June 08, 2013

A word about Barley's Angels

For those that don't know Barley's Angels is a group formed to help promote beer lovers of the female persuasion.

If you have ever gone to a brewery event, a brewery tour or a beer festival you will see that the ratio of women to men is quite different.  This isn't because women don't like beer, far from it but simply that a higher percentage of men attend.  Barley's Angels aims to help bring women and beer together.  Events centre around tasting and discussing beer.

Now, I am a woman, I like beer, I like craft beer and I attend as many events as I can make time and have the budget for.  I rarely pay attention to how many men vs women there are in a crowd since I am there for the beer, not to do a head count.  That being said I am often reminded that overall there are less women around me at these things.  I mean how do you not notice the really short line up in a bathroom? How often does that happen?

Back in March, I was tipped off to the forming of an Ottawa Chapter of Barley's Angels. I was excited to learn that my city was going to have a group of women uniting in their love of beer.

The first meet up was at the beginning of April.  The group showed up at Kichessippi Brewery for board games and beer.  There was plenty of food, courtesy of the pot luck tag for the event and lots of different games to play.

Meagan gave the girl's a brief talk on the history of the brewery. I will admit to being disappointed to the lack of acknowledgement to Heritage Brewery and what they did for craft beer in Ottawa and for Kichessippi itself.

The rest of the evening was spent with board games, good conversation and beer.

The second event for the Angels was at Cassel Brewery in Casselman.  Tickets had to be purchased in advance as space was limited.  The brewery itself is not overly large and with the count of members at over 200 there was no way to get us all in.  Those of us who were lucky enough to make the 45 minute drive were treated to a sample of each of Cassel's beers, cheese and crackers provided by event organizers and a tour of the brewery.  Of course more than a few growlers were purchased.  Myself I brought home Hopper Car, Aged Honey Brown and Maple Rye (bottles.)

The third Barley's Angels event was in Quebec at Bieres du Monde.  For those who have not made it to this amazing store they carry an almost overwhelming number of beers for purchase.  Again with space limited tickets were purchased ahead of time.  This group of ladies were led through a tasting of seven beers. Ryan, the owner, was extremely friendly and knowledgeable.  He walked us through the tasting of each asking what we smelt, tasted and if we liked it or not.  Each beer was paired with a cheese.  My picks from the evening were Dieu Du Ciel's Chaman and Les Trois Mousquetaires Baltic Porter. Of course I left the store with a box of various beers that I purchased. 

The most recent event was at the Arrow and Loon.  A more social meet up this one too found us with limited space so tickets were 'bought' though there was no cost.  It helped the Arrow and Loon to ensure there was space for everyone.  There was much talking and beer drinking.  I enjoyed a Nickel Brook Malevolent as those at my table discussed types of beer and brewery tours.  Centretown news was on hand talking to some of the Angels about the group.  

Our next meet up is again at Kichessippi Brewery on June 26th. The focus of this night will be learning about hops. Nickel Brook/Clocktower's Justin da Silva will be on hand to give the ladies a lesson in varieties and the role of hops in beer.  

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