Ladies’ Beer Club of Youngstown toasts craft industry
By LINDA M. LINONIS
The Ladies’ Beer Club of Youngstown taps into the taste of Mahoning Valley women.
The idea brewed with Joyce Reid of Akron, formerly of Boardman, and Colleen Kelleck and Jen Maloney, both of Boardman. Women raised their glasses in a group focused on a cold one.
The social group began in November 2012 and meets at various sites. This month was Paladin Brewing in Austintown. Other visits have included Rust Belt Brewing, Magic Tree Pub and Eatery, Los Gallos, Suzie’s Dogs and Drafts, Vintage Estate Wine and Beer, Voodoo Brewing Company, Fire Grill BBQ and Yolo Grille and Taproom.
“Friends and I really enjoy craft beers,” Reid said. “The events cater to women. It’s a women’s night out, a chance to enjoy each other’s company and drink beer. It’s educational. ... We learn how beers are made.”
The website, www.ohiocraftbeers, notes some 126 Ohio breweries. “Ohio is the place for craft breweries,” Reid said. “I prefer to drink local brews.”
Kelleck said the Ladies’ Beer Club, or LBC, was born out of the “empty nest.”
“Before, we were involved in school and activities with our children,” she said, noting LBC provides an interesting outlet. “I used to drink Bud Light. ... This has changed my palate,” Kelleck said. She likes the variety of craft beers.
For safety, Kelleck said members come with a designated driver or arrange rides to and from their visits.
When Reid moved to Akron, Judy Sees of Canfield began coordinating meetings in fall 2015 and continues in that responsibility. The LBC Facebook page keeps members apprised of meetings and beer events. Photos of the recent visit to Paladin and other events are posted. The June 22 event will be at Brewtus Brewing in Sharon, Pa.
Sees said the events at breweries and restaurants allow members the chance to sample different beers. Members also get slips to rate beers and some share information on Untappd, a mobile web app that allows users to socially share the brew they’re enjoying.
“I enjoy learning about how beer is made ... the ingredients and what makes the differences,” Sees said. She noted all the breweries and restaurants the group has visited have been very welcoming and “excited to show LBC what they do.”
“Beer is an acquired taste, but once you start, you’ll acquire the taste,” Sees said.
Sees characterized the club as casual; there are no dues. Gatherings are generally the next to last Wednesday of the month. At Paladin, the $20 cost covered tasting and food. A flight included four samples of beer; LBC members could sample up to eight from Paladin’s choice of 12. Each site offers a different number and glass size of samples.
John Chandler, Paladin brewmaster, conducted a tour and explained the brewing process to nearly 40 women who attended. Food from Yolo included garlic chicken sliders, gyros, pasta salad and hummus.
Chris Restle, who said she is a big Vintage Estate fan, learned about LBC through a family connection. “I think the whole idea is cool,” she said, adding she has learned a lot. For this recent event, the operator of Chrissy Cupcakes said she baked chocolate stout cupcakes using Paladin’s Champion Breakfast Stout. Decorated with mini pretzels, they were applauded by LBC members. “I love to try new beers. ... It’s girl power,” she said.
Comments from LBC members include the following.
Barbara Bartos of Boardman: “I want to develop my palate. In the club, you meet people of all ages.”
Kathy Getz of Struthers: “I’ve always liked beer, but no more domestic for me. I like dark beers ... with spices, chocolate and coffee.”
Cathy Hall of Boardman said she finds craft beers “more flavorful” than domestic. “This also is educational because you learn how different ingredients influence flavor,” she said. “I especially like the beer-and-food pairing events.”
Sandy Magnuson of Canfield: “I love the events. ... Everyone is so welcoming. Who would have thought there was such a group in Youngstown? They’re great ladies.”
Elizabeth Papantonio of Warren and Lindsay Taylor of Canfield: The Phi Mu sorority sisters expressed different views. Papantonio said, “I wasn’t a beer person, but I’m coming around. I’m new to the area so I’m meeting new people.”
Taylor said, “The idea of a beer club for women is really cool.”