FEM-ALE BREWFEST

Published on August 24th, 2021

Love for a good beer is gender neutral. And while popular culture lacks a female beer aficionado to rival Homer Simpson or Norm from “Cheers,” scores of talented women in real life are brewing and studying what makes a great pour. FemAle Brew Fest highlights their work with an event-packed afternoon at the Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale hotel.

FemAle Brew Fest debuted in 2017 as “South Florida’s first ever beer festival celebrating women.” But event founder Frances Antonio-Martineau and friends welcome anyone of legal drinking age — “all beer lovers (men included),” to quote the first sentence on the festival’s Web site.

There won’t just be suds — though there will be plenty, with representatives from more than two dozen local, state and national breweries on hand. There’s also an artisanal marketplace, a full liquor bar and a special event menu provided by the Kimpton Goodland restaurant Botanic. Music by DJ Anna de Ferran and DJ LaTrice Perry will add an extra buzz.

Antonio-Martineau told PureHoney, “As a long time craft beer drinker, I wanted to do a different take on a craft beer festival. I wanted it to be educational and let people experience different things, at the same time using the festival as a platform to highlight women in beer.”

Frances Antonio-Martineau by Mary Beth Koeth

The festival was not held in 2020 and attendance this year is capped at 400 people. But Antonio-Martineau sounded excited about Brew Fest’s new venue, “where we will be utilizing all of the beautiful areas of the hotel; including the rooftop!” she said.

Another new development in 2021 is letting attendees tailor their festival experience. A general admission ticket of $45 buys three hours, 2-5 p.m., of boundless beer sampling and access to virtual beer talks. Specialized $65 packages combine beer tasting with higher knowledge: Female beer experts and top industry brewers will lead tastings and workshops starting at 1 p.m. and offer insights into a field that is increasingly open to women.

Photo by Carina Mask

We’re sorry to report that one of these sessions — sensory training in beer palette essentials with Kristen Lorow-Hunter of Oakland Park’s very own Funky Buddha Brewery — is already marked “sold out” on the festival’s Eventbrite ticketing page! Other ticketed events were still on offer as of press time: a hop analysis seminar with Kelly Lohrmeyer of Yakima Chief Hops in Washington state; a survey of gluten-free brewing and fermentation diversity by brewer and brew-verse influencer Michelle Pagano; and a reading and book signing with Tara Nurin, author of “A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs.”

There’s even a yoga package, “Ales and Asana,” led by yoga and beer instructor Alyssa Gruber. “Come for the yoga, stay for the fest!” Antonio-Martineau said.

The main draw of course is the beer and the breweries, and this year’s stacked roster includes Cigar City (Tampa), Barrel of Monks (Boca Raton), Ivanhoe Park (Orlando), Yeasty Brews (Lauderhill), Green Bench (St. Petersburg), Hydrosaurus (Mims), Orchestrated Minds (Fort Lauderdale), Wolf Branch (Eustis) and more.

FemAle Brewfest is 21 and over, and runs 1-5pm on Saturday, September 18 at Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale. femalebrewfest.com ~ David Rolland

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