Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Buffalo Beer Goddesses: a hymn to beer enjoyment

The Buffalo Beer Goddesses, photo courtesy of Sara Rosenberry
Middle-aged men with facial hair: that’s how many would describe Buffalo’s beer community. Whether it’s the casual consumption or celebration of brewing techniques, beer clubs locally and throughout the nation tend to feature only men as the beer-lovers and brewers. But one Western New York group plans to change that.
“Beer events can be really male-dominated, and it’s not on purpose,” said Sara Rosenberry, a Buffalo Beer Goddesses’ member.
The Buffalo Beer Goddesses were formed locally by Julia Burke, and associate editor of “Buffalo Spree,” and have since grown to over 170 women who meet regularly to enjoy and discuss beer. Their mission since conception has been to reclaim women’s lost place in the beer world.
“Women were the original brewers,” said Beer Goddess member Parrish Gibbons. “It was a very domestic chore if you think about it and made sense.”
Beginning at least since the 5th millennium BC, beer was brewed by women and recorded in the written histories of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. The first recorded beer recipe was a poem titled, “A hymn to Ninkasi,” which described a Sumerian process of combining bread with malted grains and fermenting the resulting liquid. Ninkasi was significant for being the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer, and she’s also the source of the Buffalo Beer Goddesses’ name.
“[Beer brewing] happened at home; it happened with cooking and was invented before bread,” said Gibbons.
The Beer Goddesses’ members range from casual beer drinkers to veteran brewers, with taste as unique as the women that drink them.
“We have really serious hop-heads that love serious IPA’s,” said Rosenberry. “But other people that are getting more into it start on the lighter side, like fruit flavored beers.”
Although the Goddesses are primarily a women’s only group, they do allow men to many of the social events. Planning meetings and some special events are the only times the Goddess’ maintain their spirit and remain only for women.
“We had an event at Nickel City Cheese, a fondue tasting,” Rosenberry said. “It was just for women and our boyfriends and husbands were really upset. They were really jealous.”
If you’re interested in supporting the Buffalo Beer Goddesses, joining is an easy process. Just join their Facebook group or follow them on twitter and start showing up to posted events. Any women with a love for beer or home brewing experience are welcome.
“Come and meet us,” said Rosenberry. “We’re really welcoming!”

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