A bit about me
I’m Aften Lee, AKA The Beerista, a Certified Cicerone®, craft beer educator, and event manager that calls Venice Beach, CA home. My passion for craft beer and professional background has quickly made me an expert in the industry for events, education, and marketing. I have worked in the craft beer industry for 4 years, having the privilege to work for some great breweries, including Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in event and marketing management roles. In addition to my experience in the craft beer world I have over 8 years of experience planning, executing, and hosting events and training classes and over 3 years of experience in the hospitality industry.
I truly loves teaching and introducing people to craft beer in a fun and interactive manner. From casual tasting parties to beer dinners to event sponsorships, you can count on me to create an educational, exciting, and well planned event. While I have a broad range of beer knowledge from proper serving practices to event marketing, food and beer is my favorite subject to talk about. I love showing the world that beer is just as sophisticated as wine and often makes a better companion to a meal.
In addition to beer, I am passionate about all things culinary, traveling, music, the outdoors, and my family, which include two very quirky mutts.
How did I get into Beer?
Well, I’m not quite sure where and when my love for great beer developed, but I’m glad it happened. Looking back, it’s always been a part of my life. I grew up in central Florida steps from the beach, so beer was a staple for weekends spent on the beach (which were most weekends). The beer back then was usually Corona in a can, or dare I admit, Natural Light. I didn’t know any better, nor was I over the age of 21. I went to college at the University of Florida, which had more then it’s fair share of water in a can beer, but also had a fantastic selection of craft beers to be found at bars and liquor stores. I fell into a good, beer loving crowd while at UF and was introduced to homebrewing. I was taught how all-grain homebrew and have been doing it that way ever since (My first brew session took almost 12 hours and we forgot to prime the beer during bottling). Over the years in college, I officially became a beer geek.
I visited my first brewery on a post-graduation trip to Europe. I got an intimate tour of De Halve Maan (the half-moon) brewery in Bruges, Belgium and it was love at first sight. I loved the smells, the equipment, and the culture surrounding the brewery, which I highly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in Bruges.
After I got a few years of work under my belt, I decided to pack up all my stuff, sell my homebrew equipment (which was tough, but there is only so much stuff you can fit in a Corolla), and drive across the county to Los Angeles, where I live and work today. I made the trip in 5 days and visited a brewery at every stop I made. It was a wonderful trip.