Female crafters tap into their skills on International Brew Day
Be they big-bellied sports fans, lager louts, bearded hipsters or well-groomed metrosexuals – the stereotypes have it that beer is “a guy thing”. But Dockside Brewery owner Jane Schlaphoff has a message for women: “You only think you don’t drink beer”.
Female beer drinkers are growing in numbers globally, although perceptions around the traditional bitter taste, fears of growing a beer belly and decades of male-oriented advertising make women a tough market to crack.
The rise of craft beer has brought a wide range of flavour profiles and styles to the market, opening up options way beyond the traditional bitter lager or hearty full-bodied ale but, while their global sisters are catching on, SA women have been slow in coming to the beer party, says Schlaphoff.
She’s on a mission to change that by showing that beer can have delicate flavours or mellow complexity, the fine gentle bubble of a champagne, the refreshing zest and fruitiness of a sauvignon blanc, the aromas and body of a chardonnay, or the fragrances of an artisan gin.
This will be an interactive, sensory experienceDockside Brewery owner Jane Schlaphoff
And she’s not alone. With women increasingly making their mark as brewsters (the feminine noun for brewer in the craft beer world), International Women’s Day on March 8 has also been celebrated as International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day since 2014.
The idea being for women – in large commercial or smaller artisan breweries, or just ardent home-brewers – to get together and make beer, in the process sharing their passion for beer and the science of making it.
Schlaphoff has participated every year, making fruity beers with names like Women’s Prerogative and Pink Flamingo, flavoured with raspberries, blueberries and even candyfloss. For the 2019 collaboration she has enlisted some fellow female Bay foodies to cook up a unique brew.
“Craft beer is naturally fermented and not carbonated, sometimes aged and matured before release, so it has the textures and layered flavours that also lend it to pairing with food,” she said.
This year’s beer will be a “kettle sour” – a style gaining favour amongst craft beer fans worldwide, that’s not so much sour as richly fruity and creamy – with black cherries and litchis bringing the fruitiness to Schlaphoff’s brew.
The collaborative aspect comes in the involvement of The Food Studio chef Erika Grebe; co-owner of The Food Studio and artisan food emporium Foodies Lecia de Villiers; and Weekend Post wine writer Sam Venter.
The four will create the brew in a beer kettle in The Food Studio kitchen, with Grebe serving up a fresh and elegant four-course meal alongside, for an evening of beer and food on Friday March 8.
“This will be an interactive, sensory experience – not only sampling the flavours and aromas of beer as well as the intriguing menu, but we’re inviting guests to get hands-on into the brewing itself, and see how artisan beer is crafted – made in a kitchen.”
“We’re also inviting the guests to come up with a name for this year’s beer once they’ve tasted it. The person whose name is chosen for the brew will have their name immortalised on the bottle labels,” Schlaphoff said.
She stressed that while it was an all-woman team making the beer and food, the event was not meant to be for women-only – “guys are welcome, too, to come and taste an unusual style of beer,” she said.
Chef Grebe took her inspiration from the yeast, hops and fruit components of the beer to create a menu that’s “nothing like the burgers ‘n boerewors usually associated with beer!”
The gourmet food and craft beer experience takes place at the Food Studio in Main Road, Walmer (entrance through the Two Fat Butchers/Foodies shop next to Bloomingdales) on Friday March 8 at 6pm. Tickets are R400 a person. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and bookings.