Sisters of the Tap

Craft beer group offers women pint of camaraderie

Start-up Sisters of the Tap are ready to say cheers: Becky Julseth (left), Claire Radosevic, Kala Hadfield and Lindsay McQueen.

Craft beer group offers women pint of camaraderie

“Real women drink real beer” — that’s the sentiment and mission statement of Victoria’s newest craft beer appreciation group, and the only female-focused hop sippers in the city: Sisters of The Tap.

“We have nine breweries in Victoria, and there are great women involved in the industry, but still no group celebrating that fact,” says Lindsay McQueen, events coordinator for Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, and Sisters creator. “I wanted a group where women can come and learn more with no pressure.”

Sisters of The Tap will cheer its inception with its first “Beer School” on Wednesday, June 20, 5:30 p.m. at Spinnakers (308 Catherine). No membership is required to be part of the group, and all women are invited to meet, sample 16 craft varieties and learn about the creation of each. After that, McQueen hopes to host monthly meetings, educational tastings, special events, even group road trips.

While international groups like the Pink Boots Society, aimed at industry professionals, and Barley’s Angels, aimed at consumers, were created with chapters all over to empower women to advance their experience and enjoyment of beer culture, Victoria has had a dearth of options until McQueen’s project, which will be the first Barley’s Angels chapter in the city and aims to “connect women who appreciate craft beer with others and to promote the education and enjoyment of craft beer.”

Start-up Sisters include McQueen, Spinnakers brewster Kala Hadfield, Salt Spring Island Ales co-owner Becky Julseth, Spinnakers general manager Claire Radosevic and sommelier Tanya Loeppky.

“There was a point when craft brews were edged out of the market, along the time that mass production beer became popular and aimed at the male-dominated working class,” says Salt Spring’s Julseth. “Being an owner of a brewery, this is an issue on our mind, and we work to attract a female market as well as a male one — that means sophisticated bottles and labels that people want to hold the way they do wine or spirits.”

Hadfield has grown up working in Spinnakers, but has been brewing herself for eight months, and says there is no real female-focused beer, but there are still plenty of misconceptions. Many of those myths, she says, come from being surrounded by generic, mass-produced beers.

“A lot of women are intimidated by beer, or don’t think they like dark beers,” Hadfield says. “But if you sit down and start out with a nice kölsch, and work into the nut brown ales, you’ll see drinking real craft brews is nothing like generic beers.”

Other myths are that dark beers have to be heavy, says Hadfield, or that all beer contains wheat (except for hefeweizens, craft beer has little or no gluten). Another myth is that beer is fattening, adds Julseth. Like any other food, it contains many nutrients, including protein and fibre.

“People have expectations of what they are going to experience when they drink beer, but tasting a chemically infused berry ale in a can is nothing like sipping craft beer made with real raspberries,” says McQueen. “It’s a whole other experience.”

Julseth says the key is to just jump in, then slowly broaden your flavour preferences. Being part of a group like Sisters of the Tap can open that door. “Beer is similar to coffee or wine — bitter flavours can seem scary at first,” she says, “but once you’ve warmed up to the idea, your pallet will really open to a whole new universe.” M

Just Posted

Region’s 250th Little Free Library installed in Victoria

Greater Victoria now has the highest density of mapped little libraries in the country

PHOTO GALLERY: Cyclists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated, locals and visitors alike

Final HarbourCats home game of 2019 happening tonight at RAP

Tickets still available for Game 1 of the West Coast League finals; first pitch at 6:35 p.m.

WINE NOTES: Going gaga over B.C. Gewürztraminer

Robert Moyes offers up some interesting late-summer vino choices

Take your opportunity to sing at the Royal Theatre

Great Canadian Sing debuts Sept. 8 with inspirational music, talented performers, singalong format

For the Love of Fibre: Fibrations 2019 wrapup

Fibre arts celebrated through demonstrations and market showcasing locally made items

Tour de Victoria: Giving you the down low on detours around the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria on Saturday

Christopher Auchter’s story headed to the international stage at Toronto International Film Fest

Old Massett totem pole raising revisited in Christopher Auchter’s documentary Now Is The Time

Saanich Peninsula student scores only scholarship for Canadians offered by top U.S. music school

Stelly’s grad Isaiah Carvalhal-Smith and his electric bass off to Boston after successful audition

Yellow Wolf Powwow draws dancers from across Canada

Saanichton event a celebration of Indigenous culture

Victoria-based elephant advocate fighting to end ivory trade

Founder of World Elephant Day hopes to spread awareness, add political pressure

Most Read