Situated in back of the Woodland Hills Home Beer, Wine and Cheesemaking Shop lies the Maltose Falcons‘ clubhouse. Perhaps you’ve visited the shop to pick up some supplies for a brew and you didn’t notice it, but it’s there, unassuming in all its glory. The 40-year-old club has housed many a meeting, beer tasting, and brew session back there, though never an all-Falconette session!
That is, until March 23, when former club President Nancy Gold invited all the Falconettes to join in a brewing of a Ballast Point Sculpin clone.
The Falconettes have had brew sessions before at one or another’s home to be sure, but this day marked the first lady-session to take place in the actual shop, due to a growth in female membership. Nearly all female club members were in attendance for most of the day, and you could count them on two hands – we’re talking ten, tops. Pretty impressive, considering the comparatively staggering count of male members: 280. That’s…a lot of dudes.
But this wasn’t really a no boys allowed event. It was a very social gathering, an okay maybe a few boys allowed event. Former President Steve Cook and Treasurer Kent Fletcher graced us with their knowledge and presence. Several other men popped in to see what we ladies were up to as well. How could they resist the smell of boiling wort wafting down Ventura, or the allure of women standing over the brewpot?
The Falconettes got started early at eight o’clock in the morning, beginning a process that took about eight hours. As you may know, a brew day involves a healthy dose of downtime – perfect for getting to know one another and share the wealth of homebrews and commercial bottles in the cooler*. Before I’d even exchanged names with club Burgermeister Tiffany Fairbrother, she was pouring me a taster of her double chocolate milk stout (very tasty, light-bodied and not highly alcoholic – I could drink it all day). I made fast friends with Steve Cook and Secretary Irene Kaplan, who brought their own barleywine…and I quickly learned to take it easy on barleywine.
As more visitors arrived, the feast of brews increased. Ting Su of Eagle Rock Brewery brought by a taste of their new milk stout, a collab project with Alesmith dubbed Dairy Tank. You wouldn’t know it was at 10% A.B.V., and you wouldn’t mind it one bit. Cyrena Nouzille of Ladyface Alehouse and Brasserie let us try their Dérailleur, a bière-de-garde style ale, truly delicious. It isn’t hard attending these events when you enjoy pretty much every kind of beer out there.
We also received a happy visit from Lynne Weaver, of Three Weav3ers Brewing Company, opening mid-June in Inglewood. Her previous life spent working in tax and finance didn’t lend itself well to raising her three young girls (thus the name). As with many lady-brewers before her, she left an unsatisfactory position and opted to pursue a venue in which she could build a strong community and spend time with family and friends. Of course, we benefit from having another brewery on the west side, moments from LAX. Keep an eye out for this new brewery and be sure to stop by once its doors are open!
Meanwhile, amongst the rampant tasting and hand-shaking, the wort was boiling and hops were being added on schedule. The time skittered by as Falconettes took turns skimming proteins off the roll, scanning their watches for hop adds, or swapping bottles for something different. I couldn’t fathom a more satisfying way to spend a day with such passionate, beautiful, and intelligent women of Los Angeles.
Regrettably, we wound down as the last few carboys were filled for each of the Falconettes to take home and ferment a bit. The pots were cleaned, bags of spent grain were divided amongst us composters, and empty bottles were recycled. Hugs and slightly sun-kissed smiles were exchanged, and I thought to myself then, I think I’ve found my club. If you haven’t yet courted any homebrew clubs, and are still relatively new to the craft, I highly suggest you make a point to get acquainted. The camaraderie and support you’ll receive will help maintain your new interest and provide you with the answers you didn’t even know you needed, both in beer and in life.
Thanks so much to Nancy and all the Falconettes who welcomed me as their own. I’ll be seeing you soon!
Add’l photos courtesy M. Myerhoff.
*most memorably for me was Dogfish Head’s Positive Contact, a witbier consisting of cayenne, roasted faro, Fuji apple cider, and cilantro – whoa! I recommend having a piece of smoked gouda cheese with this. It’s what we did and it was RAD.