FEM.ALE is a festival that showcases female led music and most importantly, beer brewed by women and enjoyed by everyone. Surprisingly, FEM.ALE is the first dedicated brewster festival in the U.K providing a platform to celebrate women in the beer industry through extensive lists of female brewed beer, meet-the-brewers, specially made one-off ales, panels, discussions and all sorts of other events.
We get asked a few questions on a regular basis – sometimes from people with genuine inquiries or wanting clarification, sometimes from people being snarky because… well, that’s what you get for pointing out gender inequality.
All the beers at FEM.ALE are designed, developed and brewed by women or brew teams that are led by women. Most of the breweries we source from are pretty small, so it’s easy to define who’s doing the brewing, as opposed to other jobs such as the accounts or the marketing. At some of the bigger beer companies, it’s harder to tell who’s at the heart of the physical brewing process and the creative design process, so we go to the women in those organisations and ask them what beers they’ve been involved with or which they would recommend in the line-up of beers at the brew co. they work at.
Technically, not a lot. Or at least it depends on where you are. As a cultural phenomenon, craft beer emerged out of smaller batch American breweries in the 1990s and 2000s, Sierra Nevada being a brand that used ‘craftiness’ to offer an alternative beer identity to those at big beer co’s like Coors or Budweiser to huge commercial success. Here in the UK, thanks to CAMRA and the tireless work of thousands of brewers creating quality small batch beer, real ale breweries were always sort of…doing that anyway. However, while the American term ‘craft’ refers to the smaller volume of beer being produced, over here ‘craft’ refers more to the style. ‘Craft beer’ is often keg bound than barrel aged, is therefore fizzier and stronger American hops are used, giving American style craft beers a different, more pronounced hop flavour than ‘real ale’ does with our slightly less sun-drenched British-grown hops. Rain cloud emoji.
We’re working on it!
Yes (hurr hurr). We welcome all genders to the party.
Different… to what? If you’re a regular beer drinker, you’re probably already drinking Brewster beers on a regular basis. Our plan is to bring a selection of them together to celebrate women in an industry where we are largely underrepresented.
For four days, all of the beer taps at The Plasterers Arms will be dedicated to pouring you the finest craft brews in the country, exclusively brewed by women.
We're kicking off in our usual style with a launch party of local DJs spinning femme anthems to soundtrack a huge range of deliciousness available at the bar.
We know no one's really sick of experts! Chaired by festival director Erica Horton, The Plasterers welcomes academics from UEA, Bournemouth and Leicester to share their research on craft work, histories of beer and how the industry is working today to diversify its work force. Sam Goodman joins us to discuss his research on beer and colonialism and the ways in which discourses of British entrepreneurship and Empire still appear in craft beer branding today. Helen Warner shares her research into gender and craft work and questions why, when women are increasingly moving into 'craft' industries and self employment, microbrewing and the rise of the craft beer industry has seen a continued male gendered identity. Chris Land and Scott Taylor will present some of their work on the craft beer industry and the ways in which discourses around gender in advertising and in the industry itself creates disparity in the labour force. Theyve interviewed all sorts of people working in beer - including us! As well as sharing academic research, we welcome all our local beer experts and brewers to take part in an interactive Q&A, where you can explore our speakers' thoughts further, and make your own voices heard in the conversation using your own experiences of beer and pub culture.
After all the book smarts and conversation we get live with femme fronted bands from Norfolk and beyond. All our events are free so come see your new favourite bands and swing your pants to your old favourites too!
Classic family film from Studio Ghibli, which tells the story of two young daughters of a professor and their adventures with wood spirits in rural Japan. Breakfast is served in the pub from 10.
Join us for the launch of a one off beer brewed by Belinda from Woodfordes Brewery and Tracy from the People's Brewery. Have a chat with the brewers and get a taste of a unique brew from two women at the forefront of Norfolk brewing. We'll be running our FEM.ALE Film Club on Sunday with all the usual fair of weekend breakfast goodness on offer to soak up the beer deliciousness.
More brilliant female led music from upbeat acoustic three piece Late Nights // Early Mornings, and singer Andrea King.
Last year's screening of The Craft went was incredibly popular so we'll be projecting another smasher to sip along to on Sunday evening. This year though, we're running a competition to choose our Sunday evening film... it can be anything at all, but it has to pass the Bechdel test! Got a suggestion? Give us a tweet, or drop us a line on Facebook
As its bank holiday weekend we'll be serving up more brewster beers all day Monday. Get your brain juices flowing and finish off the weekend with the FEM.ALE Pub Quiz, raising more funds for the 4women centre based in Norwich. All genders are welcome, as always, and all events are free all weekend, so come down, get yourself a beer and lets raise a glass to the women at the helm of the craft beer industry! Cheers!
Last year was a total fun fest so we're scooting down to Brighton from our home town of Norwich once again, with all the best beers and some more musical buddies in tow. Oh and all our events are free. I know, right?!
We're kicking off the weekend with all the best brewster beers and Emma Inch from Fermentation Radio Show spinning some rockabilly vibes for your listening pleasure.
Did someone say all day street party?! YES IT WAS US. We're shutting down the street outside the Marly to bring you live music, stalls and outisde beer drinking facilities, and vegan food. Compered by the wonderful Emma Frankland. We're bringing Norwich two piece Sink Ya Teeth with their bassy beats and poetic vocals and London based The Nyx will be bringing their patriarchy smashing rock noises. Plus Brighton based megababe I Am Fya - dark Basslines and sexed up vocals to make your knees go weak! Dancing is advised. Browse the stalls and enjoy (fingers crossed) the sunshine while trying a huge range of brewster beers - from midday til six!
UH OH SPAGHETTI OHS. We're very pleased to add BOSSY Brighton to our weekend of entertainment. After the street party we'll move the tunes back inside as BOSSY kick off a dance party of "the best tracks of the 90s to 2000s R&B. Nothing but throwback anthems taking you back to the VH1 & MTV days" - loud shirts welcome.
After a big ol' street party there's nothing better than a giant roast and a little hair of the dog and that is exactly what you'll be getting, courtesty of the Vegan Food Pimp. Wind down the weekend with the last of the brewster beers available and toast the tastiness of these craftspeople's hard work, flavour skills and general knowse. Cheers!
FEM.ALE’s platform has resonated further across the U.K, so much so that the festival is an annual fixture in Brighton’s Marlborough Pub and Theatre. Erica added, “People have been travelling from far and wide to be part of the movement. Taking the show on the road to Brighton last year was a gamble, but one that paid off. It was an incredible buzz to see FEM.ALE in full force in another city, far away from my own”.