A growing number of female brewers in Colorado and nationwide has shifted the dynamics of the industry. The start of a better gender balance in brewing has brought fresh ideas, fresh flavors and fresh celebrations.
One such celebration was the International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, which took place worldwide on March 8. The annual event celebrated women uniting in the beer industry. Members of the Pink Boots Society (a group that supports women in brewing), along with other participating brewers, gathered across the globe to create a red ale, appropriately named “Unite Red Ale.” And the beer that was created is just about ready to make its release.
It was that mission of Pink Boots Society, along with a passion to collaborate with the community in interesting ways, that inspired FATE Brewing Company in Boulder, among others, to participate in this event.
“This was our first ever participation in a global event of this kind,” says FATE Brewing Company owner Mike Lawinski. “Brewing collectively and collaboratively with one message across the globe — it’s pretty impactful. And we are proud of the supportive and educational tone this event allowed us to set with our community both locally and globally.”
FATE currently employs 38 percent women, which is 4 percent more than the average in Boulder. Employees in the brewery’s sales and marketing department are members of Pink Boots Society, and they hope this event will raise awareness of the organization to other female employees as well as customers.
“Females are an important market for us, and we love women getting interested in the brewing industry,” says Alyssa Lundgren, marketing director at FATE and member of the Pink Boots Society.
Lundgren says the goal for participating in this event was to collaborate in support of women in the industry along with educating consumers and staff about Pink Boots Society and their mission.
The interesting thing about the event is that all participating breweries were asked to create a “Unite Red Ale,” with only a few specifications regarding ingredients, add-ins and styles. In fact, Pink Boots Society encouraged breweries to take “poetic license” in creating their ales, a directive of which FATE took full advantage.
“For this brew, the Pink Boots Society told us to make a red ale with Willamette hops and 4.6 percent ABV,” FATE Head Brewer Jeff Griffith explains. “My twist on the style was an English bitter recipe built around Scottish grains.”
Owner Lawinski says it is Griffith they typically lean on for recipe generation at FATE.
“He creates beer that is both traditional and innovative, which, as it sounds, is a difficult task, but he does it,” Lawinski says.
The brewing on International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day began early in the morning. Griffith and Josh Nard, FATE’s assistant brewer, were joined by members of the Pink Boots Society from across the Front Range. The group fluctuated throughout the day so each step of the brew process was made unique by the mix of men and women with varying degrees of styles and experiences.The result was the ESB — not the Extra Special Bitter, but what the FATE team calls the English Scottish Bitter, due to the recipe involved. The target for the brew was 4.6 ABV and was brewed on their three barrel nano system.
Once the brewing process is complete, the Scottish grains and traditional English bitter recipe are expected to complement the Williamette hops that were suggested by Pink Boots Society. The recipe will stand out amongst FATE’s other offerings and even though the process is yet to be finished, brewers were getting excited about the characteristics evident in the wort on brew day.
“Prior to fermentation the wort was the most beautiful, rich, auburn, wine dark, mahogany hue,” Lundgren says.
They’ll be adding the Unite Red Ale to their already impressive list of brews, such as their Watermelon Kolsch Style Ale and Cascadian Dark Ale.
The estimated release of the special ESB is marked for early April. The anticipation for the beer’s release is mounting at FATE, especially because many people collaborated in the brewing process and because it benefits charity.
“That’s one thing that we especially liked about this event,” says Pink Boots Society member and FATE Brewing Company Director of Sales Hannah Lloyd. “It started the day we brewed, but it doesn’t end there. Serving the brew on draft will allow us to continue to tell the story of the ale and what it represents. It’s pretty cool.”
Beer is released at FATE on Sundays on draft and Mondays at the brewpub. The beer will be available on draft at the brewery, and you can also grab a growler to go.
Proceeds from the beer sales from Unite Red Ale will benefit Pink Boots Society. This international nonprofit organization is helping women working in the beer industry further their careers through scholarships, educational programs and simply through networking and fostering a supportive, collaborative environment amongst members. The funds raised will be used to create more scholarships for members. The current scholarship members can apply for is a Siebel World Brewing Academy Webbased Concise Course in Brewing Technology, which would help enhance knowledge of brewing technology for intermediate-level learners who want to pursue the diploma and master brewer programs.
In addition to proceeds benefiting Pink Boots Society, a portion will also go to a nonprofit of FATE’s choice that will be determined. Pink Boots Society wanted the second charity to be the brewers’ choice to make it more meaningful to local consumers. FATE estimates a donation of over $1,000 for the brew.
The FATE team is working to create a short list of possible charities. From there, they’re going to present the list to gusts to select the recipient of the remaining donation.