Brew club honoring ‘the creation and consumption of beer’ in Vail
Editor’s note: Brew Genius, a feature we run every winter, profiles some of the homebrewers competing at this year’s Big Beers, Belgians & Barleywines Festival. The 12th annual festival takes place Thursday through Saturday at the Vail Cascade Resort & Spa. For more information on the event, visit http://www.bigbeersfestival.com.Tracey Kling founded Eagle County craft-beer club Females and Ales as a way for women who have the same interests – namely beer – to get together and talk and learn together, she said. “It’s a way for like-minded women in the area to get together and talk about beer and meet other women who are interested in craft beers,” said Kling, who is a brewery sales representative at Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. in Edwards. There are around 15 core members in the group, though oftentimes visitors from around the country show up to talk beer. Get-togethers take place each month. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Females and Ales Facebook page for more information about the group. Kling answered some questions for the Vail Daily. 1. Vail Daily: What is your favorite beer-related destination?Tracey Kling: Crazy Mountain Brewery in Edwards is a place we meet quite frequently. I think we all enjoy touring and sampling beer from craft breweries around the country. Because our members are from all over, it gives our group a great opportunity to share stories and experiences we have had, as well as suggest beer bars and microbreweries to visit while traveling. 2. VD: Where do you brew? How many beers do you have cellaring at any given time?TK: So far, we have only brewed one beer collectively as a group and we were able to use the six-gallon pilot system at Crazy Mountain Brewery. 3. VD: What’s your ultimate beer-food pairing?TK: Beer and cheese. Beer offers an incredible range of complimentary flavor profiles – such as caramel, toasty, herbal, grassy, bready – that pairs beautifully with many different varieties of cheese. For example, the nuttiness of a brown ale with gruyere or a spicy saison with a funky goat cheese. The carbonation level of beer also cleanses the palate of the creamy fattiness of cheese very well.4. VD: What are you entering in the Big Beers Homebrew Competition this January?TK: As a group, we are not entering a beer this year, but many of the ladies within the group participate in their own homebrew processes and may plan on entering as individuals. Next year, I hope to collaborate and create our own Females and Ales brew in time for the competition.5. VD: What’s the most interesting ingredient you’ve ever used in a beer?TK: We brewed a Belgian specialty ale that utilized Colorado honey (made with pollen found above 9,000 feet) and lemongrass.6. VD: Where do you get your inspiration for recipes? From commercially produced beers? Elsewhere?TK: Flavor/aroma profiles. Our meetings typically consist of sampling and discussing a variety of craft-beer styles. By the sampling, experimenting and researching how to feasibly extract different flavor combinations from the use of particular hops, malt, yeast, adjuncts, etc. 7. VD: What advice do you have for someone thinking about getting into homebrewing?TK: Understand your ingredients, how and why they work. Take good notes. It is imperative to write everything down, especially if you ever want to rebrew a particular recipe. But most importantly, have fun with it!8. VD: Is homebrewing a local connection for you with your nearby friends and community?TK: The creation and consumption of beer has such a rich social connection and history. It is a special experience when you can share that with others. 9. VD: Share the Big Beers Festival experience that has had the most impact on your homebrewing.TK: The Big Beers Festival is a phenomenal opportunity to taste some of the most interesting beer from around the world in a one place. The rare, eclectic collection of samples is extremely inspirational for any homebrewer. The unique barrel-aged brews and Belgian sour ales are not in short supply. Many of brewers and brewery representatives are present to discuss and answer questions about their own beer and how they conceptualized it. It is overall a great experience for any beer lover. 10. VD: Are you a fan of smoked beers? Is this a direction that you have taken or are interested in taking with your home brewing?TK: As many women as we have in our group also reflects the number of different palates that exist. With that being said, a traditional Rauchbier is a very assertive style and requires an affection for flavors of spiced, smoked meat. We had sampled the New Glarus Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale, and the opinions varied quite a bit. If used in modest amounts, the addition of peat-smoked malt to a Scotch ale or porter can make a smoked beer style more approachable11. VD: How do you research solutions to brewing challenges? Do you ask friends, homebrew shop employees, look to the internet, etc?TK: The staff at the Brew Hut in Aurora is very educated and an excellent resource. Zymurgy is a great magazine filled with extremely helpful tips and suggestions. There are also plenty of homebrew forums and information available on the Internet.
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