FEM.ALE Brewster Beer Festivals are dedicated to showcasing the creative and innovative work being done by women in the brewing industry. Since 2014 we’ve been running our flagship festival at the Plasterers Arms in Norwich, where we serve nothing but beer brewed by women or with a strong female presence in larger brew teams. We also showcase women in music to take care of the entertainment, launch exclusive one off beers brewed just for the festival, host Meet the Brewster beer tastings and hold discussions with panels of experts of the brewing industry, historians and academics, to provide broader contexts for how our beer and pub cultures work, inviting all who attend to participate with their own experiences too.
Stereotypes around what types of people make and drink beer are pretty well accounted for. We’ve all seen the advertising, the branding, the pump clips and the attitudes that continue to place women out of shot when it comes to buying (or brewing) a pint. To counter this overwhelming discourse, we have, over the past five years, been celebrating the women who are not only part of the beer industry, but really at the forefront of the most exciting new techniques, ideas and experiments in brewing. We’ve expanded to Brighton’s premier queer hub, the Marlborough Pub and Theatre since 2016 and in 2018 took the festival to Bunkers Hill Hockley as part of Nottingham Craft Beer Week. As we’ve been invited to host events and talks at more and more events across the UK and seen the conversation about women in the industry grow, we’re now joining forces with Norwich Craft Beer Week to launch our Inclusivity Campaign, a new initiative for the Fine City on how pubs and bars create spaces where punters and workers can enjoy their time without fear of discrimination based on gender, race, age, disability, sexuality or any other form.
We’re still using our events to make the work of women in the brewing industry visible and valued, encouraging women drinkers to identify with a drink that is so often advertised with a certain brand of masculinity, and now we’re expanding into how the brilliant work of Norwich’s hospitality workers can inform ideas on making more inclusive spaces across the county, the country and the industry as a whole.
For three 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.
There will be a special Fem.Ale stand on the market, in collaboration with Sir Toby’s Beers. Some of the best female-brewed beers will be available to buy in can and bottle for the entire week of city of ale.
Once again our friends at some of our favourite fem.ale breweries have pulled out all the stops and made us some extra special one-offs for the festival:
We're also excited to have some beers that might not be unique to us, but really showcase the Fem.Ale theme:
All the specially selected brewster beers will be hitting the taps. We will be launching all the beers we have had specially brewed for the event, including one-off beers form Burnt Mill, Redwell and The People’s Brewery. Fem.Ale DJs Kid n Slay will spinning tunes on the decks all night long.
Charlotte, head brewer at Truman’s Brewery in East London will be joining us for the day, starting with a podcast recording at 3pm, and then into the evening to sample a few of the beers and answer any questions that Trumans fans might have. We will have Amy Nomvula playing records from 8pm.
Acts to be confirmed.
The moment you've all been waiting for is here...
Our annual celebration of female brewsters takes place over the weekend of the 4th to the 6th of May, with Saturday 1pm - 6pm being our main event. Expect:
We will take to the street outside for a mega celebration. Bands to be announced soon! Don't make any other plans.
~ FREE ENTRY ~
Contact us if you are interested in our Open Mic slots! Anything from spoken word, music, storytelling, a performance piece, let us know! Fully accessible event with ramp entrance into the pub.
Female Brewster Pub Takeover: All five cask and all ten keg taps pouring nothing but beer brewed by women all week for Nottingham
Craft Beer Week 2018
Expect to see; Wild Card, Burnt Mill, Welbeck Abbey, Brewsters, Tiny Rebel, Charnwood, Dancing Duck, Wiper & True and Hollowstone +more
Our unofficial Nottingham Craft Beer Week opening ceremony. Live music from female-fronted David Bowie tribute with a few unique twists. Miss Bowie and the New Killer Stars aim to do justice to the genius of David Bowie's music with authentic and heartfelt performances of their interpretations of his songs, at the same time as paying homage to the original versions. Lead vocalist Jane Roberts says “We are pretty sure David would have approved [of a female singer], his whole ethos on androgyny, boundary shattering, and (most importantly) on love, is something very close to our hearts.” Free entry. Drinks offers. Strictly over 18’s.
Chaired by Erica Horton, Bunkers Hill welcomes Jaega Wise from Wild Card Brewery and newly appointed South East Director for SIBA, Claire Monk from Welbeck Abbey Brewery in Nottinghamshire and Natalie Bullin, Nottingham CAMRA Young Members Co-Ordinator. Arrive early to meet brewsters Jaega and Claire, five of each of their beers will be on tap.
Buy your tickets
This interactive tasting session will be hosted by award-winning beer & food writer and sommALEier Melissa Cole, in an intimate space at Bunkers Hill in the Hockley area of Nottingham City Centre. Whether you are an active beer enthusiast or are more 'beer curious', this session is for you!
While you enjoy your first beer, Melissa will begin with a short talk, leading into a full tasting. Working through 6 beers (all included with your ticket) chosen from Bunkers Hill’s specially-selected FEM.ALE range, you will explore the breweries, beer styles, flavours and food pairing suggestions (Actual food optional but not included, sadly!), alongside a mini-Q&A!
Numbers are strictly limited (Only 50 tickets available). Tickets are £10 in advance, which includes 6 thirds of beer (Available online at gigantic.com).
Nottingham-based vinyl only female DJ collective Sisters of Sound are providing the entertainment for the closing weekend of NCBW18 and they love music and dancing! Playing a pick’n’mix of styles including funk, soul, house, hip hop, garage surf, rock and indie. DJ’s include Stiff Kittens, Sue Starbuck and Ana Galhard +more
Welcome to our Inclusivity Campaign, for Norwich Craft Beer Week 2018 - a brand new initiative for Norwich, working with the Unite Union Service Industries Sector, empowering hospitality workers across the city’s pub and bar community to make the changes they want to see at work and to celebrate their tireless work making inclusive spaces in our Fine City.
In five years of running FEM.ALE Festival, celebrating women in the brewing industry and showcasing their beers at events in our home town of Norwich, in Brighton, Sheffield and Nottingham, we’ve seen a huge shift in the conversation about women and beer. From encouraging women drinkers to try a selection of beers and break down stereotypes around who drinks what, to making the creative and cultural labour of women in brewing visible, people across the country have been sharing their experiences, knowledge and enthusiasm for a beer and pub culture that puts diversity at the forefront.
Now that so many people are talking about women in brewing, we wanted to start a new conversation about how to make pubs and bars as safe and inclusive as possible. There are some great initiatives encouraging drinking establishments to display a zero tolerance policy on discriminatory language so that everyone feels safe and happy while enjoying a pint (or anything else for that matter) and there are pubs, such as our headquarters The Plasterers Arms, that have displayed such a policy for years now. But, as anyone who has ever worked in hospitality knows, enforcing this type of policy is often easier said than done. What does this policy really mean for bartenders, managers and punters?When does a bartender step in and say that something is unacceptable and? What might it mean for workers in chain pubs where procedural policy comes from a central office? What responsibility do workers feel to upholding a policy when their shifts are unreliable, they’re working late nights for minimum wage and there isn’t a security presence? How much do workers feel at risk when trying to step in to a conversation that they deem offensive and how do they keep themselves safe if doing so? And how do we know this is actually making people feel more comfortable?
For Norwich Craft Beer Week 2018, we’ll be working with the fantastic pubs involved, hosting seminars to let those who have to deal with uncomfortable conversations, remarks and attitudes in a public facing work environment and share their experiences (and horror stories) of pub culture. We’ll be asking staff to offer examples of having dealt with difficult customers, where they’ve found things successful and unsuccessful, and what they love and love less about the job they do. We want this to be a cathartic experience that allows bar staff to articulate some of the harder parts of being in the service industry, to connect people in similar jobs to empower a community of workers and to make visible a particular set of working conditions and skills that are so often undervalued, both ideologically and fiscally. We can’t wait to hear what our Norwich pub community has to say on this subject and encourage other cities to take on this kind of action so workers feel safe, empowered and united against the discrimination that we all want to fight. And with happy working environments, punters will enjoy a happier, safer drinking space! If you have any questions or want to share your own insights, then do get in touch with us on Facebook and twitter, we’d love to hear from you. Peace and solidarity, FEM.ALE Brewster Beer Festivals If you’re a worker in the service industries and want advice on your rights and working conditions, more info from the Unite Union Service Industries Sector is available here