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Brewing will save your life.

They offered two drinks at the Students for Reproductive Justice event tonight.  That was just enough to put me in the mood to not do my reading for tomorrow.  I called it a night early, left chase, and went back to my apartment, which is now broken in, to a chaotic degree.

If you didn’t know my hobbies, you would think I enjoyed baking bread when you first step into my apartment.  But you would stop smelling and look around, and see boxes of empty bottles and various other contraptions, as well as gurgling buckets in the corners. You may also notice that my kitchen floor is a bit sticky.  Sorry, eh, a few spills this weekend from the beer making…

Currently, I have 15 gallons of beer brewing in my apartment.  A friend told me that I should combat my feelings of alienation and loneliness with a cat, like she does.  But instead, I have beer to come home to and take care of.

Sure, most of the time it is just there, doing its brew thing.  But this evening, I saw that the newest brew, a cranberry holiday Belgian ale, was going through the usual growing pains, with fermenting foam seeping out of the airlock and onto the lid.  I sanitized my big steel spoon, open the lid, and scraped off the extra yeasty/hoppy foam that isn’t awesome to keep anyway, and now it is as good as ever!  Now I sit with a smile, hearing the brews fermenting away!

I would not be able to brew at such a rate, learning about the craft and experimenting with recipes (don’t get me started on the Mayan Chocolate Porter w made this weekend), without the Ladies Brewing Collective.

The Ladies Brewing Collective germinated during my first crazy week here in South Royalton, at orientation.  After being sent back to dress more professional, I picked a seat on the bus heading to Montpelier.  I reckon I was sitting there, stewing in all-too-frequent feelings of previously mentioned alienation and loneliness, when Brianna Ruffe asked to sit next to me.  Ah, it was a friendship formation fit for a back-to-school special, folks! (well, I guess it was “back to school,” but with a shuttle bus and business casual as opposed to yellow bus and Trapper Keepers)

Bree and I discovered we had a lot in common, and that we had both brewed a few batches before coming here.  It didn’t take long, eating our free lunches in good company under the trees of the Vermont statehouse, to come up with the idea to start a ladies brewing collective.

It has been a huge success this semester, more than we imagined it would be.  Over 40 people on the listserv, our picture in the Herald of Randolph, and seven brews this semester are all feathers to put in our collective caps.  But, as awesome as it is to have started this, and to be able to brew this much without blowing our wallets, I am happiest with the fact that being part of the Ladies Brewing Collective has helped me overcome those feelings of alienation and loneliness that have been a recurring theme this first semester.  I am really happy that a common interest in learning how to brew has brought us together, that we can share our time and enthusiasm and enjoy each others company, all while making good beer.  And I am happy thinking that this is something that we can keep going throughout our tenure here at VLS, and hopefully inspire future members to keep it going once we graduate.

As one member told me last night while making the cranberry ale for our end of the year party, “you got to have a passion unrelated to your studies, especially when you are in law school.”  While the collective has definitely helped cultivate my excitement for brewing, it is also a community, a network of friends, and has the potential to do awesome things, just as awesome as the ladies in it.  So hear I am, committed.  Why get a cat to escape alienation and loneliness, when you can make BEER with cool girls?

Brew on!

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