A group of Lancashire women who wish to share their love of all things beer have set up their own group. Preston Beer Girls are not content with merely sampling beer, they have just created their own brew, as Fiona Finch reports.
"I’ll have a pint please."
It’s not an expression you hear frequently from lady drinkers.
But now Preston Beer Girls are introducing Lancashire women to the delights of ale in its many guises.
Preston Beer Girls has just launched its first limited edition brew and members meet monthly in the city to plan events, compare tasting notes and share their beer knowledge.
The group started in August and Co founder Emily Livesey said:“We’re so proud of how quickly our group has grown. We began Preston Beer Girls because we love beer, but it’s still seen as a little strange for a woman to choose beer over a G&T or a wine around here.
“We wanted to get more ladies interested in the great beer that’s being brewed in the North West and around the country and every month we see more and more people turning up to our meeting.”
She added: “It’s such a thrill to get everyone talking to everyone about beer, our favourite pubs and to get tips on beer-related trips, events and forthcoming releases too.”
One of Preston Beer Girls’ first special events was the creation of a new beer called ‘Jeans & A Nice Hop’. Every member of Preston Beer Girls had voted unanimously they would love to brew their own beer.
The brew day experience was led by the team at Farm Yard Ales in Cockerham where Preston Beer Girl member Georgia Hollis is Brewer and Process Assistant.
The day in Cockerham was also supported by Ryan Hayes from Chain House Brew Co. in New Longton.
Preston Beer Girls member, food and drink writer Katie Mather from Clitheroe, said: “Ryan was an important collaborator on this beer, and developed the recipe with Georgia."
The beer is a 4.5% NEIPA (New England IPA) using a new experimental hop from the US called HBC 431. This hop was chosen for its herbal aromas and fruity character which lends flavours of peaches, berries and tropical fruits to the beer, as well as refreshing citrus notes and a touch of bitterness.
Danny Ellidge of Farm Yard Ales explained how the recipe was devised: “We organised questionnaires and polls to find out which beer style, hops and ABV (strength) the group would prefer to brew, and then everyone voted on what they’d prefer to make.”
He continued: “Once the beer recipe was decided on, the group came to the Farm Yard Ales brewery and spent the day mucking in with the brewing process with plenty of beer tastings in between the jobs. 'Jeans & A Nice Hop’ was brewed by a collective of more than 30 people!”
Once the art work had been completed by another self-confessed beer girl Jay Ward, whose artwork also features on Farm yard Ales’ own Let The Drink Cake! beer and outlets had been found the beer was ready for launch.
Emily said: “We’re really proud of our beer, it’s tasting great and I love the name we chose too — it’s a bit of a joke based on a conversation a lot of women will relate to: “What’re you wearing tonight?” “Not sure… jeans and a nice top?”
To mark its launch Preston Beer Girls did a pub crawl round three of the pubs stocking their brew – Plug& Taps on Lune Street which is the venue for their monthly meetings, The Orchard and Plau Bar.
But the group is quick to dispel the idea that theirs is a heavy drinking club.
Katie said: “Following in the footsteps of women’s beer groups around the country like Beer Without Beards in Edinburgh and Ladies That Beer in Liverpool, Preston Beer Girls was founded to encourage women to try and enjoy different styles of beer and to learn more about it too.
“It’s aim as a social group is to show that beer is just as much “for women” as it is “for men”, and that there is a style of beer for everyone — no matter your tastes. There are hundreds of different types of beer.
“We’re saying there’s a beer for everyone. People are trying different styles of beer.
“It’s more about the getting together and tasting a few beers ...it’s to have a taste and a chat. It’s more of a hobby club than a drinks club.”
She added: “The meetings each month are not formal tasting events, just informal get togethers.
“The group is for people to discuss... (they might say) this is a really lovely one and recommend (one) and you can all discuss the flavours”
‘Jeans & A Nice Hop’ is now available on keg, cask and in cans at selected bars in Preston, Lancaster , Manchester and across the north west. It is a special once only brew.
Katie described its appeal. She said: “I really like it. It’s got a lot of body. It’s easy drinking as well. I would just advise people to try it and see what they think ... It’s a one off special edition.”
The club’s organisational committee comprises Emily Livesey, Emma Pulsford and Kally Schubert.
Preston Beer Girls members range in age from late 20s to those in their 50s and 60s .
So far there is a core membership of 30 who live in and around central Lancashire.
Katie said: “What’s great is we can produce local beer. We’re looking at doing more brewing trips, visits to other towns, tasting sessions with beer and food ... all sorts of things.”
Preston Beer Girls is also selling its own tote bag.
• New members are welcome. The January meeting will be on Tuesday, January 28 at the Plug & Taps Bar on Lune Street, Preston at 7pm. For more information see @prestonbeergirls on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook