This month I’m shining a spotlight on the brilliant FEM.ALE Festival. I actually met the two organisers, Charlene and Erica, on International Women’s Day, where we came together to brew the delicious Unite coffee stout (it’s all gone now, I know because I drank most of it) and can attest to their strong passion for beer, promoting women within the industry and highlighting opportunities for more of us to get involved. The Brighton weekend has been and gone, but there’s still time to get up to Norwich at the end of the month to enjoy some of the best beers the UK has to offer:
Returning to Norwich 26th – 29th May 2017, FEM.ALE Festival continues its manifesto to celebrate women in the brewing industry. This year builds on the remarkable success of FEM.ALE going national in both location and profile.
Sourcing an extensively rich collection of ales, lagers, stouts, porters, and saisons from female-led breweries across the UK and beyond, FEM.ALE is gearing up for its fourth year in Norwich to showcase four days of brewster beers on tap for all to enjoy.
Prominently featured is the Unite Local Ale. Brewed on International Women’s Day, the Unite Local Ale is the result of 70 breweries around the world – including the FEM.ALE team – working together on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day to make a unique ale.
Punters can also be sure to expect more limited commissioned brews created by expert beer technologists. Notably, FEM.ALE 2016’s exclusive earl grey infused Grrrl Grey by Woodforde’s Belinda Jennings is now in ongoing production and can be found on tap all year-round.
Surprisingly, FEM.ALE is the first dedicated brewster festival in the U.K providing a platform to celebrate women in the beer industry, “Women are still being left out of the conversation. Despite all the successes – the vibrant networks of brewsters, the collaborations, the dialogues reinventing stereotypical narratives, the revival of a forgotten history of women in brewing – we still know that we’ll run into all sorts of negative, oversimplified images of women from brewers and trade institutions alike who are abhorrently leaving women out of the discussion. And that’s why FEM.ALE must exist, to bring women to the forefront of that conversation. When they’re not too busy making outstanding beer, of course” said Erica Horton, FEM.ALE Director.
The Plasterers Arms. 43 Cowgate, Norwich 26th – 29th May
FRIDAY 26 MAY, 8 pm
DJs spinning femme anthems to soundtrack a huge range of deliciousness available at the bar.
SATURDAY 27 MAY , 2pm
Chaired by Erica Horton, academics from UEA, Bournemouth and Leicester share their research on craft work, histories of beer and how the industry is working today to diversify its work force:
Sam Goodman joins us to discuss his research on beer and colonialism and the ways in which discourses of British entrepreneurship and Empire still appear in craft beer branding today.
Helen Warner shares her research into gender and craft work and questions why, when women are increasingly moving into ‘craft’ industries and self employment, microbrewing and the rise of the craft beer industry has seen a continued male gendered identity.
Chris Land and Scott Taylor will present some of their work on the craft beer industry and the ways in which discourses around gender in advertising and in the industry itself creates disparity in the labour force. They’ve interviewed all sorts of people working in beer – including us!
As well as sharing academic research, we welcome all our local beer experts and brewers to take part in an interactive Q&A, where you can explore our speakers’ thoughts further, and make your own voices heard in the conversation using your own experiences of beer and pub culture.
8pm. After all the book smarts and conversation we get live with femme fronted bands from Norfolk and beyond.
SUNDAY 28th MAY
2PM: Join us for the launch of a one off beer brewed by Belinda from Woodfordes Brewery and Tracy from the People’s Brewery. Have a chat with the brewers and get a taste of a unique brew from two women at the forefront of Norfolk brewing.
4-7pm: Music from the brilliant Late Nights Early Mornings with more acts to be announced.
8pm: FEM.ALE Film Club on Sunday.
MONDAY 29TH MAY, 7PM
Get your brain juices flowing and finish off the weekend with the FEM.ALE Pub Quiz, raising more funds for the 4women centre based in Norwich.