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Where Are All the Female Brewers?

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Yesterday’s unseasonably warm weather left me craving a beer after work, so I headed over to Resto, which has arguably the best Belgian beer selection in New York City. I was at the bar contemplating a recent craft beer story that will appear in F&W’s June issue. The story examines the phenomena of beer pilgrims—obsessive beer geeks who go to great lengths to try a new beer or visit a cult brewer, even if it means hopping a plane to Japan. The story (as you’ll see) reveals some fascinating brewing innovations going on around the world, but I realized what it was lacking was women. Where are all the female brewers and beer pilgrims? We’ve made our mark in the kitchen, the wine world and even in the world of butchering. So where are all the female brewers and beer geeks?

One happened to be hanging out at Resto (discussing possible beer-dinner collaborations with the owner), and we got to talking over a bottle of Glazen Toren Jan De Lichte Imperial Belgian white ale. Maggie traveled the world drinking great brews and then enrolled in the University of California-Davis’s Master Brewers Program (she was one of only two women in the class). Instead of opening her own brewery when she got back to the U.S., she founded Beer Ethos, a company dedicated to promoting beer appreciation and cultivating a savvier beer community in NYC. Maggie offers beer services (from leading tasting sessions to offering menu-pairing suggestions for dinner parties) and leads classes at cult places like Murray’s Cheese. She also puts in time in the beer room at Whole Foods on the Bowery, where she leads home-brewing workshops.

Next up, Maggie’s looking to open a retail/tasting-room space in Manhattan that will be dedicated to craft beer. (Think of it as the wine version of Vino.) Why not Brooklyn? “Brooklyn is so far ahead of Manhattan in terms of beer. I’m trying to get the rest of the city up to speed.” I’ll drink to that.

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