorts?

I’ve definitely spent time considering this and here are some of my thoughts.

1. Fests and recreational events: One of the biggest reasons I attend fests, generally beer fests, is to work. WEB is able to talk with dozens if not hundreds of people at fests which is excellent for progress. Since we don’t make and sell beer, we’re also able to vend our quality wares and more often than not, we’re able to offer Beer EduTainment. I love the interactions with guests, friends and colleagues that come by, and enjoy the whole scene. Yes, it can get tiring, though overall it’s a happy tired since they are upbeat events.

Cheers to fests & guests. Ali/Ninkasi & Ginger

Cheers to fests & guests. Ali/Ninkasi & Ginger

2. Conferences: Education and connecting. As an independent company with a few great people working with us who are spread across the country, it’s important to connect and reconnect with those in the community and industry. As varied as our states, as diverse as a Baskin Robbins cooler, the folks we talk with and relate to are invigorating and helpful. Developing relationships make work all the better and in this industry usually transfer to real long-lasting friendships.

3. Passive Events: those that require only watching or listening. These can be refreshing in the way that they are undemanding of energy we put forth. Sitting back and taking in what someone else has to offer is re-invigorating, relaxing, and usually enlightening. Making notes, noticing tips and pointers that we can integrate and use, as well as people watching are all very worthwhile and enjoyable. These events are the mouses share (get it?) for us.

I often wonder if I weren’t in the beer profession, would I attend beer fests? The answer that I quickly come to is yes. Yes to those that are well run and organized. Yes to those that are organized, fun , tasty and truly offer a fulfilling life experience.

Thanks to those people who plan, run, and make all the cogs turn at events of all sorts: organizers, volunteers, security, vendors, sponsors, and guest.

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A Go/at To Cheese

Cheers to day to Cypress Grove Chevre for being a new partner in our educational pursuits. Thank you for the engagement. We’re already very glad to be partnered with Ninkasi Brewing as well.** And beer and cheese are 2 gustatory delights that all of us at WEB fully enjoy.

They have a lot in common too:

  • They’re both alive (ideally not pasteurized)
  • The flavors of both change as they age (for better or worse, if left too long)
  • They’re both versatile, infinitely flexible in uses and great to share

While I could go on, I’ll let this quote say it another way.

Happy enjoyers Barbara, Judy, Ginger & Frank at the WEB Ribbon Cutting & Greeters 3/15/13

Happy enjoyers Barbara, Judy, Ginger & Frank at the WEB Ribbon Cutting & Greeters 3/15/13

At a recent event I hosted, my fine husband was serving beer and managing the food table. The offerings included Humboldt Fog (and Truffle Tremor) by CGC and he heard these words uttered by an obviously very happy guest:

[Humboldt Fog is] “My favorite cheese in the whole world.”

While I shy away from stating favorites, clearly this person has passion for the brand compelled them to share their enthusiasm and gratitude for the plate of it in front of them.

So thanks Cypress Grove and guest! It takes two to taste and we’re so glad you enjoyed it.

Here’s the full menu, per a morning Ribbon Cutting & Chamber Greeters that WEB hosted (thanks to Louie’s for the gracious use of their space).

  • Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog & Truffle Tremor
  • Locally grown fresh red Bartlett pears and Gala apples
  • Nutty Squash Bread, Dill & Goat Cheese bread, & Chocolate Almond Bread – 2 of 3 made with beer
  • Standing Stone Brewing Company Chocolate Ale, Amber, Brewers Surprise & Oatmeal Stout

**Open offer to other purveyors of fine beer and food who are interested in partnering with us: There’s always room for one more good one! Be in touch.

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Portland Women’s Expo 2013

Make no mistake: Women Enjoy Beer.

Testimony was in full force last Saturday at the Portland Convention Center where the Portland Women’s Expo took place. WOW! They’ve been doing the event for some time and clearly the addition of the Women Enjoying Beer Lounge was a very popular addition.

At any one time, between opening at 10 am and about 4 pm+, the Lounge area was packed with great women seeking flavor and fun. 3 to 4 deep, all around the tables – very cool to see!

Our Big Thanks to Chico & the organizers for being open to enhancing the Expo with the Lounge. A Huge Thanks to Maletis Beverage Distributors and the beer brand representatives that made the Beer area pour fluidly all day. Shout out to Ninkasi Brewing and Kind Snacks for adding even more flavor to the day.

Also – Thanks to the Portland Trolley for letting me hop on the Trolley they had present and give some Edutainment to interested attendees. The Beer & Chocolate session filled up that sporty and comfy trolley to be sure! Further proof that women want to learn, have fun learning, and do it in a very social and welcoming setting. FYI – the beers and chocolates we served: SOB Porter & Oakshire Espresso Stout; Dagoba Organic Chocolate Xocolatl, Beaucoup Berries, Roseberry, Dark.

If you were at the Expo and really liked the addition of a beer area, please thank and tell the organizers. Here’s their contact info.

We were thrilled with the partnerships, support and opportunity to participate to support the Portland Women’s Expo Foundation in this endeavor. In fact, we hope they want us back next year – because we’ve already got tuns of ideas flowing to improve and build the Lounge, which increases the fundraising efforts that this event is truly all about.

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Virtual Tasting on BeerRadio today

Today will be our first BeerRadio Virtual Tasting featuring sponsor Ninkasi Brewing. I know I’m looking forward to it. Here’s the scoop:

P1100768At 5 pm Pacific Standard Time, this week’s episode of BeerRadio will begin on our home station Stream along with us. Inviting friends and nibbles to the mix makes it all the better and more educational.

We’ll taste, examine, and talk about the following beers:

Participate from the comfort of your home and favorite local establishments. Sip along!

The studio phone line will be open as well so call in to share ideas, thoughts and suggestions 541-482-3999. Larry will answer the phone with relish.

Ninkasi isn’t yet in your market place? Choose other beers you want to explore and join us all the same. It’s all about the exploration and sharing, education and social quality a beer tasting is designed to accomplish.

If you’re in Southern Oregon and want to join us live in the studio, call me directly by 3 pm PST. We have room for 3 – 4 women & men who want to sip along.

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Raft & Craft 2012 Beer & Food Pairing Menu

Cheers to all the fine guests, guides and lodge crews for another fun & tasty Raft and Craft trip. ROW Adventures, just voted 2012 Worlds best Tour Operator by Travel + Leisure Magazine, and WEB partnered up again to deliver a memorable trip down the gorgeous Rogue River. Jamie Floyd, co-founder and founding brewer of Ninkasi Brewing was part of the trip as well, providing plentiful Ninkasi beers to pair with the foods presented each night.

The goal of the trip is to offer a singular experience, with an emphasis on beer and food together. As promised, the menu is below for all to enjoy.

Consider one of the many spectacular trips ROW offers. They’re very well done, all bias aside, with an eye on detail, safety and optimum guest experience. So glad to be a part of it.

Evening 1:

  • Radiant (fresh seasonal) with Un Mondo sausage
  • Oatis Oatmeal Stout with Annie’s graham cookies and chocolate covered almonds
  • Tricerahops Double IPA with raw Rumiano sharp cheddar cheese and walnuts

Evening 2:

  • Total Domination IPA with fresh grapefruit and wasabi peas
  • Maiden the Shade (seasonal) with Kettle brand chips – sea salt and sea salt & pepper
  • Believer Double Red with Denmark’s Finest (creamy) Havarti cheese and pecans


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Perpetuating the Village Brewer

Well dressed Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge (flanking Ginger) at SAVOR 2012

The third of the 3 Salon’s Ginger moderated at SAVOR 2012 last weekend featured the fast growing Ninkasi Brewing beers with tasty cheeses.

Founders Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge shared engaging insight on how Ninkasi came to be, how they two of them connected to found this NW juggernaut and why the Village Brewer idea is so important to our American communities. 

Rest assured, the beers we enjoyed perpetuated a delicious session: Radiant Ale, Helles, and Helles Belles among them.

Be sure to savor your beers, wherever you may be. Pairing them with food is even more rewarding and an ideal scenario to strengthen and create friendships. Cheers!

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Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2012 WEB Educational Sessions

Spring Beer & Wine Fest 2012

Friday found us at the annual Spring Beer & Wine Fest in Portland, Oregon.

We gave a tasty Beer & Cheese pairing session on the stage Friday with much success. As promised to fest goers – and is our habit to post menus following events – here’s the line up we featured:

The fun-loving attendees of the session learned to smell their beer and name some of the characteristics, including colors and flavors. It’s important to educate everyone on the value of being able to talk specifics about beer. 

Tomorrow: The Saturday Cooking With Beer ideas imparted at the Spring Beer & Wine Fest.

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Sensory Terms

It's fun and educational to hang with Jamie

Jamie Floyd has good sense. Ninkasi is the Eugene brewery that he co-founded. Jamie invited me to be part of a sensory Game (as he calls it) a few weeks ago. It was great! And I learned a few more things about beer.

Since I love words, here are a few I wanted to encourage everyone to use – Businesses: teach these to consumers, one at a time. Consumers: learn them, seek out brewery folk to help you get to know them well.

  • Retro Nasal
  • Thresholds
  • Shadow Spots
  • Gram-Negative

Vocabulary is a very fun and effective way to get more consumers deeper into beer – all beer. Education truly is the core of progress.

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HerStory & Ninkasi

back side of the Ninkasi Brewing gate

In homage to the pending Mother’s Day Holiday, WEB invites you to enjoy an excerpt from the Hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian Goddess of Fermentation.

Borne of the flowing water (…)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Borne of the flowing water (…)
Tenderly cared for by the Ninhursag,
Having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you,
Ninkasi, having founded your town by the sacred lake,
She finished its great walls for you
Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake,
Ninkasi, Your father is Enki, Lord Nidimmud,
Your mother is Ninti, the queen of the sacred lake.

Her name and contribution to brewing came up yesterday at our HerStory: Women in Brewing talk + tasting event.

Like our friends at Ninkasi Brewing affirm, Worship the Goddess.

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Raft & Craft + New Meet Up Beer Group

Two events on the near horizon to talk about today:

1. Raft and Craft – Joy and Bob have an Oregon Craft Beer Trip. Sweet! Raft on the gorgeous Rogue River, enjoy company of other fun folks, savor quality Ninkasi craft beer and stay in cozy lodges. Seems pretty complete.

We leave the 18th of July, return the 20th and Joy has all the details – contact her here.

2. 4 Daughters Irish Pub is starting their own beer group – the inaugural event is this Wednesday, June 23rd – open to all genders. We’ll be a hosting a tasty Beer & Cheese Fondue pairing. Mmmmmmmm! A classic combination – call them here for your tickets.

Get out and support the brewers of your neighborhood, region, and the world.

Beer makes the world go round in some very lovely ways.

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What To Do

Ready for a great trip on the Rogue?

Well, one answer is to enjoy it (was there a question of what to do with your time??). Period.

  • Work – if it’s enjoyable absolutely qualifies.
  • Recreation – yes.
  • Solitude – whatever works for you.

One thing that makes life and all the people in it fun for me is to be adventurous. Joy is one of those people who have swooped in and made it that much more engaging and fun. She is her name.

We’re throwing this trip for all adventure goers – fresh air enthusiasts, livers, and doers. You can get details here.

We’d love to meet you and enjoy the adventure together.

p.s. great beer included

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Beer and White Water

What do you enjoy your beer with?

How about some invigorating white water?

Women Enjoying Beer has been graciously and enthusiastically invited by Joy Henkle, White Water Warehouse to be along on a very special, first ever for them (and WEB) Oregon Craft Beer Trip.

WOO HOO! Get that life preserver on because here comes a literal boatload of fun!!!

This trip is scheduled for July 18 – 20th, includes comfy lodge overnight accommodations, tasty food, plenty of (free) fresh air and craft beer, and surely dynamite company.

Rogue river raft trip with White Water Warehouse

And the guests always make the party.

That’s you – women and men welcome. Register. Today.

We’ll be featuring the high quality beers from Ninkasi – YEA!  – as well for our two nights of pre-dinner beer and food pairing tasting.

Ninkasi was a generous partner earlier this year for a WEB meet up, much to the delight of the attendees. Thanks to Nicole, James, Jamie, and the entire crew in Eugene (Congrats on the expansion progress by the way).

There are a finite number of spots so reserve today by getting in touch with Joy here.



Ninkasi = Quality

One sign of good beer

One sign of good beer

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

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

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

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

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


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

Be a Believer, Dominate and eat your Oatmeal.

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