Coppertop Alehouse

A few weeks ago I was able to go to Prescott, Arizona with Karry from Black Bridge Brewery here in Kingman.  One of the places he was adamant about us visiting was Coppertop Alehouse.   It is on Montezuma Street, in the proximity of Whiskey Row, and it’s a tiny place, the proverbial hole in the wall.  A dozen people would crowd the pub.

Gaston and Scott are the brewers/owners/operators.  They are gracious hosts, so here’s a “thanks” to them both for an enjoyable couple of hours.  One of the reasons we went to Coppertop was Karry’s insistence on introducing me to their Belgian quad.  Since Karry knows his Belgians, I was amenable to this idea.   And he was right.

The quad was wonderful.  It hit all the markers in the style guidelines, to be sure.  Mid-range brown, like a cola or tea; it was sweetish, and had a definite dark fruit character.  (Evidently, they make their own candi sugar, too.)  It was a strong beer, no denying that.  But it did have that ephemeral hint of joy mixed in, just a delight of a beer.

But it was the tripel that I loved even more.  This was bright, yellowish-orange, moderate body, and hints of citrus. It was like drinking a sparkly wheat beer in Wonderland (I know, there’s no wheat; it just felt that bright and refreshing).  It is also strong beer, around 10%, but unlike the quad, brewer Gaston disguised the power of the tripel. It tastes and feels like a session beer but it is not.  Far too strong for that such things.

What a cool place!  A small 40+ gallon brew system, their own Candi sugar, their own spirits – vodka, gin and plum schnapps. It’s got a great local pub vibe, familial, comfortable, salubrious. Drop in, grab a chair, chat with the owners.  If I recall correctly, there was even some bartering going on there, fresh eggs for a small amount of a banner quad.  If political debate is your thing … well, stop by and talk to Gaston about that end of things.

And drink that tripel.  Crafted with such elan, just can’t say enough good things about it and the brewery.

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Gender Roles and Brewing

One of the first axioms learned in home brewing is Charlie Papazian’s Proverb:  “Relax.  Don’t worry.  Have a home brew.”  Two weeks ago I heard that refrain on the Brewing Patio at Black Bridge.  A Belgian Blonde was being brewed by two women, Rachel & Sharon.  They were both questioning temperature as the beer was being transferred to the fermentation vessels.  They were told to ‘not worry so much.’  Their response was, ‘we’re women.  We worry.’

The declaration made me wonder: do women, in fact, worry more than men?  What is the objective of their worry compared to men?  Are they concerned about their reputations?  Or are they concerned about the well being of those they serve? Or is it pointless to even make that a thing because, we are all, you know, people?  After all, let’s not forget it was a man who penned the above warning regarding worry.  Many men have read that warning and have had to remind themselves of it during a stressful brewday.

Before you continue reading, I feel I must warn you – there are no answers to the above questions.  At least, not from me.  Go forth, then, and have a full discussion of gender roles.

Traditionally women have been entrusted with domestic management.  They have always been concerned about how and known the way to take care of their family.  An important part of family life is centered around food and drink.  Beer – or wine, or mead, or alcohol of choice – has always been a part of human life; from ancient times women were usually bread makers and beer brewers. It was a home activity. Once it became a profession or an industry men arrogated it.  More women are becoming involved in the commercial brewing industry now.  Women may especially worry about their performance in this industry and others because they are working in what has now become a man’s environment and they feel they must prove themselves.  Whose fault is that?

The point?  Humans have brewed.  Humans are brewing.  Maybe we should just leave it at that.  Gender politics should not be a thing.  Therefore, I have mixed feelings on whether I should write this up the way I am. But here I am doing it.  Fine.  I’ll throw this in – one difference I noted in the Belgian brewday was the number of selfies happening.  I have no idea how that fits into the gender role discussion.

As noted above the beer being brewed was Belgian Blonde with additions of prickly pear.  That’s right, No Pricks Allowed has returned.  While the female brewers of the beer were different than last year there have been no other stylistic to the beer.  From what I recall, it was a beautiful beverage – outstanding clarity and bright purple color.  It had a light body and drank quickly and easily.  It’s Belgian-ness was not overpowering, nor was the prickly pear.

Here we are in the post-modern information age and still arguing over race and gender.  I’m simply going to argue that No Pricks Allowed was a good beer last time around.   And If I recall correctly, last year’s iteration of this beer encouraged Janelle to begin her own home brewing adventures.

Politics, gender or otherwise, may be a verboten subject at the brewery (yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not true) but beer and brewing is always on the table so check for this Belgian Blonde in the coming week.  Raise a glass to the people in your life.