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The Canalhouse bar has hosted its first ever women only beer tasting event. Organised as part of SIBA’s beer fest weekend, women of all ages, experience, and past taste nightmares were introduced to beer as it should be.

Among those taking part were Sandra O’Leary and Janet Newton from the Vale of Belvoir and Nottingham Evening Post journalist, Delia Monk.

Sandra says she and Janet met at a beer festival and though she is ‘beer mad’, Janet is still a bit of a novice. “So we decided to give this a try and what a great success it’s been,” she says. “Our usual favourites are Harvest Pale and Elsie Mo. Here we’ve really taken to the strong Scottish bitter, Wildcat.”

L-R: Canalhouse manager, Yvette Storey with Nottingham Evening Post writer, Delia Monk, and two tasters from the Vale of Belvoir, Sandra O’Leary and Janet Newton.

L-R: Canalhouse manager, Yvette Storey with Nottingham Evening Post writer, Delia Monk, and two tasters from the Vale of Belvoir, Sandra O’Leary and Janet Newton.

For the Evening Post’s Delia Monk, the experience was life changing. She says she loves the atmosphere of a beer festival, but would much rather order a lager or a wine. Under Castle Rock’s Charlotte Blomeley’s guidance, her opinions altered radically.

“I went from total ignorance to opinionated enthusiasm in less then 30 minutes,” she says. “We all threw ourselves into it, discovering tastes and flavours I never knew existed in barrels.”

The event, hosted by pub landlady Yvette Storey and led by Castle Rock’s head of beer tasting, Charlotte Blomeley, had the simple aim of introducing female drinkers to the wonders in taste, texture and appearance of British brewed traditional real ale. Charlotte says too many of her women friends fight shy of trying new tastes. “Most are quite content to carry on with a half of their favourite continental lager, glass of wine or fizzy alcopops.

“What they’re missing, and what we showed off, was the majestic tastes of today’s British ales. These are often locally made by brewers who seem much more able to reflect what customers want. The big multi national brewers’ stranglehold on beer has gone and so, instead of only tasting their limited ingredients, these newer ales offer styles and flavours every bit as complex and worthy of discussion as good wines and spirits,” says Charlotte.