hello.

Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Here’s a little about me:

-Writer/educator: short-form essayist, contributing writer for edible Reno-Tahoe and CraftBeer.com, and occasional beer educator at Truckee Meadows Community College

-Fermentation Nerd: I am a Certified Cicerone® and a Recognized BJCP Beer Judge (collecting experience points to get to Certified!). I like to put edible things in jars with bugs and see what happens.

-Marketing/managing director for a financial insurance agency (Yetworth)

-Board Secretary of Pink Boots Society Reno-Tahoe

Below is a portfolio of some of my recently published pieces.

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writing portfolio

Emma Schmitz Certified Cicerone by Jen Schmidt Photo resized

Photo: Jen Schmidt

Improving Your Descriptive Ability

“Language is an incomplete tool providing a limited choice of words,” Morten Meilgaard, the guy who wrote the “book” on Beer Flavor Terminology, admits in an essay in Evaluating Beer (Brewers Publications).

However mediocre language is when it comes to representing what we actually experience, it’s our job as judges to do our best to relay what we’re tasting in concise, relatable terms. We can accomplish this by learning ways to strengthen our vocabulary. The more measly words we know and the more we practice, the better judges we can become. [Read more at BJCP.org]

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TGW dirt candy

The Localization of Beer Marches On

“The adventure offered by following the guidance of medicine men and women, ancient homebrewers, and our farming ancestors—all the while taking divergent paths to find surprising new flavors—is the intoxicating heart of why we make beer.” — Scratch Brewing Company, The Homebrewer’s Almanac

Nearly 10 years ago, Scratch Brewing Company set out to make beer with ingredients from the land in a way that modern American craft brewing hadn’t seen much of before: locally sourced not as a limited offering, but as principle. [Read more at CraftBeer.com]

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Alibi-Ale-Works-Cold-IPA

Is Cold IPA Really a New Beer Style (and Does that Even Matter)?

As if the countless American IPA iterations were not enough to satiate a hophead’s palate, a new one—dubbed Cold IPA—lingers bitterly on the horizon. And no, Reddit, it’s not just a marketing ploy.

“Clunky” doesn’t readily come to mind as a beer descriptor, but that ungainly word may be the reason the world has yet another IPA in its clutches. [Read more at CraftBeer.com]

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cicerone_2418

Photo: Jen Schmidt

Beer Professional: Why I Became a Certified Cicerone

I’m the kind of person who wakes up before dawn for a long day of sticking my nose into small, plastic cups in a warehouse full of Nevada homebrewers. In other words, I’m passionate about beer.

My journey began with the bright bouquet of my hometown’s Lagunitas IPA. I went nuts for hops, and within a few years I found myself attempting to home brew various shoddy versions of hoppy ales to satiate my hankering. Then, one day, I realized I was missing out on styles to which my palate wasn’t attuned. I affiliated lagers with drinking games and thought dark beer probably tasted like motor oil. I was barely skimming the surface of the beer world. [Read more at edible Reno-Tahoe magazine]

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old-trestle-distillery4464Whiskey aging at Old Trestle Distillery

Spirited Beginnings: Alchemy connects Truckee’s railroad history to a roaring future.

Old Trestle Distillery began as a solution to a problem — one that a group of Truckee friends recognized back in 2012: The world’s best whiskey had yet to be created.

So the group, affiliated with Truckee Craft Ventures alongside Drunken Monkey Sushi and FiftyFifty Brewing Co., set off to build Truckee’s first new distillery in more than 100 years, “bringing the science and art of distilling back to the Sierra Nevada” [Read more at edible Reno-Tahoe magazine]

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tiny journal iii

Lung Turns to Stone [Short Creative Nonfiction]

“I drink green tea on the rocks in my yellow kitchen. My mom likes the cobalt blue vinyl flooring which has raised lumps colored like varied stones. Reminds her of the coast, the sea, a breeze, breathing.” [Read the whole piece in the tiny journal issue iii]

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web-Beer-Releases-The-Good-Wolf-Brewing8032-1Photo courtesy of The Good Wolf Brewing

Happy Brew Year: Stand-out beer styles from local brewers

As the seasons change, so does a brewery’s tap list. From limited-release, bourbon-barrel-aged monsters to flagship, delicately hopped lagers, here are some special beers to look out for at local craft breweries this winter. [Read more at edible Reno-Tahoe magazine]

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Sorghum-beer-unr-farm01Photo: Candice Vivien, edible Reno Tahoe

Will Work for Gluten-Free Beer

Bread, cereal, spaghetti, snack bars. What do these food items have in common? Grain, which typically constitutes a nightmare for gluten-sensitive eaters. Thankfully, modern food scientists have discovered many gluten-free substitutes that commonly have a base of sorghum, a naturally gluten-free variety of grain from the grass family. And while parts of the world such as Asia have a long history of using sorghum for spirits, American brewers are just getting started with this consumer-friendly base for making 100 percent gluten-free beer. [Read more at edible Reno-Tahoe magazine]

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Courtesy Mountain Bounty FarmPhoto courtesy of Moonshine Ink

Gateway Gardens: Pandemic gardening, farm boxes, and food equity

Victory gardens during wartime weren’t just for supplementing rations; governments also encouraged populations to grow food to boost morale. Now, “pandemic gardening” addresses both concepts, too, during a different kind of global crisis. And with Community Supported Agriculture farm box patronage at an all-time high, it’s no secret that the general public is thinking deeper about where their food comes from.

As one of the designated essential businesses in California, nurseries became a (physically distant) social haven for locals sheltering in place: “Nurseries are a great place for people to have access to in trying times,” said Nancy Collins, manager of Tahoe Tree Company in Tahoe City, especially when you get to see “old friends and acquaintances at a safe distance.” Collins observed a huge spike in interest in growing food, noting extra time at home and uncertainty within the food supply chain as reasons. [Read more at Moonshine Ink]

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Bently Heritage Estate DistilleryPhoto courtesy of Bently Heritage Estate

Spirit World: Craft distilleries deliver a true grain-to-glass experience

While the state of Nevada is full of spirit, distilling alcohol only became legal in 2013 with the opening of Las Vegas Distillery. Since our last coverage of the state’s four other first-ever legal distilleries in 2015, the Lake Tahoe/Great Basin region has more than doubled its craft liquor production facilities.

Standing out through innovation, creativity, and process proves essential to making a name for oneself in the area’s growing distilling community. However, one thing is universal: Each distiller puts their blood, sweat, and tears into their cuts of heads, hearts, and tails. [Read more at Moonshine Ink]

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Drinking a hoppy beer at Truckee PhilosophyPhoto by Jill Sanford

Getting Crafty: Going the extra mile to serve-up specialty beers

Tahoe is known for mountain landscapes, outdoor recreation, world-class ski resorts, and — craft beer? As liquids are wont to do, beer has been steadily seeping its way into this bustling mountain town thanks to passionate people taking on the challenge of providing craft beer to a thirsty audience. (Plus, local crafters at FiftyFifty gained clout at the last Great American Beer Festival.)

Since beer and the outdoors go hand-in-hand, you’d think everyone would stock the best independent beers around — but it’s not that easy. Moonshine Ink consulted with a handful of North Tahoe craft beer retailers and one regional distributor about how and why they get fresh, quality, certified independent beer to their people. [Read more at Moonshine Ink]

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Beer Tasting Event Oktoberfest Beer & Food Pairing Event.png