The Beerista with some goodies from Russian River

Check this out! I was recently goofing around the net looking for anything new and exciting in regards to beer. There seems to be a plethora of reviews, but nothing too interesting at the moment. Most beer writers are kinda doing the same thing.  After about an hour of browsing, I stumbled upon The Beerista’s Facebook page. The Beerista (her name is Aften) is quickly gaining a reputation for integrating beer into delicious desserts. Her recent recipe for an ice cream using New Belgium’s 1554 black ale caught my attention. Beer ice cream? Is that possible? Apparently, yes! I’m down! Always looking for creative ways to put brew in my belly.  She took it a step further by adding brownies and coconut. Is your mouth watering yet? I decided to reach out to The Beerista to see if I could share her recipe. She was cool enough to say yes. (Thanks again!).

You can find the step by step instructions for this awesome recipe at http://www.thebeerista.com/?p=577.

New Belgium 1554 Black Ale Ice Cream

Once you make it to her site, you’ll see how she’s pushing the envelope with other great beer inspired treats. Take a look at that ice cream picture. Wow! I can see why it caught the attention of the folks at New Belgium. They posted her recipe on their social media outlets (big audience). Tight!

I asked The Beerista if I could do a quick Q&A with her so everyone can get to know the woman behind the recipes, her take on craft beer, and find out what she’s up to next. She’s got great ideas up her sleeve! Stay connected with The Beerista at www.thebeerista.com

The Beerista in the lab

Q&A with The Beerista

ITS: Where are you from?

TB: I grew up in Cocoa Beach, FL, but now consider Santa Monica, CA home.

Beer time!

ITS:  What first drew you to beer?

TB: The town I went to college in (Gainesville, FL) has a pretty solid craft beer scene and my friends were homebrewers, so it was hard to avoid. I can’t think of one single thing that drew me to beer. I’ve always liked the taste of it and had a good selection to choose from. After I graduated college, I went on a trip to Europe and visited the De Halve Maan (the half-moon) brewery in Bruges, Belgium. That’s when I feel in love with the craft beer industry and brewing as a whole.

ITS:  What was the first craft beer that really got you interested in it?

TB: Tough question! I used to drink a lot of Yuengling, which at the time I considered to be a craft beer. Once I grew out of that, Sweet Water Brewing beers became a staple in my fridge, so Sweet Water 420 would probably be the first real craft beer that caught my attention.

ITS: Do you think it’s a myth that most women are not into craft beer? Are you seeing more and more women enjoying beer as craft beer continues to gain popularity?

TB: Most women? Yes, I think that’s a myth. At the craft beer events I attend and the bars I frequent, there’s always a good representation of women enjoying great brews and know a lot about what they are drinking.  The population of craft beer loving women is definitely growing as the industry gets more exposure. I find that most women really like craft beer once they have the chance to taste it and find a style that suits them. If all I was ever exposed to was commercially produced “fizzy yellow water” I probably wouldn’t like beer either, but once my eyes were opened to all the amazing variations and unique flavors of craft beer, I couldn’t get enough. I do think there is still a shortage of women working in the craft beer industry. While female brewers, sales reps, brewery owners, etc. seems to be growing in numbers, I think there is still a lot of room for new ladies to join to force.

Homebrewin'

ITS: What are a couple of beers you’ve had recently that really blew you away (if any)?

TB: Nothing sticks out in my mind immediately as a beer that “really blew me away”, but I went to a beer event recently where I had Drakes Hopocalypse and Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout. I found those both to be really enjoyable and pretty standout beers. My favorite beer moment recently took place last weekend. It was super sunny and hot beachside in LA (a rarer occurrence then one would think), so I rode my bike down to one of my favorite outdoor beer spots, Venice Ale House, and enjoyed a few New Belgium Fresh Hop. It was the prefect beer for a lazy Sunday afternoon in the sun at the beach.

ITS: What inspires your recipes? Do you pick the beer first then develop a recipe or is it the other way around?

TB: I get inspired to make recipes for a number of reasons. I love entertaining, so often times I craft a recipe around a specific event I’m hosting or planning. Other times I just get an idea and want to see how it’s going to turn out. I often relay on the internet and my craft beer books for inspiration and help when creating recipes as well. As for which comes first, the recipe or the beer, it can go either way. Sometimes I try and beer and immediately think, “this would be perfect in (insert food item here)”. That’s what happened with the Eagle Rock Brewery ice cream I made. Other times I create a recipe with no specific beer in mind and wander the aisle of Whole Foods and BevMo reading labels on bottles until I find one that sounds right.

ITS: Can you tell us a little about your The Beerista website? Who will get the most out of it?

TB: The Beerista site is all about highlighting the wonderful world of craft beer. It’s mainly a mix of brewery visits, recipes using craft beer, and event info and recaps. The recipes I post really set me a part from a lot of other craft beer blogs out there. I’m consistently trying to figure out how I can incorporate more craft beer into my life.

ITS: What else do you have coming up at http://www.thebeerista.com/?

TB: I plan on posting a lot more interviews and recaps of visits from craft breweries, which I am really excited about.You’ll start to see more post from me about pairing ideas as well, such as beer and cheese pairing flights. I also plan to expand the site to include an events calendars and bar/restaurant recommendations. There will be a lot more beer ice cream recipes as well! I can’t get enough of those. There’s something magical about craft beer made with ice cream. Unfortunately, I have a day job, so I don’t get to spend nearly as much time on my blog and the craft beer side of my life as I would like to, but it’s getting there!

Sweet tooth