Friday, June 7, 2013

Sande Edwards: A Lady Who Loves Beer

A Georgia native who grew up "barefoot and wild" in small-town Adairsville, this graphic designer has recently found herself back in Lawrenceville after an educational nine-year foray into the DC craft beer scene. With a thirst for half-pours and beer flights that has been sadly disappointed by her hometown haunts, this hop-head spends her spare time dabbling in homebrew, hiking, biking, and running in the great outdoors.

This is Sande, and she loves beer.

Before Sande was a beer drinker, she mostly drank...
In college I drank the cheap stuff (Mickey's!) just to loosen up and have a good time. I slowly graduated into what I thought were the premium beers: Killians Red, Bue Moon, etc.. I had my first craft beer in December 2011 and I HATED hoppy beers, but now it's my favorite beer (and sours). I started a Meetup group in DC for craft beer lovers and newbies. We had giant bottle shares, visited breweries, tried out the various craft beer bars in the area (there are TONS in DC), and had small beer tasting/discussions, beer dinners etc... It was amazing! They are still going strong without me [sad face].
The development of my love of hoppy beers was strange. I remember having the crappy "IPA" and thinking, "Gross! How can anyone drink this crap?!" Then I had good IPA's and eventually I started to CRAVE the hoppyiness. That oily, grassy, goodness really can't be beat in a beer! The first IPA I  fell in love with was Flower Power by Ithaca Brewing company in New York. I had it at a festival in Pennsylvania and of course I couldn't get in DC and waited months until I finally found someone to ship me a six pack. It's so good! My Current favorite IPA is brewed by DC Brau, On the Wings of Armageddon, which uses the Falconer's Flight hop blend that is becoming ever popular and therefore more expensive. 
What was the name of the meetup group you started in DC?
Beer Head. It started when I was making handmade books and made a beer journal. I named it Beer Head and created a logo [pictured above]. I thought a good way to promote it would be through and the group was born in December 2011! It was a real eye opener too. So many different beers to try! 
As a woman participating in both DC and Georgia beer scenes, do you notice any differences in the way women participate in the craft beer culture?
To be honest, I never consider the roles of men vs. women in the craft beer scene. I see a collaboration of like-minded individuals pursuing something that matters to them--craft beer. But as far as participation goes, I did feel like there were more women than men in my Beer Head meetup group in DC. They were open to trying new beers and experiencing the craft beer scene. There are definitely female brewer's in the area, for example: Christine Sommero of Heavy Seas in Baltimore MD and Megan Parisi of Bluejacket in DC (which wasn't quite open when I left DC).
Do you brew, or help someone who does? What’s your level of experience? What do you love about it?
I have brewed exactly three home brews, all from all-grain kits. The last kit, I decided to alter; it was a Jalapeno Saison that I transformed into a Beet Saison and it's a very interesting beer—needs some tweaking. I love the ease of it and the end product of course! I also love the experimentation process. I want to continue making interesting beers. I need to clean out the garage and get my set up together.
Her favorite place to drink is...
I just moved back to Georgia after being in the DC area for nine years and have yet to find a good place to drink here in Lawrenceville. I did visit Local Republic and while they have great selections they do not offer half pours or flights which I find incredible. I plan on checking out Exhibit Ale soon!
Did you have a favorite place to drink in DC that you'd recommend? What do you like about it? What does it feel like to be there (the more detail the better)?
DC is an amazing place. It's incredibly diverse and the city itself is very accommodating to that. It's also a fantastic craft beer mecca. Savor made DC its home until 2013 when NYC stole it away. There are so many bars with fantastic beer offerings but I would have to say Meridian Pint is my absolute favorite place to drink beer. They have a nice little basement barroom with the most knowledgeable sommelier and bartenders in the area. They actually have table taps at this place! Basically you sit at the table and there are two draft options for you at a set price per ounce. You just drink until your hearts content, pay, and go! A fantastic idea. 
The DC Metro area has the best beer festivals as well and they range from the large field festivals with music to the on the waterfront festivals. Other great beer bars in DC: Black Squirrel with its many floors of beer selections, Galaxy Hut is just outside of DC and a little divey but a must visit, Biergarten Haus has an excellent German beer selection, and a not so convenient (but a must visit) is Menomale for their amazing pizza and fantastic curated beer selections (visit DC Brau down the street while you are there, DC's first brewery since prohibition!).
What differences do you see between DC and Georgia's beer scene?
It feels like Georgia is just catching up to the beer scene but it's hard to gauge since I've only been here two months. I hate that I'm in Gwinnett county where there doesn't seem to be jack going on and Cobb county seems to be rockin' out the craft beers! I have noticed a lot of festivals happening in the area and I hope to find others to attend with me soon! I remember reading an article before we moved down about new breweries in the planning stage to be opened in 2013, very exciting! 
So, are you a Georgia native (where did you grow up)? What brought you back, and do you think you'll stay?
I grew up in Adairsville GA, barefoot and wild. It's a small town in the upper Northwest area of 75 with one red light. It was also recently on the news when a rather large tornado came through and took out many of the small businesses there. There was nothing to do growing up except get into trouble, so I couldn't wait to get outta there! I "went to college" in 1993 and was quickly dismissed. Moved to Iowa City IA for a bit with a guy, did some community college, moved back to GA in 1997 to Kennesaw GA. Poked around in the Kennesaw/Marietta area when I met my current boyfriend in 2000. We ran off to Australia for two months for short term work in 2004 then we wound up in DC for work. I finally got a degree and a decent job when the economy slumped. Suddenly, we weren't doing so well, but then he got a job offer back in GA. We figured it was time for a change anyway and wanted to be closer to our families again. There's really no telling how long we will be here in Georgia. Northern California has been on our minds for a little while. ;) 
What do you most like/loathe about the culture of beer?
Some beer drinkers get a little snobby when it comes to beer. Craft beer is in it's infancy, especially here on the East coast so it's kind of understandable that people want to feel special about drinking well made beer and being part of the craft beer scene so they like to "drop some knowledge" on the uneducated, but let's not be pretentious about it people.
Also, the one thing I seem to notice is when you get beers from, say, Japan, they are simple doppelgangers of American beers. I mean, I can get an IPA here, why would I want an IPA that tastes the same but is made in Japan? Do something interesting! Who knows, maybe they are but it isn't making its way over here.
I'm not very familiar with Japanese beers. Can you tell us more about what you mean when you talk about "doppelgangers" (maybe mentioning a specific beer that you feel is a copy of an American beer).
HITACHINO NEST BEER ( is the first one that come to mind. I have only had their typical American style beers (the White and the Pale Ale), but looking at their site I see they have more to offer but I have not seen it here. I hope to find the more Asian style ones soon! I would love to see beers made with native ingredients; Lemon Grass or Red Curry beers from Thailand, Ginger or Grains of Paradise beers from anywhere in Asia, Spanish beers with mint, etc... I'm sure a lot of it has to do with the distributors and what they think will sell to the general American public.
To connect with Sande, follow her on Twitter and Untappd.

Are you a lady who loves beer? Do you know someone who is? Meet me here each Friday for a weekly focus on women and beer, or meet the ladieswho've already contributed to the growing collection of interviews. To get in on the already evolving lineup, email me at heybrewtiful{at}gmail{dot}com with your story.

1 comment:

  1. Sande is awesome and Beerheads is an awesome group. We miss her in DC big time!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...