Are you a woman in Los Angeles who loves -- or wants to love -- craft beer beyond Lindeman's Framboise but don't know where to begin? Don't worry. You're not alone.
In fact, as this sprawling metropolis has been slowly changing its beer-drinking habits away from the fizzy yellow stuff, both men and women have been trying to catch up on their knowledge of international brewing traditions, classic beer styles and experimental flavors.
But while there are a few public meetings where the boys can go to talk openly about and get educated on the basics of craft beer (see: Mohawk Bend's Back to School Beer Classes), leave it to the girls to create not just one, but two recurring nights dedicated to helping fellow women unravel all the mysteries of everything from beer-and-cheese pairings to Belgian sour beers.
After opening their doors in early 2010, both Ladyface Ale Companie and Eagle Rock Brewery -- two L.A. County breweries that are co-owned by badass, awesome women -- came to a similar conclusion: More women should be drinking beer.
So Cyrena Nouzille at Ladyface and Ting Su at Eagle Rock each decided separately, but around the same time, to launch their own femme-centric monthly social event specifically geared towards providing a welcoming space, where everyone from newbies to pros can taste beers, ask questions and get some quality time away from the guys.
The Ladyface Women's Fermentables & Comestibles Education & Tippling Society (a.k.a. "Ladies at Ladyface") meets on the third Monday of every month at the Agoura Hills brewpub in the shadow of Ladyface Mountain. Nouzille, herself an award-winning homebrewer, usually guides the evening through themed tastings, food pairings and other fun exercises like brown-bag taste tests or beer-filled night hikes.
Bring some bottles to share or make a small donation to gain entry into the event, and if you can't make it tonight for this month's Tippling Society, make sure you don't miss May's -- it'll be a celebration of the casual get-together's second full year.
At Eagle Rock Brewery's Women's Beer Forum, up to 75 women file into seats in the large brewery room every third Wednesday of the month for two hours of talking, tasting and hanging with knowledgeable moderator Su and, often, a female guest of the beer persuasion.
Sometimes the theme is a style or a season or a holiday; others, it's an exploration of food pairings or a discussion of whatever beers are the guest's favorite. The cost ranges from $10 to $20 (depending on the rarity and import factor of the beers being served) and a food truck is always parked outside.
Last month -- for the Beer Forum's second anniversary -- Su hosted Devon Randell, head brewer at Pizza Port Solana Beach, and unveiled the event's new specialty glassware, a portion of the sales of which goes to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition. This month, the theme is "A Rye Sense of Humor," in honor of April Fools, and the night will focus on rye beers.
Similar in their informal approaches to helping women discover more about this historic fermented beverage, these two cross-town meetings are always full of eager faces and tons of good vibes, making them a pressure-free way for ladies to talk beer.
So whether you just want to know more about what goes into the glass of your favorite craft beer, or are a Blue Moon kind of girl looking for some new brews to try, for the last two years, Su and Nouzille have been putting on empowering craft beer events unlike any in the region. No boys allowed.
Ladies at Ladyface: Monday, April 15, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 29281 Agoura Road, Agoura Hills, (818) 477-4566.
Eagle Rock Women's Beer Forum: Wednesday, April 17, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., 3056 Roswell St., Los Angeles, (323) 257-7866.
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