Cheers Check-in: All-girl beer club teams up with local brewery

Posted on April 14, 2014 by

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brew-woman-leanGirls Drink Craft Beer, Too!

Those five words printed on Anne Deery’s business card serve as a not-so-subtle reminder that not all craft beer connoisseurs are men, especially in a brew-friendly city like Charlottesville.

While CAMRA (Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale) is made up of a variety of brewers, Deery was surprised to find that there wasn’t a group strictly devoted to women and their love of beer.

In an effort to find more women that share her love for craft beer, she formed Brew Betties the fall of 2013, and the all-girl beer club has grown to 45 members in just six months.

“I had been into craft beer for at least 10 years and started brewing from kits in 2008 or 2009, but had only talked beer with guys, mostly (my husband) Edrick and his friends,” Deery said.

Deery found her calling after she volunteered to help with New Belgium’s Clips Beer and Film Tour in September.

“I was serving samples of New Belgium beers and I realized how many women were into beer and how many knew exactly what they liked,” Deery said. “They liked big beers, hoppy, flavorful, high ABV, not light and fruity stuff! I decided those were ladies I’d like to hang out with and assumed there was already a local group. There wasn’t, so I started one.”

The Brew Betties meet up one to two times a month, usually at a different place each time. There are a variety of brewers involved; from those that have been home brewing for years, to those who have never brewed before.

Anne Deery, founder of Brew Betties, and April Muniz (with paddle) stir a batch of Moon Sisters Maibock at Three Notch'd Brewing Co.

Anne Deery, founder of Brew Betties, and April Muniz (with paddle) stir a batch of Moon Sisters Maibock at Three Notch’d Brewing Co.

Let the Brewing Begin

In an effort to learn more about the brew process, Deery set up a tour of one of Charlottesville’s newest breweries, Three Notch’d Brewing Co., and met brewmaster Dave Warwick. Deery then talked to Warwick about doing a collaboration beer with the brewery, and he agreed.

“She reached out to me,” Warwick said. “I was more than happy to be a part of it.”

The brewmaster noted that the reason that Three Notch’d installed its pilot brewing system was to do collaboration brews.

After doing a tasting of several different Maibock-style beers, Warwick crafted a recipe based on the style that the Brew Betties liked the most.

The Brew Betties and Warwick brewed their German lager-style beer, which will be known as Moon Sisters Maibock, on March 1 at Three Notch’d on Preston Avenue.

The Brew Betties were pleasantly surprised to find out that instead of only brewing three barrels of their Maibock in the pilot brewing system, Warwick had decided to brew a 20-barrel batch, which amounts to about 40 kegs of beer.

“I was so excited about it, I wanted to do a bigger brew,” Warwick said.

The Brew Betties seemed excited, too, and played a very active role in brewing the beer, perhaps sparking some envy in their spouses.

“(My husband’s) a little jealous today. He’s at home with the dog,” said Seamane Flanagan, a member of the Brew Betties who has been brewing for more than 10 years and is a certified beer judge.

Brew Betties talk beer during their March 1 brew of Moon Sisters Maibock at Three Notch'd.

Brew Betties talk beer during their March 1 brew of Moon Sisters Maibock at Three Notch’d.

The Moon Sisters Maibock, named after two sisters that were Confederate spies, will have an ABV of about 7 percent with medium body and toasty malt flavor.

“It’s a German, spring-time lager,” Warwick said.

The beer is brewed with pilsner and Munich malts, and is aggressively hopped to add bitterness and flavor.

“German hops are going to add bitterness to balance out the sweetness from the barley, and also (add) a spicy flavor,” Warwick said.

The beer has to ferment for four to five weeks and is expected to be on tap at Three Notch’d following an April 14 private release party.

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Posted in: cheers, quirky