Dames and Dregs

All hail the original brewer!

That was the phrase that was proudly proclaimed on my plastic cup at Dames and Dregs beer festival in Atlanta on August 11. Did you know that women were actually the first to brew beer?

~~the more you know~~

When I first heard about this event — a beer festival centered on celebrating women in brewing — I immediately bought a ticket.

At first, I figured a few girlfriends would come along with me, and we could drink a lot, eat food truck food and listen to some rad ladies talk about how they got into the beer industry. But none of my friends were able to come.

So, when beer fest day rolled around, I realized I was going to do all of those things by myself.

I went into the day nervous about going alone, worried that I would end up standing by myself and getting bored.

I left the day, however, feeling encouraged and super hype about ladies in beer. When I finally got up the courage to talk to some strangers (thanks to a few well-poured beer samples), I was met with nothing but positivity.

We talked about how it can be hard to put yourself out there as a Girl Who Likes Beer (TM), whether it's because of trolls, worry that you don't know enough, one too many people throwing around the term "chick beer" or a variety of other reasons. I also heard about how they found communities, instituting bottle shares, beer tastings and educational events. I left excited to put myself out there a little more.

It was awesome to hear that I wasn't the only person who had those concerns, and all the women I talked to supported each other in their endeavors, whether it was as a brewery rep, a brewer, a blogger or just a beer lover. It reminded me that even if I encounter a few trolls or haters, there's a crowd of women behind you who will support you, encourage you and help you move forward.

And while I know plenty of women who love beer and love to talk about beer, I'll admit that I didn't know what to expect at Dames and Dregs. A part of me was surprised at the number of men in attendance, and I expected there to be at least a few glitches since this was the first year. Instead, everything felt like it went really smoothly.

The lines at beer tents were never longer than a few people. There was a great variety of beer. There was a variety of stuff to do. Tons of food was available. Bathrooms were clean. People were nice. AND it was super close to Marta, which is a godsend if you're returning to the suburbs after day drinking.

They have announced plans to repeat the event in 2019, and I've already told everyone I know that we're going to attend.

I've been to a few beer festivals before, but they were always a time for drinking. This, however, was a full blown experience.

Now, for the beers. Dames and Dregs not only had awesome, well-known beers from breweries, but some breweries made up special beers just for the occasion. I was especially impressed with Artemis Artamos — a smoked ale with bacon from Akademia Brewing Company (Athens, Georgia) — and No Blonde Joke — a latte IPA from Monday Night Brewing (Atlanta, Georgia). Both of these beers had amazing flavors, but I was also impressed with the fact that they weren't what people would categorize as "chick beers."

Even though I am very aware that women aren't limited to light, fruity beers, it's nice to know that companies recognize that.

I didn't get to taste even 1/3 of the beers that were available, but here are the ones I marked down on my list. I'm doing my best to remember more details about what I drank, but I'll admit that the details got fuzzy as the day went on.

Artemis Artamos - Smoked Ale with Bacon from Akademia Brewing Company

When they say "smoked" ale, they mean smoked. This beer was somehow smokey and salty and slightly bacon-y without being too heavy. I'll admit, I was burping up smoke taste for about a half hour after having this beer, so maybe it wasn't the best choice for a first beer, but it was definitely a beer I wish I had gotten twice. It was a super unique flavor, with a light mouthfeel, and refreshing rather than super sweet and malty.

Crow Hop - IPA from Chattabrewchee Southern Brewhouse - 8.1% ABV

Triboulet - IPL from Arches Brewing - 5.8% ABV

Carnaval - Sour Ale with Passion Fruit and Creme from D9 Brewing Co. - 5.5% ABV

This was one of my favorite beers of the day. I had a rhubarb custard IPA in Galway, Ireland a little more than a year ago, and I've been chasing that flavor profile ever since. This had the slight bite of a sour ale with the creamy finish you get off of a hazy IPA. Great vanilla flavor. I got three samples.

The 'A' - IPA from Eventide Brewing - 7% ABV

Never Sleep - New England-Style IPA from Good Word Brewing & Public House - 7% ABV

I enjoyed this beer. It was a truly solid NEIPA, although the two people in front of me were not fans of hazy IPAs and immediately poured out their samples in exchange for the fruited sour option. And I can't blame them; I know plenty of IPA fans who can't stand their hazy brothers. But, this brewery also has the added bonus of being in my hometown, which means I really need to drag my parents there the next time I'm home.

No Blonde Joke - Latte IPA from Monday Night Brewing - 7% ABV

This beer was AMAZING. Crisp, coffee-y and slightly bitter. It was like a piney IPA, but instead of the pine bitterness, it was like a really good cup of strong coffee. I got two samples and recommended it to a lot of the people I talked to.

Raspberry Hibiscus Gose - Gose from New Realm Brewing Co. - 4% ABV

Never Light on this Earth - Peach Tea Sour from Orpheus Brewing - 4.3% ABV

Goseanna! - Gose from Red Brick Brewing Co. - 4.7% ABV

Alt​air - IPA from Wild Heaven Beer - 6.2% ABV

Want to see more from my day at Dames and Dregs? Make sure to check out my Instagram - @girlmeetsbeerbhm. Cheers!

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