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The Woman With A Keg In Her Coat Closet

Posted by

Sep 12, 2016
The Woman With A Keg In Her Coat Closet

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Being a woman in the world of beer makes you a minority, but things are starting to change.

Today about 20 percent of American breweries have at least one female founder. And that means we're finally coming full circle -- because women were the original brewers.

In Ancient Egypt, women made and sold almost all the beer. In colonial America, too, women were the primary brewers. (Men didn't get into beer making until the Industrial Revolution, when they realized they could make a lot of money at it.)


This week on The Sporkful, we nerd out on beer making and drinking with women in the beer world.

First up, champion homebrewer Mandy Naglich (below, checking a new brew's "final gravity" -- a measurement of how much sugar has been fermented into alcohol) invites us into her home to nerd out on the science of brewing and sample some of her "experiments."

(If you're never tried stout brewed with coconut, you're missing out!)


We know Mandy as our friendly colleague in the marketing department at WNYC, but earlier this year one of her beers won a gold medal at the National Homebrew Competition.

Unfortunately, not all of her fellow competitors were gracious about her big win.


“Someone made a joke – ‘Oh it must’ve been your boyfriend who wrote the recipe,’” says Mandy (shown above at the competition, with her boyfriend Wes).

“There [were] also just jokes like, ‘Oh you’re the hottest person to win this year.’ I was also the only female who won gold.”

Listen in to the full episode to hear how Mandy deals with all those guys who question her beer expertise. (For the record -- anyone who can convert an ice cream fridge into a four-tap kegerator gets our full respect!)


Later in the show, we talk to Caroline Wallace and Sarah Wood (above left and center-left), two founders of Bitch Beer -- in a conversation taped live at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas last year -- to learn how to pair beer with the weather.

Caroline and Sarah tell us why they're taking back the term "bitch beer," and we debate the merits of cans vs. bottles and whether ridiculous beer vessels are ever a good idea. (You'll have to listen in the full episode for the verdict on that!)

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

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Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

- "Hot Night" by Calvin Dashielle

- "Fresh Air" by Erick Anderson

Photos: FlickrCC/Adam Chandler; by/courtesy of Mandy Naglich; FlickrCC/Rogue Ales & Spirits

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