This is for all my sisters out there who would rather knock back a fresh pint of hearty ale than sip demurely at a Cosmopolitan or a glass of Chardonnay: Brewski babes of the world, unite! Throw off your chains of beverage stereotyping! Stand up and say it loud enough for Madison Avenue to hear you: “I’m a female beer-drinker and I’m proud!”
Did you know that women almost certainly invented beer? The oldest known beer recipe is contained in a 3,900-year-old Sumerian inscription of a hymn to the brewing goddess Ninkasi. The Sumerians actually had three beer-related goddesses in their pantheon: Siris was the divine incarnation of beer itself, while Siduri governed the sacred beverage’s enjoyment. In ancient Mesopotamian culture, to be a brewer was also to be a priestess.
So how did we get from there to here, with every brew from proletarian Bud on up to the most costly, exotic small-batch craft beer being pitched primarily at male consumers? A doctoral dissertation could be written in answer to that question, so I’ll cut to the chase: We don’t have to put up with being shunted aside anymore. There’s now an international support group (no, not AA) for women who enjoy beers, ales, porters and stouts. It’s called Barley’s Angels, and its brand-new Hudson Valley chapter will be throwing its inaugural educational party on Thursday, March 19, at the Mill House Brewing Company in Poughkeepsie under the title “Local Craft Beer: 101.”
“Barley’s Angels Hudson Valley is an organization by and for women that aims to expand the appreciation and understanding of craft beer among women,” says the organization’s mission statement. It aims to “provide a comfortable environment to explore and learn about craft beer while allowing publicans, brewers and restaurateurs to grow their female customer base by hosting Barley’s Angels’ safe, friendly events.”
“Women account for about 25 percent of total beer consumption in the US, yet the beer industry not only remains male-dominated, but women are largely ignored and marginalized as a consumer in beer advertising,” says Sara Capozzoli of Poughkeepsie, co-founder with Sandy Bredthauer of Hopewell Junction of the local chapter. “We are so excited to bring Barley’s Angels to the Hudson Valley and help women become empowered, educated consumers through local events that also provide networking opportunities and a place to enjoy one of the oldest beverages humans have produced.”
“Local Craft Beer: 101” will showcase five of the Mill House Brewing Company’s award-winning craft beers, each paired with a food sample. The Mill House’s brewmaster will guide the beer-and-food pairing and discuss the beermaking process. In addition to sampling beer and food, participants will enjoy free gifts, games, prizes and a pop-up shop.
Tickets to the gathering, which runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on March 19, cost $30 per person in advance and can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/barleys-angels-presents-local-craft-beer-101-tickets-15861264469?aff=es2&rank=11. Women over the age of 21 only will be admitted. For more information, call (914) 456-6832 or visit www.facebook.com/barleysangelshudsonvalley. Sveiks!
Barley’s Angels present Local Craft Beer: 101, Thursday, March 19, 6-8 p.m., $30, Mill House Brewing Company, 289 Mill Street, Poughkeepsie; (914) 456-6832, www.eventbrite.com.