Friday, March 8, 2013

A Lady Who Loves Beer: Valerie Gibson

When she’s not arranging back room deals for bottles of Pliny the Elder, sharpening her sniffing and tasting skills with the local home brew club, and longing for the Colorado mountains, this Texas lady takes full advantage of all the Dallas craft beer scene has to offer. She will drink with just about anyone as long as they don’t offer her a Blue Moon (The dudes better check their boring beer recommends at the door. The lady knows what she likes.)

This is Valerie Gibson and she loves beer. She works and plays in Dallas, Texas. When she’s not drinking beer, she enjoys champagne times infinity.

What's your story? How did you get into beer? 
My heart belongs in Colorado, but my body and brain belong in Texas (or so says my boss). I do, however, get to travel to Denver for work several times a year and that's where my love affair with beer started. I've always been a beer drinker, but GOOD beer - CRAFT beer - came along a little later. It was worth the wait.
Can you tell us about women-friendly spaces of note in your area?
Strangeways, Goodfriend, and The Common Table. All three have knowledgeable bartenders and don’t act like girls only drink white wine (not that there’s anything wrong with white wine). Dallas has an incredible craft beer culture surge right now. It’s an exciting time to be a beer lover in Big D!
Do you brew?
I've not started brewing myself yet (waffling between a 5gal and 1gal small batch kit to start with), but I have played "brewer's assistant" to a couple of friends and have joined the Dallas Homebrew Collective. I wanted to show my support for the craft and culture, even if I don't fully participate in that side of it. Our monthly meetings include the People Choice competition, which I'm taking full advantage of to sharpen my sniffing and tasting skills.
It's fun! I've just received my TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) server-seller certificate and I hope to start pouring at local brewery tours and beer festivals like Untapped really soon. I've also done what amounts to a back alley drug deal inside a liquor store to get my paws on two bottles of Pliny the Elder.
Her current drinking obsession and/or favorite beer(s) of the moment are…
My favorite beers of the moment? Oh LAWD. Depends on my mood, the weather, and what's on tap! I can say unequivocally that Avery Brewing is my happiest place on earth. Their Lilikoi Kepolo is the stuff Sunday morning dreams are made of. It's like a mimosa, BUT WITH BEER. And don't even get me started on their barrel-aged stuff like Samael's and The Beast. ERMAHGERD. Dogfish Head 90 Minute is a great standby. I tend to prefer Imperial IPAs and Belgians with a higher ABV. But I can also appreciate a delicious porter, stout, or winter ale. My favorite Dallas brewery is Peticolas. Their Velvet Hammer and Great Scot are yummy and their Royal Scandal brought home a gold medal from GABF in 2012. Michael Peticolas is one of the nicest guys you could meet, which doesn't hurt.
Favorite place(s) to drink?
The Falling Rock Tap Room in Denver because it’s dark, a bit divey, and the selection is unbeatable.
What do you most like/loathe about the culture of beer. How do you see women represented locally, nationally, globally. What you’d like to less/more of? 
Things I want to see... well, I want to see more women as Cicerones and head brewers. (And lemme tell you something... dudes don't know what to do with a girl that knows her beer. The next one that suggests that I might enjoy a Blue Moon will get a swift kick in the you-know-what). 
I want to see legislation catch up to the ambition of these small, local breweries (Open The Taps is great here in Texas). I want to see even more experimentation and risk-taking in recipes and styles. I think sour beers are still WAY behind what the market could sustain.
I'll end with this: Runners and Beer Lovers. Two of the most encouraging, inclusive groups I've ever been a part of. You're new to running? "Yay! You ran a 13:00 mile! That's awesome!! Keep it up!" New to craft beer? "You've gotta try this one. It's amazing." Also: "You like [Belgians, Stouts, IPAs]? You should give this a shot. Here, TRY MINE." Who else does that?? I love it. Like the industry itself, I'm still learning and growing. 
Her favorite person to drink with is anyone! You wanna go grab a beer? Connect with Valerie @valeriegibson

Personally, I vote that Valerie come back for a recurring guest post to let us in on more of the rad happenings in the Big D. My parents might also be due for a surprise visit. Surely Austin can't be too far from Dallas. Right? Right.

Are you a lady who loves beer? Do you know someone who is?

Hey, Brewtiful is looking for women home brewers (and their accomplices), female beer aficionados and connoisseurs, ladies working in the beer biz who know their stuff, broads who love their local beer haunts and the brew they serve, and ladies who bake, cook, or otherwise experiment with beer to share their stuff in a guest post or short feature on hey, brewtiful.

Why? Because I'm a lady, and although I can see a female presence in growing numbers all around me, it feels like women are under represented in mainstream beer culture. I see women hefting growlers home in vacant car seats, sharing home brew hijinks over samples of beer, drinking more discriminatingly, and otherwise owning the beer culture for themselves. And I want these women to be more visible, to know more about what makes them tick, and what ticks them off.

Are you game? To get in on the already evolving lineup of women, email me at heybrewtiful{at}gmail{dot}com with your story, you perspective on and involvement in beer, brewing, etc., your favorite beer(s) of the moment, and what you see, or would like to see more or less of in the beer culture around you. I want to know what you're drinking. What the beer culture is like where you are. What got you interested in brewing, in beer.


  1. Val is so awesome, love this post!!

  2. Love your new hobby Valerie! Great story!

  3. Nice read! I also love beer and even my food is incomplete without it. I usually prepare beer at home and it is one of my home experiments. I have made so many recipes at my home, but I can't remember all the flavor combinations I've tried. The last time I made Merlot grape beer with Home Brew West Beer Making Kit. I used malted grains in making beer.



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