Women in Beer

The Birds & The Bees of Hybrid Styles

Throughout brewing history, brewers have strayed from the standard ale or lager brewing methods. Necessity or creative desire have played a role in the development of hybrid styles. Whether beer purest feel brewers should break traditional style boundaries or not, brewers have already tossed strict style guides out the window, opening up spectacular arrays of beer variety and choice.

The majority of beer styles stem from either the ale or the lager, but when a brewer starts to dance between these two, something magical happens. Two becomes one, baby…

This magical moment for a brewer can be relatable to a non-brewer as dating. You go on lots of them. You give it time. You make it a journey. And when you are breaking it down on the dance floor and the hot, but totally off limits guy from the next town over asks you to dance, you can’t just ignore your tummy butterflies. You take the chance. The result of this interaction may just be worth your mother’s agony.

Okay, so back to beer hybrids. Think of it this way…

Imagine you are an ale. You=

  • Your yeast ferments on top of you which allows for rapid fermentation throughout your body of sugary wort.

  • You have a pretty quick fermentation cycle and you ferment at warm temperatures: between 60-75 degrees.

  • You are complex, fruity, and hearty.

Now, imagine the hot, off-limits guy is a lager. He=

  • His yeast ferments lower in his body and during fermentation it sinks even lower.

  • He has a much longer fermentation cycle and likes temperatures less than 50 degrees.

  • This makes him crisp, clean, and smooth

So, if you take the chance and dance with him, things begin to progress: you kiss, go on dates, your mother freaks out, you become an “opposites attract believer,” he proposes, you say yes, the two of you go to Mexico for your honeymoon, do the doodle do and… vuala! You produce beautiful bouncing hybrid bundles of joy!


Baby Hybrid #1: Kolsch

  • Top- fermenting

  • Brewed with ale yeast

  • Brewed at cooler Temperatures

This style’s place of birth is Koln (Cologne), Germany. Traditionally, these beers are light and crisp because they are lagered, but it is still complex with biscuity and slightly fruity flavors from the ale yeast. This style often has quite delicate flavors, inviting you in for another sip.

Give these Kolsch Beers a try: Short’s Kolsch 45, New Holland Full Circle, Reissdorff Kolsch

Baby Hybrid #2: California Common

  • Bottom Fermenting

  • Brewed with lager yeast

  • Brewed at warm temperatures

This hybrid was was born in America, coastal California to be exact. During the gold rush days, settlers would take their beloved lagers out west, but with warmer temperatures and a lack of refrigeration, brewers were forced to adjust their brewing techniques. California Commons will have more floral and hop qualities with a higher bitterness level. They also have familiar flavors of caramel and fruity esters that are quite promotant.

Don’t back away from these bottles: Short’s Village Reserve, Liberty Street Steamy Windows, Anchor Steam (The Original and coined “steam” beer)

With these magical moments of necessity, or creative desire, brewers have expanded our craft beer choices and taught us to appreciate styles beyond the traditional. Next time you are browsing the craft beer aisle, look for some of the following hybrid styles: Altbier, Cream Ale, Fruit Beers, Smoked Beers.



“Words From a Father to his Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle)

“Words From a Father to his Daughter (From the Makeup Aisle)

Nothing like starting your morning off with a good cry. Found this blog post this morning and needed to share/remember this man’s words. It piggybacks off of the Disney Princess post quite nicely. 

Have a wonderful Tuesday! 


5 Disney Princesses Walk into a Bar…

Saturday morning, I was eating breakfast at Wolfgangs in Grand Rapids. Great place. There was a young girl, probably six years old, at the table next to me with a giant grin on her face. In front of her sat a stack of five pancakes completely drenched in syrup and melted chocolate rounded off with a dollop of creamy whipped goodness. She was adorable. But what made the scene quintessential was her choice of dress: a pink and purple nightgown with five Disney Princess heads covering her head to ankle. Instant childhood flashbacks.

disney princesses

Last week we talked about social norms. Today, I introduce you to a collection of media that has shaped female social norms at a very early age, The Disney Princesses. Now that they are seasoned and experienced, what would they tell this pancake princess about life and libations on her 21st birthday?

1. Pocahontas: Growing up, I was taught that the world is not something dead that you can claim. Every rock and tree and animal has a spirit and a name, and this is what makes life rich. When John Smith came to my village, I had to teach him the importance of appreciating our natural world. This is why an American Stout is my drink of choice. There are so many natural ingredients that can be added to enhance its taste, aroma, and mouthfeel, and until you experience many variations, you cannot fully appreciate the style. Live life with your arms open to the unfamiliar and your life will be rich.

3. Ariel: Now that I am 45 years young, there is so much I want to tell the young ladies who grew up watching my very young self fall in love much too fast! First off, I want to say that I absolutely adore Imperial IPAs. This robust beer has a bold hoppiness that just might rip your tongue out and leave you speechless! But jokes aside, to have a robust life, one filled with what makes you happy, you must learn to lean in to situations, not shy from them.  And as stated by Sheryl Sandberg, “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” There is no life guide- you will make mistakes- but if you take chances than you will find yourself in grander situations never imagined before.

4. Cinderella: I was so dreamy as a young girl. I will always enjoy daydreaming, but I have also come to thoroughly enjoy real life; the everyday ups and downs. I have come to enjoy the wrinkles that appear around my eyes and hands, for each one represents a piece of knowledge that I earned and can share. And I want to tell you that you should celebrate every knowledge line because you earned it! No one takes you seriously when you are 80 years old and look 20. Our bodies are like Belgian Dubbels. True fans know that the older they are, the more robust and flavorful they become. Pick your fans wisely, you only deserve the ones that thoroughly appreciate you.

2. Jasmine: When I was a young girl, I lived behind tall castle walls that inhibited me from exploring the outside world. Everything I knew was given to me, my life was easy but it was also boring. Your life should be filled with experiences that give it girth. Life should be like a barleywine; strong, intense, and complex with a hint of fruit, sweetness, or bittersweetness. This variation never makes my tasting experience the same as the previous. Never hid behind walls, that is the easy way through life. Jump the walls and explore worlds beyond your comfort zone, you never know what you will discover about yourself.

5. Belle: Life is all about choices. I believe who you choose to surround yourself with tells a great deal about yourself. Keep in mind that life is hazy, like a hefeweizen. There are a lot of obstacles you will face throughout your lifetime, and if you choose to fight the haze with people who drain you (like the people who lived in my village), you will be miserable, so make the effort to find people who inspire you. This applies to your friends, community, and spouse. These people may not always be the most popular or best looking, but they will light something inside of you that draws you to them. Do not ignore that magical feeling.

All five of these characters experienced a sense of confinement and lack of choice. It wasn’t until they broke boundaries and tested their comfort zones that that they found (wait for it…) “a whole new world” of possibilities! These possibilities affected every part of their lives (including their taste buds) and so they felt compelled to share. Cheers!

Book Recommendation: Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg

Girls Know How to Butt Across the WWW and Beyond

A Wednesday evening of googling “women in beer” led me to the site, The Pink Boots Society. I am slightly embarrassed to admit this is my first exploratory visit of the site. I have had the pleasure of getting a beer with two Pink Boot Society women and they were, and are, pretty neat women to say the least.

After hitting tabs and checking out the blog, the pink-laden site led me to two note-worthy discoveries.

1. Girl Talk HQ– A website run my a group of women who scour the world wide web to find noteworthy stories of female amazingness. This is a site worth checking out on a regular basis.

2. The Empowerment Project by: Girl Talk HQ- An “in-progress” project of story gathering and arranging into a documentary to highlight strong professional women. The documentary group ask these women how they define success and their thoughts on improving female roles in the workplace.

Girl Talk HQ’s documentary project made a stop in San Francisco to chat with Teri Fahrendorf, the first female brew master west of the Rockies, the first female brew master in California, and the first female brew master in Oregon. Teri is also the founder of The Pink Boots Society. Talk about a women kicking butt in beer…Teri is now on my people I must meet list.


The film is scheduled to be released this spring and I eagerly await how the crew will portray the women’s stories, as well as portray women’s current place in the professional whelm.

Happy exploring!

Photo Credit: Girl Talk HQ