SOBA’s presence in Hamilton has grown substantially in the last few years. Sadly, due to the fact that I’ve nominally been the guy who organises things, and I’ve not had a lot of time to devote, SOBA in Hamilton have been less than active. That’s all about to change though.
I put out the call for a new and energetic SOBA coordinator for the Waikato region, and Patricia Gleason answered. USA-born Patricia works in the Vet Nursing programme at Wintec, here in Hamilton, but lives in Putaruru, about forty minutes south of the mighty ‘tron. Before training as a vet nurse, she spent over fifteen years working in the wildlife/biodiversity conservation field and has explored the beery offerings around the world while living in such places as the UK, Cameroon, and China.
Growing up in the USA, Patricia came of age just as the microbrewing scene was really firing up in the early 1990s. This clearly had a profound effect on her, as her preferences are for in-your-face hoppy IPAs, but she is quick to point out that there’s nothing wrong with a nice porter or even a wheat beer. Patricia claims to be a beer snob rather than a beer geek, meaning that she is extremely selective with her beer choices, but isn’t the pontificating type – she says she’ll leave that to other SOBA members. I hope she doesn’t mean me!
Occasional protege to her eldest brother who has been a homebrewer for more than 20 years, Patricia finally settled down enough to start brewing her own in 2010 and likes experimenting with different hop varieties. Many a trans-Pacific Skype call with her brother includes beer drinking, musings on latest batches, orders for “rare” NZ hop shipments to the States, and discussions of how to establish a bi-national brewery partnership.
Unlike what most men seem to experience as the norm, her partner/”Quality Control Officer” fully supports her hobby and is currently financing and building her a new brewing set-up.
Patricia lives on a dairy farm in Putaruru (how very Waikato), so in her spare time she is slowly working to encourage the sale of craft beer throughout the South Waikato so she can go out for a pint locally.
Among Patricia’s duties will be co-ordinating member meetups, distributing SOBA’s “Pursuit of Hoppiness” newsletter, liaising with bars and brewers on behalf of SOBA Waikato, and generally being the first point of contact for all things Beer in Hamilton and the Greater Waikato. She denies that she has demanded, in the North Korean tradition, to be referred to as “Beer Leader”.
Someone buy that lady a pint!