BEER BEAUTY: Blogger Marverine Cole (above) with bottles of real ale
BROADCAST JOURNALIST and presenter Marverine Cole is a beer enthusiast known for enlightening others and winning their appreciation for the special brew.
Now the blogger, who runs popular site Beer Beauty, has taken her passion to a new level. She has become the first black woman in Britain to become a beer sommelier, a professional who works in the alcoholic beverage industry specialising in the knowledge of beer.
After two extensive courses, an oral exam and a bout of blind tasting at the Beer Academy, Cole is now a certified expert.
She is able to advise individuals, restaurants and businesses on how best to match beer and food - skills no doubt needed in this festive season of family and celebration.
“I was massively nervous,” admitted Cole, recalling her oral exam. “I do know a lot about beer but being able to consolidate all that in front of an examiner and recall it instantly for that one moment in time was a bit scary.”
Cole, who recently won a Precious Award for her blog, discovered her love of beer while researching a story which examined a growing trend among women to drink alcohol.
“I went out and began tasting beer and looking for people to talk to then I became completely converted by drinking peach ale,” she said. “It tasted incredible. That was it. I was like ‘I’ve got to find more beer with such a beautiful flavour like this.’”
Juggling journalism and running a video production company with her beer passion hasn’t always been easy, she said. But Cole still makes time to enjoy her hobby between hosting and attending beer tasting events for women as well as writing pub reviews.
“I like when new beers or breweries are being launched. What’s exciting for me is that the brewing industry in Britain is innovative. Lots of breweries make beer for all sorts of reasons; someone’s birthday, a wake, I even had beer brewed for my own wedding. Whenever breweries make new beer, I’m there. It’s like an addiction” said the blogger.
Cole is aware that not many women, especially black women, proclaim a love of beer but she remains confident about her vocation when questioned by others.
“People are surprised but then I point to the fact there is evidence in the Middle East of prayers celebrating a goddess of beer called Ninkasi.”
Yet without the historical element, Cole’s championing of her favourite tipples has won women over.
“I’ve converted or introduced beer to at least 500 women in two and a half years,” she said, evidence of the devotion that gained her a sommelier accreditation.
The beer connoisseur, who often holds beer tasting parties, described just what is so beautiful about beer.
“It’s an extraordinary, complex drink. The way it’s brewed you can do so many different things with it from the basic ingredients that are in it.
There are so many different aromas and flavours of beer. Exploring that is an adventure in itself.”