In our constant quest to highlight some of the people who are helping to make this city great, we have created our Beer Star award. This month it is being presented to Kimberly and Jennifer with GALS. These two ladies have worked to expand the craft beer market into new worlds. Their main goal is to make sure that when people think of a Craft Beer Expert they just don’t think of a “Guy”, and that “Ladies” have just as much to offer regarding craft brewing and everything that goes with it.
So we met up with these two and asked them a few questions. Here is that interview:
When did you get into craft beer?
Kimberly: I was 4 years old. Or 15. Not sure… In all seriousness, I never had to acquire a taste for beer. It always tasted good to me whether I was snatching a sip of foam from my dad’s Michelob (age 4) or sampling a sip of ‘dark beer’ (age 15) that my uninformed but curious mother purchased.
Jennifer: Does Coors in the 70s count? Actually since small town breweries in Germany count then at 6 months I was sucking beer foam off of my father’s finger in Grafenwohr, Germany.
What started the idea for GALS?
We were tired of having to prove our beer knowledge when we went out drinking craft beer together. We figured there were more women like us and that they should all get to know each other.
Why did you focus just on craft beer, and not beer and other alcohols?
Craft beer brought us together when we met at a super geeky craft beer event. Though we enjoy other forms of libations they weren’t even a consideration. For one, there are already groups for wine and drunkenness (women who get together for the drunkenness regardless of what they are there to accomplish).
How often do the GALS meet?
We try to do one meeting (for members only) and one event a month. We have taken a break for July but still have a bocce team and get together to imbibe informally. In August we have a meeting on the 11th at Red Hare Brewing as well as a tour of Eagle Rock Distributors on the 24th. Everyone is welcome to join us on the later just let the GALS know.
Which Georgia Law do you find most crippling to craft beer in Georgia?
There are a number of laws. GALS has had a meeting on GA beer laws which included a State Representative and two of the members who are lawyers present the relevant laws to the group. This was before GA had made some gains with the interpretation of the law allowing Growler Sales and the passing of the Sunday Sales in much of the state. However the fact that the breweries and brewpubs cannot sell directly to consumers truly keeps breweries from entering the market here in GA. Not to mention the local breweries & pubs and the effect it has on their bottom line.
What is your favorite craft beer for the summer?
Kimberly: A good german pilsner - ice cold; wheat beer; sour beers
Jennifer: Favorite summer? IPA…Winter? IPA…Spring? IPA…Fall IPA but then my food tastes don’t change dramatically with the seasons either.
Where do you think the beer market will be in 5 years?
According to the Brewers Association the number of breweries in America has grown by +/-10% over the last 3 years. Overall we don’t think that growth is sustainable. Women as a craft beer demographic will continue to grow on the other hand. They may not reach the same numbers of drinkers as men but being the primary spenders in a household their influence will be just as strong.
Hildegard Von Bingen (b. 1098, d.1179) was a benedictine nun, the Abbess of Diessenberg, and a well known herbalist, mystic and musician.
Hildegard was a highly enlightened woman who overcame social, cultural, and gender barriers and became an advisor to bishops, popes, and kings. Her writings include the earliest known reference to using hops in beer “(Hops), when put in beer, stops putrification and lends longer durability.”
St. Brigid of Ireland According to tradition Brigid was working in a leper colony when they ran out of beer. Since beer was an important source of safe liquid refreshment and nourishment, this was a serious issue. Brigid is said to have changed her bath water into beer to nourish the lepers and visiting clerics. In another miracle attributed to the Saint, Brigid provided beer to 18 churches for an entire Easter season, all from a single barrel of beer in her convent.
A prayer attributed to St. Brigid begins “I’d Like A Great Lake Of Beer For The King Of Kings. I Would Like To Be Watching Heaven’s Family Drinking It Through All Eternity.”
What beer would you drink with your last meal?
A future ale that has not yet been brewed.