I LOVE A GOOD BEER! A beer with a beginning, middle, and end, like a good sip of wine. I wait with bated breath to hear Eve Isbell, my boss at Judicious Spirits, say, “Hey, Kate! We have a new beer coming in!” I look forward to helping customers when they ask which beers to include in their Pick-a-Six. In finding that Eve, her daughter, Sonja, and myself all enjoy beer as much as we do, we wanted to share our excitement with others.
In early 2012, Brew Belles began as an idea to introduce more women to the world of craft brews, educate them on the many styles of beer, and inform them that like a good wine, beer can also be complimented with food when paired correctly. None of us girls, however, had ever attended a beer club, let alone organized one. There were so many unanswered questions. How do we go about it? Are there laws governing something like this? Where would it need to be held? And most importantly Would anyone really come to something like this?
Online research helped to answer some of the questions, but not all. I mentioned my idea to Keith from Gaston’s, and he loved it. Keith later agreed to host the club at the resort, and offered to prepare a menu based on our recommendations to pair with the beer we would sample at that gathering.
The women were enthused. I was nervous. This was at first due to the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about what I was doing, and as the day of our first get-together loomed closer, I worried that no one would show up, but they did! Jane Charvat, a Brew Belle from the beginning, envisioned women sitting around and drinking different beers. “What I didn’t expect,” she shared, “was the structured and informative presentations, the themed beers, and the rocking appetizers!”
Apparently we were on the right track.
Our first few get-togethers were filled with trial and error. Everyone who attended shared feedback that helped us get a better handle on what we had been trying to create.
“This is new to all of us, but we have big plans,” says Sonja.
We’ve talked about having guest speakers from some of the closer breweries, as well as taking road trips. Ultimately, we want to get our attendance numbers up. Our hope is to see Brew Belles grow. We are thrilled to see part of the vision coming to fruition with more women attending every month. The ladies are becoming familiar with new beers and food pairing just as we had envisioned.
We are all learning more about beer and the brewing process, and we learned that beer should be tasted from the lightest with the least amount of alcohol to the darkest containing the highest percent ABV (alcohol by volume).
All of us have been pleasantly surprised by some of the tantalizing pairings, such as Abita Turbodog with vanilla ice cream, Boulevard Bully Porter with filet mignon, and homemade apple pie and whipped cream with a slightly chilled Guinness Draught (pronounced draft). We are discovering that we like styles that we never thought we would. We are enjoying meeting interesting women who love beer as much as we do. Brew Belles has truly become a gathering for good times, good friends and great beer!
M! Oct/Nov 2013