Good Beer Week: the beer god has its angels, and for women only too

The Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn, came down from Sydney to launch a Melbourne chapter of what I didn’t realise is a world-wide women-only beer appreciation club – the Barley’s Angels. Even more inspiring, the session was packed to the gills!

Who says women don’t drink beer, huh? Don’t make me thump you with my choice of dark lager…

I single-handedly credit Kirrily for being the person who first got me interested in beer and food matched dinners. I attended one she ran at The Local Taphouse in 2009 and I can still remember Steve and Guy, the owners thinking me mad for taking photos of the food. What food wankster pioneers we were.

Though sadly I missed a few of the starting beers and especially matched nibbles and despite Kirrily giving Tristan permission to ‘sit in’ and not participate, management overruled this decision. Very disappointing given that at the end of the evening, Kirrily said it would be fantastic to have photos of the event. Poor Tris just sat there at the drawn curtain, waiting for me and handed me his camera.

So, pictureless post. Here’s the rundown of what a score of beer-loving lasses came down to sample for a mere $20:

1. Oude Gueuze, matched with a cheese and radish salad.

2. BrewDog’s Punk IPA, no food match given

3. BrewDog’s 5AM Saint, with liver parfait (I got my beer but unfortunately missed out on the food match even though I’d snuck in at just the right time).

4. BrewDog’s Trashy Blonde, at a 4.1% ABV served with a lovely prosciutto-topped flaky pastry. Chosen to complement the tropical fruit notes of the beer.

We were extremely fortunate to have James Watt of BrewDog take us through his beers and while this was an excellent treat, I question just how this decision (nothing personal James, honest!) fits in with the ethos of the women-only beer chapter. I feel passionately about this because there were a fair few female brewery bigwigs actually at Barley’s Angels aside from Kirrily – Sam from True South in Black Rock, Jayne from Mountain Goat in Richmond, Karen from Red Hill Brewers.

I don’t think we necessarily had to sample their beer for the session, but wouldn’t it been an inspiring women-only lovefest (minds out of the gutter, you lot) if we’d had one of these amazing women chat to us about what they do as brewers? It also sets up a precedent for how future sessions are run: so my male photographer wasn’t allowed but it’s all good if you’re male and a brewer? In case you’re wondering, I’m arse at using his DSLR but if I want to do the sessions justice, I might just look at taking a course on how to use the damn thing!

Women with knowledge on varied topics are wonderfully dangerous *wink*.

No matter, we had Kirrily back for our last beer:

5. Moondog’s Cock-sockin’ Ball-knockin’ Chipotle Stout, matched with a chocolate truffle with cayenne pepper. What a note to finish the session on! I’d been dying to try this beer and it didn’t disappoint and matched the peppery choc sweetie we had perfectly.

The Melbourne chapter of Barley’s Angels has so much promise and last night was an excellent exhibition of that. If you’re interested in joining, feel free to ‘like’ the Barley’s Angels Australia Facebook page and keep ‘abreast’ of future events organised. Cannot wait for the next one.

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20 thoughts on “Good Beer Week: the beer god has its angels, and for women only too

  1. Kirrily Waldhorn

    Thanks for the write up Gem and yes, I agree that we perhaps should have celebrated the amazing beer women amongst the group… I think we have all been a little “star-struck” with James and this may just have clouded my judgement!! Sorry, didn’t know about Tristan either!!! Let’s organise the next one, which from now on will be strictly women only!! x

    1. gem Post author

      Oh the star-struckedness is totally warranted. That’s been me pretty much all week ๐Ÿ™‚

      But yes, if it’s strictly women in the future, then that’s totally cool. I’ll have my Smartphone of Evil on full charge for photos :p

  2. me

    I’ve read a couple of your reviews and I just have to say I think you are one pretentious holier-than-thou annoying pseudo-writer. Maybe if one of those brewing ladies was of the calibre of James Watt they might have had them..or if they felt like talking.

    1. gem Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, too bad you didn’t have the balls to actually back up your opinion with your identity.

      And wow, you really have such a low opinion of Australia’s brewing ladies? That’s quite frankly appalling and embarrassing.

      1. James

        Great response, Gem! Trolls who hide behind the internet are not worthy of any opinion.

        Rock on, love your work! Cheers.

    2. Allan

      Ease up Mate.

      While I agree that James is one of hell of a brewer, our ladies do a pretty damn good job too.

      The rare breed range of Mountain Goat beers are an excellent example of some great beers that can be developed.

      Not every beer, by every brewer, has to push the boundaries.

    3. gem Post author

      To ‘me’: oh and I forgot, clearly you think you can do a better job than me. If so, you are always warmly welcome to do a guest spot on the blog – would love to see what you come up with as a writer.

      Feel free to get in touch.

      1. Me

        Thanks for the offer, but I’ll have to respectfully decline. I’m not a writer, I don’t intend to be a writer and I don’t want to be a writer. I’m just highly opinionated and think that the Australian beer community (brewers, drinkers, retailers etc) aren’t critical enough of themselves and others within the industry. I can’t recall at any point someone telling a brewer they’re be isn’t any good. This is mostly because they’re too far up the brewers ass to notice something tastes bad. ($.02)

        1. Gem

          So basically you’re saying we should endorse our international cousins who ‘shit’ all over our local ones? Incidentally, I’m from the UK so by supporting Aussie/local, I’m confused by the message you’re trying to get across.

          I’ve spent a lot of time around these brewers – just excellent luck, and when they’ve asked me for their honest opinion about their beer, to my detriment, I’ve been willing to volunteer it.

          Not sure what company you hang with, but I’m not alone – I see several good beery mates doing the same though I shall concede that by focussing on the positives in some less than savoury beers, it might look like “(we’re) not highly opinionated and think that the Australian beer community (brewers, drinkers, retailers etc) arenโ€™t critical enough of themselves and others within the industry” to paraphrase you slightly.

  3. tiffany

    to ‘me’
    what gives you the right to slag the lady brewers of melbourne? they are all incredible women who make some of the best beers being produced in australia. they make unique and interesting beers and step up for events like barley’s angels. they’re great role models for girls who might not have the confidence to enter into a career like beer.
    james watt may make some of the most news-worthy beer in the world right now – and australian beer lovers are lucky to have to have the opportunity to meet him during good beer week.
    and as for your negativity towards the writer? are you female? do you know what it’s like to have to constantly defend yourself around men who insist on treating girls who drink beer either like precious princesses or low class?
    i think — bonus points for being different! but provide constructive criticism next time, not just negativity.

  4. Tristan

    To ‘me’: it’s a shame you hide behind anonymity.
    James Watt is a fantastic brewer, and after I was able to talk to him, found him to be a nice guy. That was not in dispute in this post, and I fear that you became so wrapped up in shooting your mouth off that you missed that.
    I also seriously doubt you’d have the gall to repeat your sentiment to either of the fantastic female brewers on my table – Sam from True South and Karen from Red Hill -, or any in fact any of the other fantastic women involved in beer. They would swiftly emasculate you. But hey, at least you’d be able to appreciate the difficulty women in beer experience.

    To the other commenters:
    I think it’s fantastic that there are things like Barley’s Angels to help women break into the traditionally male dominated area of beer. The more women involved in beer, the less men toting beer bellies I have to suffer!

      1. Gem

        That’s true, but she owns the brewery and has a fair bit to do with its running and of some parts of its operation.

        1. Me

          Still not a brewer…we are talking about only brewers aren’t we…or is it any female associated with the beer industry?

          1. Gem

            That was a cock-up on my part. In a clumsy and to use your words in a “pretentious holier-than-thou annoying pseudo-(writerly)” fashion was trying to iterate that we have female brewers, but yes, I should have broadened to state all beer-related females. Kirrily, our convenor for the evening isn’t in the brewing industry either, though you would already know that she hails from the actual writer-journalistic folk.

  5. Karen

    Hey Gem. As I said last night, you guys are doing an incredible thing by not only attending so name Good Beet Week events, but photographing them & turning them into great blog posts whilst we are all still sleeping off our hangovers. Well done and thsnks for your commitment to the cause.
    Same goes for Kirrily who convened Barleys Angels & James who spoke at it. I love hearing the success stories of interesting brewers overseas.
    Such a fantastic week for craft beer, so many optimistic, fun, inspirational, positive women (and men) last night.
    Thanks again.
    Karen, Red Hill
    ps. Who ever is under a misconception that I am a brewer obviously can’t read! But involved in the brewing industry and passionate about sharing a love of good beer, I do.

  6. Pingback: (live, love) eat, drink, stagger » Good Beer Week: do some chewin’ while you talk to those that do the brewin’

  7. Karen

    One other thing Gem, I meant to say… I love that picture. You know what is so cool, is that each person in it is has a different interest in beer, blogger, owner, brewer, educator.
    United by one thing we are … beer. We wouldn’t know each other if not for that, all are very different people and when we get together, fun times are had over good beers. We all share this passion. How cool is that.

    1. gem Post author

      My mind still boggles at the connections I’ve made all as a result of blogging about beer, it really is the gift that keeps on giving! By the by, hoping to see you guys around Queen’s Birthday weekend – starting to get the Red Hill itch… ๐Ÿ™‚


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