Rant about gender equality and beer

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I’ve been drinking beer since 1999 (not good beer but beer… good beer came along for me in 2004).  I don’t know if I should admit that I have been drinking that long but  I am sure the statute of limitations on underaged drinking has expired by now so I am probably okay.  I was a beer die champ in college.  I could drink with the boys, I could plunk with the boys (I will admit I couldn’t catch to save my life though.)  I could rival any guy but I was never accepted as one of the guys nor did I fit in with the girls.  I remember the guys had girls come over and the girls were allowed to play with kool aid or soda and I was always like WTF!

So here I am 16 years later and really nothing has changed, I still don’t fit in with most of the girls and I still am not one of the guys.  I’m okay with it but I think it goes along with the plight of the craft beer girl.  Let me explain this further.

Lets talk about gender stereotypes and beer.  When you watch TV who are the beer ads aimed at?  I’ll give you a hint they have a penis.  Even though the stats say that females make up 37% of craft brew consumption by volume and 25% of all beer consumption (Dr. Bart Watson).  There are also a handful of successful women in the beer industry in Maine and around the country, but predominately it is men who dominate the industry.

When I have been at homebrew competitions and my husband was watching the baby ,  I have had people comment on the role reversal.  Really people?  Why is it so shocking that I brew beer and my husband watches the baby?  Because that is the stereotype.  And I don’t know how many times I have been out to eat and asked about the beers on the menu and had them “mansplained” to me.  I even had someone at a Brew Pub in DC explain to me that I had ordered a dark beer not a light beer….. uhhhh yeah I know dude.

All this being said I love brew festivals, but I have a hard time supporting the Bearded Brewfest.  I know it is to promote mens health, but why men?  You’re not seeing Tampax sponsoring a brewfest marketed to women  (Tambrands call me lets do this) or the Save the Tatas brewfest (that would just turn into Boobfest for the dudes I am sure), but my point is why market just to the men??     Baxter brewing had a woman’s night with girlie snacks and all pink stuff…. what the hell is a girlie snack?????  And why pink  (don’t get me wrong I love me some pink and Magic Hat’s Wacko was one of my favorite beers… BRING IT BACK!).  Why are we genderfying (I might have made up this word) beer?  I understand some of you brew guys have killer beers , but why do beards say beer?

It is a clash of cultures per say.  Men vs. Women.  Let’s try to wipe that out.  How do we do it?  How about market to people not just men or women.  How about if someone orders a barleywine assume they wanted a barleywine, not wine because they are a girl.  How about you treat you female bartenders like they know something about beer and not like a piece of ass.  Or how about we all celebrate beer together and not leave out an entire customer base because they are a specific gender.  I understand that the bearded brewfest can be attended by all but I still see it as placing a gender on beer.  Lets all enjoy the nectar of the gods.  Beer does not discriminate neither should the festivals that allow us to enjoy them.

End rant.

Exploiting an economy and drinking beer.

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Over February vacation the husband and I took a trip up near Montreal with the intention of purchasing a car.  Now let me tell you the process of buying a car in another country isn’t all that easy.  Long story short we had to take the long way though Burlington, VT due to loan issues (after being approved the bank couldn’t issue a car loan on a Canadian title).  After getting all that straightened out we were late getting to the dealership and didn’t get to test drive the car until the next day.

We went out to eat at a local pub and I was disappointed they did not have a lot of local brews to choose from.  We got some Unibroue since it was the only local beer on the menu.  The kid who waited on us spoke pretty good English and asked us where we were from.  We told him Maine and he asked if that was near Colorado…. ummmmm no (and I thought my students geography was off).

The next day we went back to test drive the MDX and while we were waiting for all the paperwork to go though we went around the corner to brasserie du Monde.  When we went in the receptionist did not speak English and did not seem overly impressed that we did not speak French.  She went out back and got someone who spoke English.  We didn’t get to tour or taste but he described every beer they had to us.  Brasserie du Monde translates to beer of the world and they make their beer in an old world style.  The have many experimental beers such as Ice Porters and ones fermented without yeast.  They aren’t afraid to make mistakes and even if it comes out a bit funky will still sell it because there are bound to be people who like it.

Although I didn’t get to taste it there I still came back across the border with a case… and a new (to me) Acura MDX.  I haven’t been disappointed yet with any of the beers I have tried although I’m not good with their French names.  The squirrel one and the hop grenade one are good.  I was thinking the bee one would be sweeter than it was but it was still very drinkable.

I hope to get up that way again and try out some other brews.  It was a bummer this was the only brewery we got to enjoy on this trip.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Happy New Year!  Hope you all had a great New Year!  New Year is a time for New beer!

I didn’t go out for NYE.  Getting older and having a kid makes it not as desirable.  Orono brewing Company was having their 1 year anniversary and I heard it was a great time!  Congrats to Asa, Abe, and Heather for a year of success and great beer.  I did go over on New Years Day however to check out the Ghost White Stout.  When it is poured it does not look like a stout but when you drink it it tastes like a coffee stout.  Really good!  It reminded me of an Iced Coffee stout I had at the homebrew fest last summer (brewed by Jared Lambert).

On Saturday we went for a road trip.  The plan was to go to Sommerville Brewing and Night Shift down in the Boston area.  We made it to both but not without a detour at Smuttynose.

We were hungry and Smuttynose has a restaurant beside it so we decided to go and check out the brewery as well.   The brewery is in a beautifully restored barn in Hampton, NH and the restaurant is a restored house.  IMG_4293IMG_4294

The brewhouse is an 85.2 Barrel system made in Munich for them.  I didn’t realize how big Smuttynose is.  After the tour we did a tasting.  IMG_4295IMG_4296I tried the Pumkin Ale, Peach Short Weisee, Smistletoe, Finest Kind IPA, and The Bouncehouse IPA.  The IPAs were really good as was the pumpkin.  The peach was different but I though it was okay, smokey and sour don’t really seem to go together but in this case it worked.  I didn’t like the Smistletoe, it had way to much going on.

After leaving Smuttynose we headed South to Massachuttes to check out Sommerville Brewing Company also called Slumbrew.  It was very different from what I expected.  There taproom was more like a bar than a brewery tap room.  It was dark and loud and very busy.  The brewery itself was very small.  The beer was AWESOME though.  We tried the Gose Resolution which is a hibiscus sour with sea salt and citrus.  This was the best sour I think I have ever had.  Next we had the Naked Hopularity  with is a black IPA. and one of the best black IPA’s I’ve had.  The Happy Sol is a blood orange hef which was good and the Attic and Eaves which was a toasted brown ale and one of my favorites of the day.  IMG_4277IMG_4297IMG_4299We ended the day with a quick bottle and can pick up at the new Night Shift brewery.  We would have spent some time there but we had the baby with us.  I had been to the old brewery (it was small and in a very sketchy warehouse).  The new facility is much bigger and it was VERY busy.  They have a room with corn hole and arcade games and the large tap room.  I got a bottle of Mainerweisse, a 4 pack of Whirlpool, and a 4 pack of Santilli.

IMG_4300.JPG It was a fun road trip to start off the new year.

A Merry Christmas beer with a trip to Lubec

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I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.  We definitely did!  My sister came home from West Virginia with a stash of Flying Dog for me.  She works in Frederick, MD which is where their brewery is located.

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Some Naughty and Nice and a growler full of Cranberry IPA!  I haven’t opened the Naughty or Nice yet but the Cranberry IPA is really good, almost like a sour but not so bitter.

The day after Christmas we took a ride to Lubec to check out Lubec brewing company and take some lighthouse pictures.  Lubec is the most Eastern town in the US and the first place in America to see the light of day.  The brewery is downtown and if you miss your turn you are headed to Campobello, New Brunswick.

The Brewery is a cute facility with picnic tables and a sitting area as well as the bar.  There were a few locals around enjoying a drink.  The bartender Julie got us our drinks and took us out back to see the small brewery.

I enjoyed all their beers.  The Quoddy Head Red was really good as was the Bailey’s Mistake Dark.  The Dark ale was a lot lighter in taste than I thought it would be.  The Johnson’s Bay IPA was a good IPA with a bitter bite at the end.  Really nice place.  They said they are outgrowing their brewing capacity already and they have only been open since May.

This make me really want to open one in Calais.  I looked at the outside of the Sarsaparilla Building again.  It would be perfect but the building needs a lot of work.

IMG_4197.JPGIt was a great trip home for the holidays.  We got to Quoddy Head light house at Sunset so I’ll end this post with that.  Hope you all had a great holiday.  See you in the New Year.

-B

 

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Oh Canada! I want some Picaroons.

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While browsing facebook this morning I came across a post from Picaroon’s Ales in Fredricton, NB about their Christmas beers.  They have teamed up with Ganong Bros. Candy for some of their flavors… one being Chicken Bone!  Ahhhhh

Okay your all thinking I’m weird right now… Chicken Bone Porter sounds disgusting.  They are not actually chicken bones.  They are candy with Chocolate and cinnamon in them and they are soooo good.

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Growing up on the Canadian border I grew up with Ganong’s candy.  I even got to tour the plant in St. Stephen when I was 18 as part of the Miss International Festival Pageant.  (Yes I was in a beauty pageant… it was a one time thing to get a scholarship and I told a girl to shove a high heal up her arse at the end of the process, but the candy factory tour was so worth it.)

I went to Picaroon’s this past summer and they have some really good brews.  The Simeon Jones, The Dark and Stormy Night, The Yippee IPA.  The only problem I have is that it is unclear how much you can bring back across the border.  The rules are determined for if you stay in the country for 24 hours but it doesn’t say anything about a day trip.  Their brewtique isn’t really set up like a tasting room it’s more a place to go and buy beer you already know you want.  We told the girl we didn’t know what we wanted because we had never had their beer before and she let us try it but the girl couldn’t really tell me much about the beers.  The set up was really nice though.  She did tell us that 3 years ago they were the only brewery in Fredericton and now there are 5 in that area, including Grimross which I got to try and is really good.

Now I want to go back and get these Christmas beers but I don’t get out of work until the 23rd.😦   I really want to try The Gingerbread aleHouse, The Snowman’s Best Friend, The Grinch, and The Chicken Bone Porter.  Maybe this is what I will be doing for Boxing Day if they are still on tap.

If anyone can find out how much beer I can bring back please post in the comments.

Merry Christmas,  Happy Festivus, Enjoy the Solstice, and whatever Holiday you may celebrate

Cheers

-B

Some birthday fun

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It’s the big 35 guys and  that means some beer fun.

I started the birthday festivities at Winterport Winery/ Penobscot Bay Brewery for Paint Night.  G and I went down and of course we enjoyed the beer while we painted.  I had a Mountain Man and a Wildfire Rauchbier.  I was impressed with how the paintings came out.  12356997_1493397717633447_8843288858471666351_o

G and I also took a road trip to go to Baxter.  She had never been there before and it had been a while for me.  We got there a little early so we had a drink at Fishbones first.  Then we went over.  Our tour guide Julia was great.  We told her we brewed and that G works at OBC so she didn’t give us the traditional how beer is brewed tour, we learned more about the company itself.  I was really impressed that in 5 years Baxter has become the 3rd biggest brewery in Maine behind Allagash and Shipyard.  We got to see where they brew their small batches and it’s no more than a 10 gallon homebrew system, which I thought was really cool.  I had their Smoked IPA small batch and it was really good.

Starting a brewery is a great dream but it takes a lot of work.  One of the newest breweries opening up in Maine can attest to this.  Bear Bones brewing is located on Lisbon St. in Lewiston and they are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel to the starting your own brewery process.  After having to move locations and failed crowd sourcing this brewery is about ready to be fully operational!  The two brewers, Eben and Adam gave us the tour of their new tasting room and small brewery and let us try their Double Cream Ale (very good).  They are not completely open yet, but I look forward to going back when they are fully operational.  The tap room is beautiful!  Good luck guys and thanks for letting us in!

-B

I’m back!!!

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Hey everyone I know it has been a while.  I can come up with a million reasons I haven’t been writing but the main one was that I had a baby about a year ago, so the 9 months before I wasn’t really drinking a whole lot and this year has just been crazy.

I have missed you all.  So much has happened this past year and a half.

Here are the highlights I SHOULD have written about, but didn’t.

Sierra Nevada Hosted Beer Camp Across America Summer of 2014 in Portland at Thompson’s Point.  Awesome time was had by all.  Most interesting beer?  Shebeen’s Cannoli.  We also went and checked out a bunch of the Portland Breweries on this trip.  Bissell Brothers, Foundation, Austin St., Bunker.  Austin street was the favorite.  We sat at the bar and shot the shit with some guys from MA who were up for Beer Camp.  The guy at the bar was explaining how the beer we were drinking had been an IPA the the Brett yeast ate away the hoppiness.  An older lady said dead seriously…”So it was an IPA the got eaten out by Brett?”  That’s what she said! lol10580029_800099683363892_3080937598647192559_n

The the Fall of 2014 I got to take the boat over to Monhegan Brewing Company.  Probably the most remote brewery out there (at least in Maine).  They have a Citra Kolsch called the Balmy Days.  Also they have a GREAT root beer.

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On New Years Orono Brewing Company Opened .  The head brewer Asa Marsh-Sachs used to be the manager at Central Street Farmhouse and was the guy who taught us to brew.  They have a very nice tap room.  Go Friday or Saturday nights and say hi to G behind the bar.  Great beer that even has won a brewfest award already!

In the March Square Tail in Amherst opened.  Wes gave us the grand tour even though they weren’t really open.  Love this little brewery out on route 9.

In May, G and I brewed in the Central Street Farmhouse pocket park, with a bunch of other awesome homebrewers for national home brew day.  We brewed our own Citra Kolcsh, which came out really good.  (Even though it took forever for the yeast to take off.  We had to cold crash it)

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I hit up Shebeen in CT in June.  I tried their Chocolate Cannoli with a powdered sugar rim and their Java Pig Stout.  Java pig was breakfast in a bottle.  It was interesting but not something I’d drink a lot of.  The chocolate cannoli though was heavenly.  Sooooo yum!

There was also a trip to Tumbledown Brewery in Farming during a  professional development in July, where I convinced the kid working (who knew nothing about beer) that Smoked beers happened when you set the beer on fire.  Then I got a couple growlers and drank one down by Sandy Stream with a colleague.

Then in August we entered the homebrew fest with the Poppycock Porter and There will be Blood, Blood Orange IPA and the IPA won the crowd choice.  There were some awesome brewers there and some awesome beer.

In September, Marsh Island Brewing, in Orono, started bottling and distributing their beer.  Their Downrigger IPA is one of my current favorites.  The head brewer Clay Randall won the homebrew festival last year with this beer.  They don’t have a tap room yet but Clay and the operations manager, Richard England are working hard and they have become a quick favorite!

And then Bangor had beer week.  A week full of beer related events!  It was kicked off by the Pro-Am Homebrewtoberfest.  G and I were paired up with Wes from Square Tail.  We were pouring our Red Ale with a Ginger/ Brown Sugar Rim.  Wes had a pink Raspberry beer that I loved.  The winner however was Clay with his 20 Gauge IPA.  (the guy can do hops)  20 Gauge is hitting shelves in a couple weeks.10393786_10208450438164189_5157416336482312677_n

The  beer week began with a corn hole tournament at Square Tail and then a week of more beer related events with a passport you could have stamped at each event.  Fun was had by many and I think everyone was truly exhausted at the end of the week.

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There was also a trip to Sam Adams too when I was in Boston for Foo Fighters, a trip to Banded Horn, Funky Bow, Bigelow Brewing in there too.

Okay I think I have caught you up on a year and a half hiatus.  I have more to write about but will do it in another post.

-B