NYC Craft Beer Week

First up was NYC Craft Beer Week, a harried week for me because my own organization had an event as part of that week. I did get to go to a few amazing events though, one being a panel on Women in Beer at the French Culinary Institute.

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After eating lots of Murray’s cheese and tasting some great Ommegang and Stoudt’s beers, beer mavins dished on the state of women in this mostly-male profession. The women on the panel this year were Debbie Boening, president of Oak Beverages which distributes beer, Susan Green, sales manager of the Global Brewers Guild, Sarah Lescrauwaet Beach, Market Manager of Ommegang Brewery, Jennifer Schwertman, bar btender and beer geek, and Carol Stoudt, President of Stoudt’s Brewery and the first female Brewmaster in the U.S: The panel was hosted by Maggie Fuller, the founder of Beer Ethos.

It was a diverse group and all of them were more than willing to speak their minds. Carol Stoudt got into beer after her kids left home and started a brewery, whereas Sarah, who is Belgian, recounted growing up with good beer. They talked about how session beers are in and beer is getting new respect from gourmands.

What was clear from the panel is that the stereotypes of “girly” beer are fading and women are enjoying beer with real flavor. Indeed, when I bartended at the Vendy Awards, it was the women making a beeline for the IPA.

The best beers I tasted at beer week were Kelso’s Brett and Ommegang’s Hennepin. I definitely lean towards the Belgian styles and I am so glad I discovered beers brewed with the bacteria brettanomyces at a cool event recently called Where the Wild Beers Are.

Kombucha drinkers will immediately recognize (and love) the sour brettanomyces flavor and find it enhanced and perfected in many of the beers that utilize it.

Ommegang’s Bière De Mars is a great example of a beer that does sour right. It’s like cinnamon spiced sour windfall apples topped with a malty caramel sauce.

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