Women and beer part 2

Who is this Sofie Van Rafelghem I was talking about in my blogpost? Well Sofie is a young lady who has done law school and decided to start studying for Wine sommelier, but in the end ended up becoming Beer sommelier. I’m not sure anymore how it exactly happened, but she got in contact with beer and it was love at first sight… so she changed and became a beer sommelier instead of a wine sommelier and now even has her own beer that she initially started to make in her own kitchen 🙂

What is Sofie’s goal? Well she wants to get rid of the macho image around beer and also encourage women to drink more beer as beer can be as elegant as beer (maybe just by serving it in a wine glass or so …)

As this event was at Duvel Moortgat, there was of course also some beer to try 🙂 and boy did we try some beer. On top of that they also asked Ilse Dupocheel to do some food matching with the beers.

During our walk through the Moortgat assortment we started with a nice glass of Cuvée (not to start cliché) which for me was a perfect way to open your taste buds. This glass got served with some nice fresh oysters (you can’t go wrong with oysters).The cuvée is a beer cherry beer that gets fermented between 18 months and 3 year and only gets made 1 time per year.  This got followed by some Vedett Extra white with some marinated mackerel, string bean, lemon and wasabi (with the last to give it that little touch of spiciness).  Did you know that the Vedett beer gets made (besides with the regular ingredients for beer) with ingredients like dried orange peels and coriander? (I was as surprised as you are now!!)

Who says Moortgat, says Duvel so the next beer on the list was the one and only Duvel  The Duvel got matched with another typical Belgian product, mussels, prepared with chicory, chorizo and a butter sauce (so all typical belgian besides the chorizo). I did miss some fries (but that might have been the greedy person in me that wanted them).

No, it didn’t stop there! FYI, it were all smaller glasses in which we got our beers served (No, not a good enough excuse?) The next to taste was a Dark Maredsous , a beer that the gets made by the Benedictines whoalready started making around the year 768… so you can imagine how much tradition there and knowhow there is put in the making of the beer… This beer has a soft aftertaste with some notions of chocolate and caramel (just try the beer (and drink slow) and I’m sure you’ll agree). This aftertaste is a perfect match with some Tuna and some puffed paprika .

The next beer on the menu is not really my personal favorite (because it is to bitter), but it seems that is a beer that is liked by most women…. the beer I’m talking about is that Houblon Chouffe. This beer is also known as the La Chouffe Triple. This is a beer that doesn’t get filtered). This beer is in good balance with a dish with pork (which has a sweet sugary/fatty taste) with some celeriac crème and a sojasauce (the salty part).

And our last beer for the night (we did indeed eventually stop drinking) was the Liefmans Goudenband (yes indeed, made by the first or one of the first Belgian Female head brewers was Rosa Merckx-Blanquaert) . This is a more complex kind of beer and is even unique brown beer that gets fermented between 4 and 12 months  in the cellars at Liefmans and has a very strong aroma. When I think of strong aroma’s I also think of goat or sheep cheeses… which was also what Ilse matched it with. She had foreseen a gingerbread toast with some apple jam and sheep cheese.

I’m really happy that I got the try all these beers and being surrounded by so many wonderful women made this experience even more unforgettable (that’s another reason why women should start drinking more beer). I also think and hope that more women will start drinking and appreciating beer …

If you would want more inspiration regarding beer/food matching, checking the Beer Bits book might be a good start. In case you want to know more about beers you can check the beer consumers’ organization website Zythos

What better way to end than with a quote from Kaiser Welhelm:

“Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world.”

Women and beer

For some reason women and beer don’t always seem to go together? Or better that is what most men think. Personally I think those words fit perfectly! After my workshop with Sofie Van Rafelghem’s at Duvel Moortgat I got convinced even more that not only those words are a perfect match, but also that if it were not for women maybe there wouldn’t have been beer at all! Yes indeed, no beer at all! The first fact is that the first actual ‘beer recipe’ was a tribute/homage to the goddess Ninkasi from between 5000-3000 BC.

On top of that fact it is also known that until 17thcentury it were only women brewing beer. Mostly this beer was made by priestesses. They were making the beer because most men saw it as an inferior job and therefore good enough for women. It was even so that if the beer they made was too good or too bad these priestesses got executed for this! (Cruel times). It wasn’t until men in the 17th century noticed that a lot of money could be earned with making beer. From then on beer became a really manly drink with for some reason a macho tone to it. We cannot get around it; all beer related advertisement is always focused on men drinking it… I think if marketers would get rid of that macho image in the commercials more and more women would start drink beers. Although I have to admit that most women I know drink beer, all kinds of beers. The fact that women only drink fruitier or sweeter beer is a misconception.

Maybe we should also add some science to convince you? As you most probably have read in some of my previous post around beer, one of the key ingredients in making beer is hop (FYI, this plant helps against menopause). To make beer it is only allowed to use the female hop flower (virgin flower). It is even so that there is even a law that forbids planting a male hop flower within x meters from the female flower (not sure which cop would know the difference, but still…).

Sadly enough today’s day there are not too many female brewers in Belgium (or the entire world).  The first or one of the first Belgian Female head brewers was Rosa Merckx-Blanquaert from Brewery Liefmans her stamp and knowhow can still be tasted in the Goudenband. A few other female brewers that come in mind are An de Ryck from brewery De Ryck, Anne-Françoise Pypaert from Orval (she hasn’t yet been named officially as head brewer, because the friars need to get used to the thought) and last but not least Sofie Van Rafelghem herself 🙂 she started making her own beer (first at home, now more professional). I’m not sure if there are more, but I have to say it is pretty poor knowing that we have over 140 official breweries in Belgium. Never say never, maybe one day there will be more female brewers (it is said that women have 30% more taste buds than men, which only help making better beer). Don’t worry, we won’t burn you if you make it too good like in th 17th century  🙂

It becomes more and more clear that women and beer have more in common than we men knew!

To be continued….