Living in the snowy weather of Flagstaff calls for a finely crafted beer to warm the senses. However, knowing when a beer has been handcrafted with love can be tricky. Beer tasting classes offer knowledge on this frothy subject, and such beer insights can be found at local brewery, Mother Road Brewing Company.
Located on an original stretch of America’s Mother Road, Route 66 — now called Mike’s Pike — Mother Road Brewery is a cozy and relaxing place to enjoy a pint. Quickly becoming a Flagstaff staple, this young brewery has only been around since November 2011.
Mother Road capitalizes on the community, the love of beer and the stereotype that only men know about beer by offering a monthly beer tasting class just for women. The class is held on the second Sunday of every month and is $10 per person. Mother Road encourages women to purchase the tickets in advance because the class has a limit of 16 people.
Lauren Vanier, hostess at Mother Road’s taproom, likes the notion of women coming together over beer.
“A women’s beer class is a good idea because some people aren’t comfortable with asking questions and it’s a more open forum. At this class, you start making connections and establishing a culture. I think that’s really important with women and beer because that’s not necessarily a thing,” Vanier said.
Women gathered around the bar in the intimate setting of Mother Road’s taproom as the beers flowed at Mother Road’s first women’s only monthly beer tasting class. The rule of 16 participants at each class complements the homey vibe and warm setting.
Christina Beale, host and facilitator of the beer class said there was quite a demand for a class like this.
“There was an interest from women about learning more about different types of beer and being able to speak intelligently about beer. We want to provide women with more resources,” Beale said.
Beale has been a home brewer for six years and is a certified beer judge. The beer tasting class has been a year in the making because Beale was a busy graduate student for the past year. She finally has the time to host the class now.
“Well, I just finished my master’s degree so I’ve been really busy the last year. I wanted to be able to put forth the energy and time into the class that I wanted,” Beale said.
Michael Marquess, owner of Mother Road Brewing Company, started the brewery with his wife, Alissa, and they had both the love of beer and customers in mind. He wanted this class to happen because he wanted to educate his customers; his wife was the driving force.
“She was looking for a little more information for her and her friends. So much of the time we typically see craft beer is for guys and it’s not true, it’s just the stereotype. Women are now buying 80 percent of craft beer according to IRI Symphony stats. So it’s not just guys, it’s gals too. Everyone loves craft beer,” Marquess said.
The class will be featuring a different theme every month, from the brewing process of beer to food pairings and of course, how to taste and appreciate the complexity of beer.
“Beer is becoming the new wine. A lot of folks are comfortable with wine, but beer is a little more complicated because of the variety of styles, so there’s a little more to talk about,” Marquess said.
Participants will not only be exposed to Mother Road Beer, because the class will be changing the beers to match the theme of the night.
“I don’t care if they’re drinking my beer or someone else’s beer, I just want them to be enjoying craft beer,” Marquess said.
The aim of the class is to educate women on how to know when they have a really great beer.
“I am actually doing them a disservice, and here’s why: what I am causing is for these women to seek out better-quality beers. I am causing them to look for better, more complex beers and giving them the tools to tell the difference,” Beale said.
Telling the difference can be a great thing and means knowing what you want and what you don’t want.
“When you get a delicious handcrafted beer, you appreciate it. You know whoever had their hands on that beer did a great job. It’s a great time to be drinking craft beer. There’s such a good diversity now, that someone can find what they like. We’re doing what we wanted to do since day one — educate the consumer,” Marquess said.
Flagstaff is a town full of a rich variety of beers with many local breweries on tap. Having the knowledge to find a personal taste is gold in this town. Creating and being part of the beer community is what Mother Road is all about. When out on that long stretch of highway, Mother Road Brewing Company will open their doors to the weary travelers and offer a pint to soothe the soul.