spilling the beans

Brews Ain't Just For Boys

By Amy Sherman / Photography By Bridgett Beckwith | December 15, 2014
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Fermenta kickoff event at WhichCraft Tap Room, Midland, Michigan. Left to right: Annette May, Angie Williams, Bree Schneider, Manda Geiger, Stacey Roth, Amy Sherman, Pauline Knighton.

I’ll be honest with you, gentle reader: I drink a lot of beer.

I mean A LOT. Since becoming the host of the Great American Brew Trail, I don’t just drink like it’s my job — I drink because it IS my job. Which, yes, is just as great as it sounds.

But as much as I know about beer, there is always more to learn, especially when you can learn from some of the best people in the beer industry. And that’s where the new Michigan women’s craft beverage group Fermenta comes into play.

Fermenta was spearheaded this summer by Pauline Knighton, a “beer liberator” (AKA field rep) at Short’s Brewing in Belaire, Michigan. The group has quite a mission. To put it in their words, they are a “nonprofit trade group initiated by Michigan women, committed to diversity, camaraderie, networking and education within the craft beverage industry.”

Needless to say, I hold member card #18.

The range of experience, expertise and knowledge of the women in Fermenta is incredible: Members are cellar masters, bloggers, brewery owners, bartenders, hop growers, brewers and more. Want to learn how to brew kombucha? Or fi gure out how to taste off flavors in beer? Discuss hop farming and sustainable brewing techniques?

Mini trade show at the Fermenta kickoff event showcased the involvement of women, like Jessica Tornado of HopHead Farms (Hickory Corners, Michigan), in craft beverage businesses across Michigan.

Learn about flavor profiles in Belgian beers and how to pair them with food? Fermenta has done events focusing on all of these! Each month it’s something new to explore across the state. And all Fermenta events are open to nonmembers (and men) as well, so even if you’re not “in the industry” you can still learn, taste and grow at one of their events.

As member Manda Geiger puts it, “If you are afraid to ask educational questions about beer, this is a more approachable way to learn. It’s a comfortable environment. And it’s exciting for women to see women run something like this.”

Fermenta is rocking! If you’re looking to step up your knowledge, or want to network in a new way, or just want to come out and experience craft beverages in an awesome, friendly environment, check out Fermenta and learn how women are redefining the craft beverage industry, one pint at a time.

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