Traditionally in the U.S., beer has been classified as a man’s thing. Beer commercials on TV and typical beer branding cater to men. But historically, brewing beer was a woman’s job, along with kitchen duties and housework. In fact, women brewers can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt.
“Women as brewers makes sense,” explains Rebekah Bailey, a local beer enthusiast and rater, “because we tend to have a wider palette and a keener sense of taste and smell.”
A few years before the major craft beer boom, Rebekah’s brother-in-law introduced her to high-quality, carefully crafted brews, and it was love at first taste. According to the Brewer’s Association, craft brewers are small—annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less, independent—less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member, and traditional — a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers that’s flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation.
After discovering this new world, Rebekah began attending beer fests all over the state and started rating beers, keeping a small notebook in her purse so she could take copious notes about appearance, smell, taste, mouth feel and overall impression.
Today, she is one of the top women beer raters in the country on Ratebeer.com, so it makes sense that she’d take the lead on establishing a local chapter of Girls Pint Out (http://www.girlspintout.org/), a national craft beer organization for women. According to its website, “Girls Pint Out is focused on building a community of women who love craft beer and who are an active, contributing part of the greater craft beer community.”
We had a chance to chat with Rebekah about her passion for craft beer and what we can expect from the northeast Indiana chapter of Girls Pint Out.
Q: What motivated you to establish a Girls Pint Out Chapter here in Northeast Indiana?
A: Tasting and rating beer has become a time consuming hobby. I travel all over to attend beer events, and it is actually a lot of hard work. Beer rating isn’t very social, because my nose is always buried in my notebook. I was looking for an opportunity to share my passion for craft beer in a more social environment. Girls Pint Out, which was established in Indianapolis and now has over 50 chapters nationwide, seemed like the perfect fit for me. It will be a great way for me, and others like me, to connect.
Q: What can we expect from Northeast Indiana Girls Pint Out?
A: Our goal is to host monthly events that bring women together to enjoy good beer. We hosted our first event at JK O’Donnell’s on Nov. 20, and the turnout was great. That first event was a ladies choice tap takeover, featuring many local, regional and national beers brewed by women. We also hosted a drawing for a chance to win a bottle of 2014 Three Floyds Dark Lord and a bottle of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Sandy Lahrman, Leah Kenna and Cari Bean at JK’s were extremely helpful in planning the first event. They helped secure the beers on tap and promoted it through the restaurant’s marketing.
Q: How do interested parties join?
A: There are no membership fees or an official membership process. If you like to socialize and enjoy good beer, you can attend any of our scheduled events, which you can find on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NEIndianaGirlsPintOut) or by following on Twitter (https://twitter.com/NEIndianaGPO). Right now, there are just a few of us planning events, so we would welcome anyone willing to volunteer time to help us.