TV, beer and Aldo Lanzini

Three of the things I’ve been up to this month.

My fiance, Conor McCreery, a comic book creator and screenwriter, has been appearing on the Charles Adler show as a commentator on all things pop culture. Last week they wanted a female talking head to comment on Bridesmaids, a movie that I love, so I decided to give it a shot.  The day of I got super nervous, forcing Conor to play Adler and throw out all sorts of possible questions, over and over. I went to the studio armed with facts, and then, when we did the interview the questions were mostly personal opinion. No rehearsal on those, and no chance to show off all of my R&D. Once we got going, the nerves subsided (it’s easy to talk to a camera that doesn’t look back at you) and I was surprised by how much fun it all was. Now all I need is my own beer travel show.

My first two beer columns have been published in the Grid, and I have plans for more.  There is so much happening in craft and commercial brewing, so lots to talk about. The best part of this new gig has been how welcoming the beer community is — experts, writers and brewers all love what they do and don’t mind sharing their intel. In my latest column, on Barley’s Angels, I looked at women in the craft brewing industry and discovered that the act of making beer is totally girly. Unfortunately I couldn’t squeeze this fascinating history into the column, so I’m sharing it here:

Women parted ways with beer around the industrial revolution, when brewing ale, once the sole responsibility of the female, was moved into factories and drinking shifted from the home to the male-dominated pub. It’s a travesty, because beer is utterly feminine. High status females were the brewsters of chica in pre-Inca and Incan cities high up in the Andes, of Hekt in ancient Egypt, and in charge of the prestigious brewing trade in Babylon and Sumeria (modern day Iraq). Beer deities were always goddesses, never gods. Even the hyper-masculine Vikings favoured brewsters — Norse society law dictated that only women could own brewhouse equipment. Today, things are different. A 2004 Health Canada survey found that a quarter of men ages 19 to 50 drink beer, compared to eight percent of women, and men guzzle, consuming about 80 percent of all beer.

Anthropologist Alan Eames uncovered the female-dominated history of brewing — and more evidence is being unearthed every few years, like a recent discovery that high-ranking females were the brewmasters in pre-Incan societies.

Finally, I just finished up a piece for ELLE’s September issue exploring a fashion and pop culture trend — it was fun to research, and I’ll remain mum about what it is until publication, but I had the pleasure of discovering the work of Italian artist Aldo Lanzini.  His crocheted masks are mesmerizing and all about the construction of identity.

Check out this profile by Crane TV:


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Filed under beer, journalism, love, Toronto

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