Beers With(out) Beards, our week of events celebrating women in the craft beer industry, returns to Brooklyn, NY for the second year in a row! Some breweries are returning, but we wanted to invite some new faces. Yakima Chief Hops is joining as a title sponsor of the Beers With(out) Beards festival and we have exciting educational classes led by Origin Malt and Lallemand, respectively. Hollie Stephenson, Head Brewer at Guinness Open Gate Brewery and Imbibe’s 2019 Beer Person of the Year, will also be joining us at our Women’s Networking Bottle Share at Threes Franklin + Kent in Greenpoint.

We’re also very excited to have our friends at Fort Point Beer Co. join us at the Beers With(out) Beards festival and at the Breaking BEERiers Dinner at Ivan Ramen. The beer and ramen dinner gives attendees the chance to chat with industry veterans about how they broke through stereotypes and gender barriers in our industry. Dina Dobkin, Creative Director at Fort Point Beer Co., will be one of the panelists leading our conversation. Plus, there will be plenty of delicious ramen and beer.

We decided to chat with Dobkin and Amelia Manderscheid, Fort Point’s Brand & Partnerships Manager, ahead of the Beers With(out) Beards festivities. They shared some travel hacks, their favorite food and beer pairings, and a few songs to add to a killer playlist.

John Paradiso: How’d you get your start in the beer industry?

Dina Dobkin: It hasn’t been a straight path, but somehow it all makes sense! I grew up in a Belorussian family and every gathering was centered around the table, where toasts were not just frequent but mandatory (at least for the adults). As I grew up, I became deeply interested in food and drink, and especially their power to bring people together. My professional career started out in architecture, first as a model-maker and later as an architectural designer. I loved being hands-on, working with real material things and the idea that I was making something special for other people, something for them to “experience.”

Beer has a draw for me in much the same way–it brings people together, allows you to be a host, and sometimes even enhances the everyday. I started working in the industry as a designer focused on stewarding Fort Point’s visual brand and packaging, but today it’s so much more. Design is about asking questions, anticipating needs, and helping people find out-of-the-box solutions to problems far beyond how something looks. My hope is that we’re building a beer company where design is applied to everyday thinking.

JP: What’s your favorite beer and food pairing?

Amelia Manderscheid: Stillwater Extra Dry and spicy miso ramen.

DD: I pretty much have a Pavlovian response to raw fish, where I instantly crave a small glass of Orion alongside any and all sushi. Another classic has become a nice toasty dark beer and pizza–I’m personally partial to our smoked altbier Manzanita alongside a slice of pepperoni. I had that combo unintentionally, and it flooded me with memories of childhood pizza parties where we were all guzzling classic coke and chomping on greasy slices. This was just as good, but a little more…adult.

Also, there is a pretty awesome Sichuan place in San Francisco with a specific focus on Belgian beer. They’ve got me addicted to a Sichuan Fish and Chili dish served with Foret Saison–it really cuts through the bold flavors, but is still soft and refreshing enough to really complement the food.

JP: What’s an absurd thing that you love?

AM: Negotiating with customer service reps to resolve complaints, returns, or issues. The secret key to success is to be very patient and kill them with kindness.

JP: Do you have any travel hacks?

AM: I will save places of interest to one saved Google map and download it so that it’ll will work regardless of cell service. Getting lost in a foreign place can lead to some amazing unplanned-for experiences, but can also lead to stressful situations.

DD: The ultimate way for me to relax is to have no plans, no set itinerary, and space for spontaneity. If I’m traveling to a new city, I will do some preliminary research and find all the restaurants, bars, breweries, museums, and buildings I might be interested in seeing. Then I’ll put them all on a map. Once I’m in the city, I’ll check the map to see where the pins are most dense and choose that as the area to wander around in. After that, the map is not important; it’s just time to explore. That said, I think everyone already knows the ultimate travel hack: have (or make) an awesome local friend to show you around.

JP: What is your favorite beer to drink now?

DD: I’m recently getting back into some classics and can’t get enough of Ayinger Celebrator. Based on my responses above, it seems that I might be a nostalgic person, and, once again, this beer just reminds me of my favorite super dense Russian rye bread. It’s savory, satisfying, and so balanced–definitely not too sweet. I know it’s summer, but I still feel like a doppelbock.

JP: Are you reading anything interesting?

AM: Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art by Mary Gabriel. Each section of the book focuses on a different artist and it really does answer the question of how America became the center for innovation in the arts. It’s such a massive book I can’t take it anywhere (for better or worse I only read printed books), but hopefully, I can finish it by the end of the summer.

DD: When our brewer Mike talks about beer, it’s always about a mood or an experience that inspired a flavor or recipe. I love thinking about a beverage that way–sensory and transformation, a sort of synesthesia. I’ve been reading more about the senses in general, and recently stumbled onto an article in The New Yorker archive (“The Taste Makers” by Raffi Khatchadourian) all about the somewhat secret world of natural and artificial flavor development. Beer doesn’t exactly fall into that category, but in a way aren’t brewers always manipulating just a few ingredients to trick your palate into tasting something that’s not really there?

JP: Describe your ideal taproom.

AM: Nice glassware and service with a smile. I want to go where everybody knows my name.

JP: Give us a few songs to add to an all-star bottle share playlist.

AM: “Little Red Corvette,” Prince
“Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl),” Looking Glass
“Ever Again,” Robyn

DD: Start your playlist with “Playground Love” by Air. It’s the dreamiest song–it really envelopes you. It’s kind of perfect for a quiet moment with a beer at the beginning of the night. It lets you get into it. Somewhere towards the middle try “All Bad Ends All” by The Books. You’ve had a couple of beers, this is a pretty good one to start tapping along to, clanking along to; if you’ve had more than a few, you might want to move around a little. Towards the end of the night play “Juice” by Lizzo. I recently proclaimed to hate all pop music, then I heard Lizzo. This is right for when the party is getting started, the juice has been drunk, and you are ready to fully be yourself and move around–a lot.

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