My downfall started on a hot summer day at a little beer festival in Decatur, GA around 15 years ago. I got a chance to taste some great craft beers and haven’t looked back since…
When my insanity had gained full momentum and we started to conceptualize Eagle Rock Brewery a little over 7 years ago, there wasn’t much of a beer scene or a craft beer community in LA. Thanks to a couple of beer-centric bars and a very active homebrew community, LA was just beginning to appreciate great craft beers at that point.
One of the first observations that I made when we started getting more involved in the craft beer culture was how male-dominated that culture was; not just on the side of craft beer professionals, but also on the consumer side. I noted how women are generally offered “chick beers” (almost always the beers that have so much fruit or sugar added to them, that they hardly resemble beers at all!), and oftentimes even dissuaded from trying better beers because the flavors of the hops or malt profiles were considered too assertive for the female palate.
I had decided at that point that I’d really like to create some sort of environment where ladies didn’t have to get pigeon-holed into certain types of beers, and to empower them to explore different styles in order to identify what they liked and didn’t like about beers. (It makes choosing a beer from the thousands of options much less daunting.) Thus, after several months of bouncing around in my head, the Women’s Beer Forum was born. Granted, there are still certain logistical challenges in making some of my crazier ideas come to fruition and with running such a large forum in our tiny production brewery. But it has been such a great project that, of all my personalities, it’s one of my favorites. The Women’s Beer Forum has had a large following since the initial session. And now, after 17 monthly forums, we’re still getting new ladies joining the insanity every month.
I feel fortunate that we have had so much support from both male and female patrons at the brewery, and have enjoyed helping to create an environment that is welcoming to people regardless of their gender. I had initiated the Women’s Beer Forum in hopes that it would offer a bit of beer education for our female guests and encourage them to try more beers, and have found that it’s been a great learning experience for me as well. Further, the presence of the women who participate in the forums and hang out in the taproom has created a great balance, enriching the overall vibe at the brewery. Even the guys can’t complain about that!
*Featured Cover Photo by Cambria Griffith