Here’s an article on the latest Barley’s Angels Event I went to :
Breaking through the barley ceiling
Hanging out with the Barley’s Angels, who are proving that chicks have a place in the macho world of brewing.
BY: Crystal Luxmore
On the second floor of the Twisted Kilt, Erica Graholm peers into a glass of Netherworld Cascadian dark ale from Barrie’s Flying Monkeys brewery. It’s the last of five beers she’s selected in a tasting for Barley’s Angels, a beer education club for women that meets regularly at the midtown pub. “I love this beer because it’s a little bit of everything,” she says, breaking into a wide smile. “A hoppy nose, malty backbone and a roasted flavour.”
It’s not just her gender that earned Graholm an invite from the Angels: only 28, her CV is impressive. She and her roommates brewed out of their home after university, and Graholm has since worked at Scarborough’s Magnotta Brewery, at Amsterdam Beer and studied at Berlin’s renowned VLB brewing school. Last February, she started as a brewer with Steam Whistle. Graholm’s the perfect guest for the Angels—the “consumer education” arm of the Pink Boots Society, a loose-knit, U.S.-based organization that aims to involve more women in the brewing industry. The Toronto branch organizes brewery tours, food pairings, dinners and tastings for its 35 members, who represent a new wave of female beer enthusiasts and, increasingly, brewers with the potential to take brewing in new directions.
Graholm believes that as more women get into the profession, they open up “new possibilities for flavours.” Research backs her up. According to Linda Bartoshuk, head of the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, women tend to be “supertasters.” On average, she says “they experience a more intense taste from beer, especially the bitterness.” (The strongly ﬂavoured, hopped-up beers prevalent in North American craft brewing right now are definitely the result of a more macho approach.)
At the Twisted Kilt, one woman asks Graholm how she’s honed her tastebuds. “Lots of drinking,” she says. It gets a round of laughs. But the brewster, who recently drove all the way to Munster, Indiana, just to try a rare bottle of Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout, isn’t kidding.