My love for Colorado knows no bounds. Notwithstanding the obvious (cowboys, 300+ days of sunshine, tiny towns perched way up high), there just happens to be a special breed of gal making her way in the Centennial State. And, unlike some of their more carb-conscious sisters across the globe, these ladies drink beer. And really, what Coloradan wouldn’t? We produce more beer than any other state, in 2011 we had the fourth-most microbreweries per capita, and — most importantly — we play hard enough to warrant a few pints on a regular basis. Women, without any peer pressure from the boys in their lives, are eagerly embracing Colorado’s beer heyday.
If you need proof of this “Girls Gone Wild….” (…over beer!) phenomenon, stop by Lefthand Brewing’s tap room on select Mondays throughout the year. That’s when the Ales4Females gals meet up to discuss beer and food pairings, listen to a guest speaker from within the industry, and hang with like-minded women. Learning opportunities abound, not just from the didactic lecture and actual tasting but also from getting to know fellow attendees.
The event takes place in the wood-paneled “Malt Room” alongside the bustling tap room. The night I attended, about 50 women — from college-aged to silvery-haired — filled the space. Before we arrived, the pours and food pairings had already been painstakingly placed on the tables, which were confetti’ed with the ubiquitous Lefthand stickers. A sheet of paper detailing the evening’s menu as well as space for taking notes accompanied each place setting. The theme? “The Five Taste Sensations,” invented and developed by longtime Ales4Females member and self-proclaimed food geek Elizabeth Mayne. She created the pairings and led most of the discussion, which touched briefly on how the five senses influence our gastronomic experience. Obviously, we spent the most time with our sense of taste.
Speaking of taste, my girlfiends and I had a hard time waiting until the end of the lecture to indulge in this sense. A friend and I had shared a pint in the main tasting room before the event, but I wanted more, stat! Plus, they looked so darn pretty lined up, a rainbow of golden to amber to burnished brown. The official pairings were as follows: first course, Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale by Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing (it’s not uncommon to have guest beers at this event). With this, we ate pulled pork from Georgia Boy’s BBQ (well worth a trip up the Diagonal). Then came a pour of Sawtooth Ale (Lefthand’s ESB) which paired well with cubes of smoked cheddar cheese from the Longmont’s Cheese Importers (go there, too). Finally, Lefthand’s wildly popular Milk Stout (this one cask-aged) paired with exactly 6 squares of Chocolove chocolates (assorted flavors). Although the pairings were intentional, we were encouraged to mix and match and share our humble opinions with the group. The only explicit directive from Elizabeth? Focus!
And focus we did. One gal in my group decided that the Farmhouse Ale tasted like something that she and her hubby would drink as an ‘alkatizer’ — a pre-dinner drink, not necessarily conusmed with food. Others found that the smoked cheddar — intended to be paired with the Sawtooth Ale — better accompanied the yeasty zip of the Boulevard brew. There was no question that the chocolates were meant to be enjoyed with the Milk Stout; however, while some ladies found a synchronicity in the bitterness of the dark chocolate with the bitterness of the beer, others thought the milk chocolate softened its intensity. If you like the sound of this, March 18’s meeting will feature the same theme. At the April meetings, wine will make an appearance alongside the beer and food, and boys will be allowed to join on the 22nd!
As the youngest member of our group — 4 month old Katie G. — can attest, 50 ladies drinking beer and eating food make a lot of noise. The evening wrapped up with loads of laughter, surprisingly full bellies, and a deeper understanding of why and how we taste what we do. I overheard many women saying they would definitely be back next month. As no visit to a tasting room is truly complete with a quick tour, my evening ended with a mile-a-minute monologue by the effervescent Morgan Zamora, Ales4Females coordinator, and a bomber of Twin Peaks Double IPA, still sweating from the bottling line. Now, that’s what I call a girl’s night out.
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4 thoughts on “Cool Girls Drink Beer”
Great post. Really enjoyed the Lefthand stout on my road trip through Colorado.
Excellent indeed, Betsy!
I’m so glad you enjoyed your experience at Ales 4 Females. I’ve been attending their meetings every month for about 1 1/2 years now & each one brings me a better understanding of beer and what it is I like about it.
One note, the amazing Double IPA you took home is called “Twin Sisters”. One of my favorite beers at Left Hand, and the reason my husband and I plan to hike to the Twin Sisters summit this summer.
Oh my goodness, Debbie, thanks for the correction! I may have been sampling the Twin Sisters while I was writing, hence my careless slip of the tongue. Enjoy the hike!
Excellent and witty, every freaking time, Besty..how do you do it? Do you think when fellas show up, it will add yeasty zip like Boulevard Brew with smoked ched, or soften the intensity, like Milk Stout with chocolate?
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