Women and brewing: More are hopping back in to the pastime
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BY ANGELA JONES For the Telegraph Herald
One thing is apparent when attending a craft beer share such as the one hosted by the Dubuque Area Beer Enthusiasts: These gatherings are made up mostly of men.
That might not be surprising. After all, many women might gravitate toward wine or other beverages with fewer calories as their drink of choice.
Perhaps the most ironic aspect of the craft beer and home brewing movements is that women shared in early beer-making efforts. In fact, mothers often passed recipes down to daughters, which makes sense considering women were at home and could tend to the hours-long boiling process.
“Many people think Martin Luther brewed beer, but really, it was his wife, Katherina,” said Jerry Anderson, owner of Bluff Street Brew Haus.
Luther called his wife, “Lord Katie,” for her ability to learn a decent brewing process and creating a beer he preferred. She sold her beer at the couple’s tavern to help support them.
Before Katherina was brewing, Hildegard of Bingen (or Saint Hildegard) introduced hops as having healing properties. That soon became an ingredient in beer.
Long before these two women brewed (or altered the process), women on nearly every continent brewed beer. And many cultures continue to brew their traditional recipes.
One of the more interesting ancient methods of brewing comes from a pre-Columbian Andean practice, used today, to make chicha. Brewers chew the maize to break down the starch needed to kick start fermentation.
Today in our region, an increasing number of women are carrying on the tradition and embracing brewing.
“If I were to guess, I’d say that 10 percent of brewing customers are women,” Anderson said. “The total number of brewers is growing, and so is the proportion.”
And for those who like beer, the process is accessible.
“When people start, the only true skill they need is to boil water and follow a recipe,” Anderson said.
Of course, brewers also need materials to make the beer. (full article)
Reposted with permission from TH Media