Saturday, September 19, 2009

Big Sky Betty's bring on the beer

Posted By on Sat, Sep 19, 2009 at 9:42 AM

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Along with 12 mostly middle-aged women at the Hawthorne Suites Hotel Thursday night, I got the low-down on how to sniff and swirl thick brown ales and sip light lagers at Betty’s for Beer, one in a series of four classes offered by Big Sky Brewing Company.

The trick is to grab a whiff, Big Sky Brewery experts told those of us in the class, which aims to educate women about the millennia-old brewing process.

“Give it a good sniff,” said Tim Chisman, dubbed “Beer Guru” by his Big Sky coworkers.

Allowing one’s olfactory nerves to fully get a handle on hops, coriander and orange aromas before taking a swig brings out the fullest taste, Chisman said.

“Then you go back and do it again,” he told the ladies, who offered giggles in response.

Big Sky Brewery offers the class a couple of times a year as a way to make women feel confident about beer. The $30-series -- which provides lots of literature, including tasting logs and a rainbow-colored flavor wheel breaking down how odor translates to taste -- leaves laypeople with oodles of knowledge to refer back to after the series is done.

And because it’s easy to get snookered, sucking up more than a dozen three-finger full goblets of suds, the reference materials will help budding connoisseurs retain newfound knowledge.

A blonde woman in a blue t-shirt summed it up as the class came to a close, “I need a taxi."

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