“[They] don’t need to know about beer,” she adds. “This is all about learning what each style is, so when they go somewhere and see an IPA (India Pale Ale) they know it’s a hoppy beer; a stout is a malty beer; and now people who didn’t understand much about craft beer can know what the different styles are.”
One goal Sarah has for the club is to make each person’s connection to the beer personal. “It’s nice to be able to understand the beer and form a connection with the company [that makes it],” she says. “It really makes a difference.” Representatives from different local breweries have been on hand at some of the gatherings to serve as guest speakers and discuss their products and craft.
During the club’s gathering at the BBC in Sandwich, Heather Sanborn of Rising Tide Brewing Company in Portland, Maine regaled those on hand with stories of spending many a late night watching “Downton Abbey” on Netflix while slapping labels on beer bottles.
“At our dinners you can talk to people who have been right there from day one at the breweries,” Richardson says. “When else will you have the opportunity to meet women who work in breweries and make such a difference?”
At the Nor’East Beer Garden event in September, the theme was a harvest beer dinner. The restaurant’s head chef, Zia Auch, and co-owner, Vida Hamnquist, prepared a menu of local foods—many from the restaurant’s own garden—pairing each course with a craft beer. The lineup featured chicken Ballantine with cranberry and celery root, paired with a sour Tart of Darkness beer from the Bruery in California; and Provincetown bluefish with foraged mushrooms, served with a pint of Dogfish Head Brewery’s Midas Touch.