The largest celebration of women in beer, Beers With(out) Beards, is going virtual for its third annual festival scheduled to take place Oct. 7 through 10, 2020. The festival offers online events led by women in the beer industry, such as New Belgium Brewing’s Katie Wallace, Two Roads Brewing’s Jen Pesavento, and Craft Beer Cellar’s Suzanne Schalow. Beer With(out) Beards is presented by Hop Culture, an online magazine organizing beer-focused events and parties year-round in partnership with Bumble, a dating app that aims to empower women. It was created and organized by Grace Weitz, Hop Culture head of partnerships, to celebrate women in the world of craft beer.
Launched in 2018, Beer With(out) Beards previously took place in beer-centric venues across New York City. This year, women and others across the country can enjoy the festivities from the comfort of their homes, with events spanning sensory panels and guided tastings, to cocktail making and body positivity art classes. A roundtable discussion on women’s leadership in the beer industry is another highlight.
“I created Beers With(out) Beards as my graduate school thesis project when I was getting my master’s in food studies at NYU,” says Weitz, who graduated from New York University’s Food Studies Master’s program in 2018. When drinking beer with friends and peers, Weitz says, she asked them to picture the person who brewed the beer, and almost always heard the same cliché: “People imaged a big, burly dude with facial hair and a beard.” That inspired the name for the festival as well as Weitz’s mission to break that stereotype. “We want everyone to recognize that there are some rad women out there making beer,” she says.
Though this is a celebration of women in beer, Weitz emphasizes that the festival is for everyone who loves beer. In order to create real change and to break common stereotypes about who brews and drinks beer, Weitz says, it’s important to bring people from all walks of life together.
Those interested can snag a $10 ticket to the Bringing Beer to Life panel and guided tasting with Christie Yurkovic from Tröegs Independent Brewing, illustrator and designer Lindsey Tweed, and Suzanne Schalow, co-founder of Craft Beer Cellar; a $5 ticket to a sensory workshop hosted by Two Roads Brewing’s Jen Pesavento, Ryan Galligan, and Karen Stangl to help participants refine their palates; and a $10 virtual cooking class with New Belgium Brewing and the Queer Food Foundation hosted by Chef Chala Tyson Tshitsundu, in which participants will have the opportunity to a cook a beer cheese macaroni and cheese, made with New Belgium’s Voodoo Ranger IPA.
Weitz says the festival’s coordinators had planned to conclude with a large tasting of beer brewed by women. Since the coronavirus pandemic has made that next to impossible, Weitz says, Beers With(out) Beards is doing the next best thing: Sending participants boxes of beer. Though both these boxes have now sold out, participants who sign up for any of the aforementioned events can still grab the beers from their favorite local retailers or purchase a $5 digital pass, which grants access to the entire final festival day, Oct. 10, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.