Tag Archives: Women Enjoying Beer

Enticing Beer Ice Cubes

August 2017 by Ginger Johnson

Beer is a deliciously creative ingredient in your kitchen if you think about it that way. I’m an avid cook and know a bit about beer. Everything I bring into my kitchen is free game for full use. And since we’re deep into the warmer summer months, beer ice cubes are one of my go-to ideas in tapping into beer as ingredient.

It’s really very simple:

  • Think about beers per their flavors that you’d like to add to your cookings.
  • Procure those beers.
  • Dispense them carefully into ice-cube trays and freeze.
  • Use as desired.
  • Repeat and experiment.

Now, is it really that simple? Yes! Are there some tactics to ensure best results? Yes. Here they are.

  1. Dedicate a separate ice-cube tray for this endeavor. Since most of them are plastic, the tray will adopt a beery flavor patina over time. Use one that releases easily, instead of shattering the cubes in removal. You can use a permanent marker to easily ID the beer cube tray.
  2. If you’re using fresh beer, pour slowly into the trays. The space is small so gently and slowly pouring the beer into the cube spaces will keep foaming to a minimum.
  3. If you’re using flat beer – which still has plenty of flavor to offer – then still pour slowly, though foaming likelihood is reduced since the beer has significantly decarbonated already.
  4. If the cubes look foamy regardless, let them sit a few minutes or gently stir them to help with decarbonation. Doing so can reduce foamy crystals in your beer cubes.
  5. Once they are frozen, you can let them remain in the tray until you’re ready to use them or remove them to a separate container, making easy access of the number of cubes you wish to use at any time.

Glass of beer

Making beer ice cubes for prep and cooking is a terrific way to utilize beer you won’t drink as well. If you’ve had a party, there’s a partial container remaining that you don’t want to put into your compost, then cube it! As I stated above, beer still holds a great deal of flavor regardless of the carbonation level. Repurpose the beer and let it shine in a whole host of cookings.

How can you then use the beer cubes? For one, I featured beer in Beerinades (2013 article), which is a superb way to repurpose beer from cubes. The slight acidity in beer replaces other acids for tenderizing in grilling. Soup, stew and chili all benefit from the addition of beer in the pot. And beer cubes can enhance muffins; think wheat beer cubes in banana muffins.

Using beer cubes in cooking requires some forethought, both for melting and also for replacement purposes. Questions and ideas are always welcome too – contact me at ginger@gingerjohnson.com anytime to inquire and share. I suggest you simply dig in and start experimenting.

Until the next time, cheers ~


You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter.

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk 


Creating Beer and Chocolate Believers by Ginger Johnson

“I used to be a beer racist, but you changed me.” – April A

Ginger Johnson

Ninkasi’s Believer Red has long been a beer that makes me smile. Yes, it’s delicious. More importantly I really like the philosophy around the name: Believer.

We all want to believe in something and last night I made believers of new beer & chocolate tasters. April’s quote, my host of a recent private tasting event, nails it: remove your prejudice and simply fall into the possibilities.

Ginger IAs part of the annual Oregon Chocolate Festival, I deliver lively & tasty “Beer & ____” sessions each year. This year – my 5th year doing so – I also introduced what I dubbed the ClassPort. Everyone who attended all three of my tasting sessions over the course of the Friday – Sunday weekend event was eligible to win a private beer & chocolate tasting; they got their ClassPort stamped at each class.

Last night I delivered the first of the three private tastings to 8 game and mostly unfamiliar-to-this-concept folks. Suffice to say minds were changed!

Here’s what I find are 3 of the consistent surprises when people put beer and chocolate together.

  1. Most people have never even thought of putting beer and chocolate together, never mind attended an actual planned tasting event. The element of Surprise & Delight is on my side!
  2. The tasting first of the beer alone, then the chocolate alone, then the two together is a good pattern for the S & D factor. “Wow! Who Knew? Really??” are all rallying exclamations from guests.
  3. Since beer is so incredibly diverse, it’s easy to blow minds multiple times with however many courses you choose to feature. I planned 3 last night (menu below).
  • The next time you think of beer, think of chocolate.
  • The next time you think of chocolate, think of beer.
  • Then invite some friends over and make some new believers out of them.

Choose the beers and chocolates you like, mix and match, and simply have fun exploring. Discovery awaits!


You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. Welcome back Ginger!

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk

Crafting Education by Ginger Johnson

ginger 1052015Rarely does someone point their finger at me and tell me what to do. It’s precisely what My Fine Husband did about 4 weeks ago.

He’d come across this class – Crafting Beer & Food – and told me I needed to attend. “Here’s why,” he continued (which was the saving grace):

  1. They’re covering topics I’m interested in, one being beer as it relates to cooking.
  2. These are educational sessions we’ve not seen anywhere else relevant to my world and goals.

After a look around their site, I did indeed register. And then I started really looking forward to something I had no idea I would have missed.

While I firmly believe and extol everything is possible, ‘everything’ in this case is now something I would have otherwise innocently passed up due to not knowing about it.

Where I’m going with this today is that we need to listen to valuable voices in our lives.

If My Fine Husband or one of my friends or colleagues tells me about something they heard of or know about that I would specifically find of interest, then I’ll check it out. If it’s a stranger or relative unknown who tells me “you should do/try/look into this” then it’s entirely different. There may be a kernel of something in their idea yet the people who know me are stronger voices. They’re ones who are vested in our relationship and therefore stand to gain more by sharing and helping me.

The last time I was in Napa Valley was to give my TEDx talk, this past April. My focus at that juncture was all talk, no rec. It’ll be a true treat to attend this summit, meet more engaged folks, see friends and colleagues, stay with friends and participate on one of the panels as a speaker.

How we craft our own education is important. It can and does change our world, for the better, if we let it. Bring on the good stuff. I’m ready.

See you there. (psst: there are still a few more seats available…)


You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. Welcome back Ginger!

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk

Delicious Reading of Economy Grace and by Ginger Johnson

audaciaginger2I love how certain books can whet your appetite not only for food. It gets my brain juice moving in new ways. Tamar Adler’s An Everlasting Meal, Cooking with Economy and Grace is one of those books for me.

Ms. Adler’s book was one I first checked out at a local library. Libraries are treasure troves of books of all ilk’s and one of the local branches is chock full of interested food choices. An Everlasting Meal caught my eye and then, very quickly, my interest in reading it. Her style, wit, perspective, and humor along with her obvious food and eating knowledge resonates loudly with me.

She’s already influenced my meals this week. Her philosophy is one I have already been developing my own brand of as well, so it’s great timing I chose to read it again. Here’s why I’m glad I pulled it out of my bookshelf.

  1. IMG_3700Starting with the title, economy and grace are pervasive throughout the text, putting her money where her mouth is. To get a glowing foreword by a very well known pro such as Alice Waters (which this book has) would possibly set one on guard. Let your guard down and know her introduction is true.
  2. An Everlasting Meal – what does that mean? Ms. Adler deconstructs her very title showing us the meat of what she’s sharing with the reader to also be true. Everlasting…how does that work on our world of food, cooking, prepping, and shopping, I dare say – being in the world?
  3. The book is a mash of philosophy, recipes, and methodologies sprinkled with stories and ideas. I love this kind of format as it offers so much more than rote information. You feel like you could be listening to her pattering around in her kitchen.
  4. I want to invite her over to stay with me for a few days or weeks. We seem to have a lot in common and I find the affinities to me inspiring. Finding others who believe in using pickle juice, for example, and not throwing it out (what a mistake that is to begin with!).

To be exposed to thoughtful ‘new’ ideas and how that affects our others thinkings. These are the kinds of people and books I seek and find valuable.

And yes, the recipes therein are well worth the cost of the book alone.

When I first bought Ms. Adler’s book I put it on my Cookbook Shelf in my kitchen. It’s since migrated around the house, finding a perch on various bookshelves and tables. I want to have it out at the ready. For me, for you when you come to visit, and to inspire and remind me of economy and grace.


FYI All books I discuss are of my own choosing, for my own reasons.

You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. Welcome back Ginger!

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk

Reading and Eating by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

It all started when I was too young to remember learning how to read.

Somehow in my early years I developed a strong interest in the written word and the mental adventures reading could yield. It’d be remarkable to remember the process of learning to write letters for the first time, combining them to form words and start to grasp meanings.

As an avid reader, I put forth a goal at the beginning of this year to read one business book per week. Crazy? Most likely. Ambitious? Yes. Fruitful? Yes. On track? Mostly.

I’ve expanded the reading to include all books, and that’s actually exceeded the week count. Seriously, a Good Book has me turning away other things I Should Do so I can read. Self-restraint comes along too to make sure the faucet isn’t left running or a roast charring in the oven.

Why am I talking about reading? Because part of my return to Your Home is to talk about books. Books are friends and – like friends – I generally like to share them with others. Count on reading posts about books I’ve read and what I find of value therein.

Reading to me is a wonderful education, pastime, way to inform my way in the world, meet new people, have adventures, and stimulate my brain. It’s also an excellent way to develop topics to discuss with other people and therefore develop culture. Yes, it’s that important to me. I can’t imagine not being able to read. 

Reading also informs my culinary world. Recipe books provide lovely inspirational pictures, ideas for ingredients and combinations, and insight on what’s going on when we prep and cook food.

I’ll be sharing thoughts and musings on various books as they relate to Your Home and the wonderful complement of writers and people here.

Thanks, Karie & you all. It’s good to be back. Tune in again soon for a few book rec’s. And be sure to share yours as well. The stack of books waiting to be read is never too high.

Cheers till then ~


You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. Welcome back Ginger!

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying Beer TEDxNapaValley  Talk

Ginger Johnson returns to contributing staff of Your Home with Karie Engels


Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

We are pleased to announce to return of Ginger Johnson to the contributing staff of Your Home with Karie Engels. Ginger’s natural enthusiasm and energy is and always has been a tremendous asset to the site and our  excitement meter is off the chart with the opportunity  to work with Ginger once more.

“It’s with great relish I’m returning to Your Home,” states Johnson. “Karie has a remarkable world all coming together right here and I’m honored & excited to be here again!”

Ginger has been working on professional projects and life pursuits which she will be sharing in more detail in her upcoming articles.

You can find Ginger at the links below and also follow her on Twitter. Welcome back Ginger!

Entertainer, Flavor Maker, Speaker & Presenter, CEO Ginger Johnson & Women Enjoying BeerTEDxNapaValley Talk


Cooking and Booking by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson

Cookbooks. These two words may instill excitement or fear in you. In me, it provokes curiosity and enthusiasm.

See, I look at cooking as one of the great joys of life. Farther up the this-is-what-I’m-thinking the chain of custody, I love food. I’ve always enjoyed grocery shopping and buying, sorting and unpacking the bags of lovely food brought home to enjoy. Smelling, examining, planning, cleaning, storing, and then eagerly awaiting the next cooking time are all part of food to me.

To that end, I want to share a few cookbooks I like to use as resources. Mentioned here are less known books since the well-known ones are, well, well-known. It’s fun to shed light on smaller tidbits of wonderful in the cooking realm.

Since I’m rarely the Follow That Recipe cook unless there’s chemistry involved, the cookbooks provide more of an inspiration station in my kitchen. Enjoy these suggestions, they’re in no particular order. And know we appreciate your suggestions in return.

  1. 10,000 Tastes of Minnesota, Women’s Club, Minneapolis, MN, 1990

For full disclosure, my mom helped with this project. The Woman’s Club solicited, vetted, cooked (3 –5 time each recipe), corrected, and published this book from member contributions. I’ve vivid memories of my mom working on it AND our family trying new recipes, daily, for The Book. While it’s regional, what I love about it is that it’s a reflection of another time and the recipes are solid and tasty.

  1. Allagash, The Cookbook. Allagash Brewing, 2012

cookbooksIt had me at the cover. A deep blue woodcutesque image on the front of the pillowy hard-bound book entices the reader to open the pages and see what’s inside. Gorgeous photography – one of my good book indicators – greets you and sucks you in. Beyond the aesthetics, it’s a book with ideas I haven’t seen elsewhere that I want to try.

  1. The Beervangelists Guide To The Galaxy, Fred Bueltmann.

I’m a Fred fan. First meeting Fred at SAVOR in 2012 at a Salon which I was moderating turned out to be a big boon for me. We’ve become friends and colleagues, even given a Fred & Ginger beer & food pairing session GABF 2013 and share some similar flavor philosophy. This book is a good read too, with Fred’s voice clearly extolling ideas and considerations for our eatings and drinkings.

  1. The Soup Bible, B & N Books, 2002

A go-to book for me, this is terrific to use and adapt to sauces and gravies, cold and hot, thick and thin soups….all varieties. Yum.

It’s hard for me to stop…after one last look at the shelf….

  1. The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook, 2008.

Yes, this may be a big cookbook, all the same it’s a gem in my kitchen. Great instructive photos, explanations, very doable recipes from the simple to the fancy, never stuffy though. Their other smaller cookbooks (Risotto, Chocolate, etc. series) also have earned shelf space.

Cheers to books of cookery, ideas, and mouth-watering images. A lot of work goes into writing one and it’s definitely on my radar to do so as well. Maybe I can mix it up soon….what can I make for you?

Till the next glass ~


Go Here: Seek out bookstores in your neighborhoods, towns, cities and in your travels. They’re a treasure trove of discoveries waiting to be made and bought. Keep in mind, new books are the way authors and writers make money. Used books have their place AND we support the arts with new purchases in harmony with used.

Try This: “Walk The Stacks.” This valuable advice I got years ago from a long time friend. Walking the stacks means going to the local bookseller and simply slowly viewing the choices on display. What catches your eye? Who would be fun to buy a gift for (you or otherwise)? Act on impulse and take home a few goodies that catch your eye and imagination.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

All Articles by Ginger Johnson




What Puts the “Great” In The Great American Beer Festival? by Ginger Johnson

Ginger Johnson with a Wyoming Beer contingent at the Media Luncheon

Ginger Johnson with a Wyoming Beer contingent at the Media Luncheon

If you’ve ever attended the annual Great American Beer Festival, aka GABF, you’ll know it’s one of a kind. As one of the thee biggest ticketed beer events in North America, it’s chock full of beer, people and celebration.

What most guests don’t see is the background year round work that goes into the successful and safe execution of the event. Events take waaaaaay more work than almost everyone realizes. Having been a vendor and presenter in various capacities at dozens (if not hundreds) of fests over the years, I can tell you I put the organizers who do it well and right on a well-deserved pedestal! The cool thing is that those who are really good at it, like Nancy Johnson of the Brewers Association and Chris Crabb, Oregon Brewers Fest, are humble, real and not out to shine the light on themselves. Pints up to them, I say!

Having just returned from my annual pilgrimage to the GABF here’s a bit of info to share and build understanding of what a giant event requires:

Nancy Johnson on stage at the GABF

Nancy Johnson on stage at the GABF


  1. Over 49,000+ festivalgoers attended this year’s event means planning for all contingencies and situations.
  2. The myriad outfits and garb donned by attendees, both guests and volunteers, is a really fun aspect of the event for me. The ubiquitous Beer Tee Shirt is truly everywhere – here’s another article on the tee to enjoy.
  3. Brewers Association Staff, Armies of volunteers in various “squadrons”, ZeroHero & other sustainability crew, guests, vendors, suppliers, Convention center staff, security…it’s incredible to think about how many people put forth efforts to make this event a resounding success.


  1. With over 3500 beers available at the GABF, it’s a huge feat to simply:
  2. Get all the beer to the distributor to legally and properly get it to the festival.
  3. Get the beer then to the right booths (as well as sort it out for judging!).
  4. Make sure kegs are steadily supplied and empties removed throughout the multi-day event.
  5. Beer needs to be kept cold. I’m guessing we’d have another 14’er in the equivalent of ice required to treat the GABF beers with full chilled respect. Kudos to those beer sherpas who bringing beer on and off the fest floor during the event amidst the throngs of flavor lovers.


  1. Denver is Mile High and an easy place to dehydrate. The numerous and clearly marked water stations at the GABF provide the necessary liquid to stay on top of your game. A good rule of fest: drink one glass of water for every glass of beer.
  2. The Colorado Convention Center is big. And next year’s fest is adding – get this – 90,000 more square feet! I’ll have to see it to really understand it….and just know that the dynamism the beer industry is experiencing right now creates unique challenges for the organizers. They’re up for the task, no doubt.

If you’ve attended the GABF before, give us your comments here. If you haven’t, put it on your To-Do list. The GABF and BA as well as the City of Denver and Visit Denver roll out the beer carpet. Come enjoy the tasty hospitality – Cheers!

Till the next glass ~


Go Here: The Great American Beer Festival happens event fall. 2015 dates will be Septembeer 24 – 26, so get it on your calendar now. Wear comfy shoes, bring a refillable water bottle, and a posse of friends to take it all in. be sure to visit the Pro-Am (homebrewing) area to sample more remarkable beer.

Try This: When you are planning your GABF trip, review the program (available online in advance, in person during the event) and take in some of the tasty education offered. The Beer & Food Pavilion hosts engaging speakers, Farm to Table is an exercise in deliciousness pairing beer and food in a separate area (slightly quieter too!), and the Silent Disco is a must-do!

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com



Doggone the Days of Summer by Ginger Johnson

Photo: Ginger Johnson

Photo: Ginger Johnson

What season do you look forward to? Maybe there are a few for you. For me, I greatly anticipate the cooler months of the year. Fall and winter are where I revel in the chilly nights and brisk days, sleeping with the windows still open a peep and snuggling deep into the comforter.

So with the temperatures dropping with season change, do your tastes start migrating away from summery drink and food to more hearty and wintery fare?

As a beer consumer researcher I can tell you that many people do in fact alter their consumption habits. In the beer world, various styles and flavors are somewhat tied to seasons. Many of them developed naturally, literally, from their origins, like Oktoberfest and Winter Warmer. When we crave the shift from crisp delicate Kolsch to a deeper richer Porter, for instance, our primeval desires perk up and speak up.

To that end, I’ll make some go-to pairing suggestions to try as we cool down and head into autumn.

  1. Deep stonefruitesque porters, like the venerable Anchor in San Francisco, with black berry pie should make you happy. These two are better together and you can consider using a bit of the beer in the pie making itself. I also like to use high quality (not too salty) bacon grease in my pie crust to provide an added savory layer of flavor.
  1. Oktoberfest beers, which are in season in September (read the story here), with cured meats, particularly stronger ones like lamb and wild game await. Yum!! The solid backbone of these beers partner very well with the distinct flavors of the victuals.
  1. Beer and cheese is a perpetual go-to for a reason: both cheese and beer change with age. Continue your flavor explorations in these two categories year round. Like you needed permission!!

Enjoy the changing flavors of the seasons. While we may lament a delicious beer that has vanished for the time being, know that one of the best things about beer is that it’s best fresh. Look forward to it the next time around and dive into the next fresh seasonal with relish.

Till the next glass ~


Go Here: Many breweries offer public tours. Do a bit of research online to find out which breweries in your area as well as one you may encounter in your travels provide informational tours. Exercise good manners and always call first – they’re busy folks, making fresh beer for all of us!

Try This: Oktoberfest’s are also really dandy with cheese and chocolate. Visit a local chocolate shop, find the closest cheese monger or well-managed cheese department and stock up!

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

All Articles by Ginger Johnson



Beer and Food: What’s in Store? By Ginger Johnson

Ginger JohnsonThe store in the headline means the restaurants, pubs, and bars you frequent to enjoy beer and food. So what’s in store as far as the offerings of food to accompany the modern day world-class beer?

Below is an article I wrote September of 2010. The thoughts are timeless in so far as beer and food should match quality wise. Businesses, read on:

If you have any kind of taproom, pub, beer garden, restaurant or otherwise serve food, what’s on the food menu?

The assumption is in place that you are passionate about the beer. So when you look at your food choices, do they match the passion of the beer (even if the choice is simply pretzels)? If so – great. If no, what gives?

Why would you encourage sub par food to be eaten with your high quality beer? It’s like cooking in a dirty kitchen with prime ingredients. It’s like brewing in a dirty brewery – the pride and effort you’ve already invested in the front end needs to carry all the way through.

Sam Filler of McQuade Distributors/Bismarck ND

Sam Filler of McQuade Distributors/Bismarck ND

Easy and reasonably priced food can still be tasty and match your beer.

One thing women tell me about why they don’t like (some) pubs is the food selection. In fact there’s one brewpub very close to where I live that I’d like to go spend an evening at – yet their food quite frankly is poorly done, greasy and gut bombish. It’s not even good greasy food.

When given the choice why would anyone who values their beer want to go have gut bomb food? Good fresh fried foods are not what I am talking about here either – ’cause I’m all for that when the grease is fresh and it’s not the only cooking method on the menu.

You’ve paid so much attention to the beer. Pay some heed to the food – and you’ll generate more business from women & men alike.

So you’re a consumer on not in the business side? Same idea, read on:

Your tummy is rumbling and your palate is parched so you walk into a pub…hoping for something delicious and refreshing. Food and drink is on the brain. You sit at the bar and (hopefully) get a menu promptly from the tender.

In examining the menu, you notice one of two scenarios:

  1. The menu is “Oh!” inspiring.
  2. The menu is “oh…” inspiring.
Pork Asada at Falling Sky, Eugene OR - sooooooo delicious with their fresh beer

Pork Asada at Falling Sky, Eugene OR – sooooooo delicious with their fresh beer

Which would you prefer? I’d prefer the “Oh!” Enlightenment of a menu is what you should expect at establishments. No matter if they focus on one dish or 20. Simple tasty selections, beer and food alike are requisite to a successful business.

Ask questions as a patron, be sure that the staff knows you’re interested in what’s available, that you care where your dollars go and you’re eager to try different things.

If you get the “oh.” Sensation, it’s time to remove yourself from the premises. You work hard for your money, yes? Then expect the establishments you support to work for your dollar.

Question, request, and ask. Demand clean glassware (hint: all beers should come to you with a head, it’s an indicator of a clean glass of well poured beer). You wouldn’t want to eat off dirty dishes, right?

Look around, decide whom you support and then do it. The ones who are in earnest, who understand passion + business acumen = success will help the entire community benefit. And your taste buds will thank you.

Til the next glass ~


Go Here: Do a simple online search of “brewpubs” – find a few and go visit one you’ve not yet been to. Look around, sip, taste and enjoy. If you truly enjoy it, make it a point to tell the service staff and management. If you found it lacking, make it a point to diplomatically tell the service staff and management. I highly recommend Falling Sky when you’re in Eugene, OR.

Try This: beer and food are naturals together. Be sure to take a bite of food, chomp a few times, and then sip the beer while you still have food in your mouth. Chew more, move it all about to get the best sensory experience. You’re going to discover new combinations to love. Craftbeer.com has tuns of articles on beer and food.

If you have questions about the beer industry, food pairings, speaking engagements and events, you can find Ginger at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

All Articles by Ginger Johnson



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