There's a wonder woman you might want to meet, preferably over a glass of her beer.
When Stoudt's Brewery debuted its family handcrafted beers in 1987, it was the only microbrewery in all of Pennsylvania. The day its doors opened, owner Carol Stoudt, a former teacher, was the only female brewmaster in the United States. In fact, she was the country's first post-Prohibition female brewmaster.

Interning for a year at a microbrewery in Louisiana, Carol developed a passion for running a beer business and began formulating the recipes that would make the beer world take notice of her. Upon returning home, however, the rookie brewmaster faced skepticism and "immediate resistance from [her] Pennsylvania patrons."

But the educator in her kicked in and Carol began teaching about aromatic hops, pure water and her No. 34 Bavarian yeast strain, which gives Stoudt's beers their distinctly German quality. It all worked. Today, the family brewery handcrafts more than 10 different award-winning beers.

Several Stoudt selections are available in Cleveland, but my personal favorite is the bottle-conditioned Double IPA. It pours an amber color with bright orange character. The head is nice and tight, and holds its shape remarkably well. The hops throw off a good bit of citrus aromas, including grapefruit and orange peel, as well as a slight peach character. It's Stoudt's biggest beer, with an alcohol content reaching beyond 10 percent and bitterness that measures more than 75 International Bitterness Units (IBU). As Stoudt notes, "Multiple kettle hop additions and generous dry hopping contribute to the powerful yet smooth and fragrant hop character of this beer."

-Tim Mills, Heinen's beer and wine consultant

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