Craft brewing is a male-dominated field. Though you can dig through history to find plenty of examples of women brewers, the craft beer renaissance of the last few decades hasn’t included them in key brewing positions.
A recent Brewers Association survey found that only 7.5% of responding breweries had a woman in the role of brewer; meanwhile, women make up 54% of the service staff.
But there are efforts to get more women into brewing and leadership positions at breweries, along with programs that celebrate the unique contributions women make to the craft beer industry. Take the Pink Boots Society (PBS), a group that works to help women in craft beverages advance their careers through education.
Every year, PBS holds a Collaboration Brew Day on International Women’s Day (March 8), wherein chapters of the group and breweries work together with female employees and interested community members to brew a unique beer using a hop blend featuring Yakima Chief hops. Proceeds from the sales of resulting brews — which vary in styles — is split among PBS chapters and used for educational programming and scholarships for its members.
Now, the brews are ready and we get to taste the beers with plenty of local options to try.
The Boulder PBS chapter worked with LUKI Brewing and 4 Noses Brewing to make Pink Cyclone, a white IPA, featuring the aforementioned hop blend. Hops were added every five minutes to a Belgian wit malt bill, with additional dry hopping added a week later, creating a brew that’s hop-forward with tropical, citrus and herbal notes. The brew will be released on Friday, March 26 at the two breweries and Wild Provisions.
Boulder PBS chapter leads Cammy Smith of LUKI Brewery, Amanda Oberbroeckling of 4 Noses Brewing, as well employees of Someplace Else Brewery and Sanitas Brewing Company participated in the brew day. These experiences showcase the ingenuity of women brewers and provide an opportunity to push brewing boundaries and highlight that creativity.
“One of the greatest lessons I have learned through collaborating with women in PBS is that we can’t be afraid to be our best,” said Oberbroeckling, quality assurance and lab manager at 4 Noses Brewing, in a press release. “For women to be better represented in the brewing industry, we have to show up, work hard, and be an example for other women looking to enter the industry.”
Other local breweries working with the Boulder PBS chapter will be releasing their collaboration brews in the coming weeks, all using the Pink Boots hop blend. Upslope’s got a saison with hibiscus and honey; Left Hand has a sour ale with prickly pear and lemon and lime peel; Odd13 will serve a West Coast-style IPA; and Sanitas is offering the Micki’s Strawberry Blonde.
For more info on PBS, visit pinkbootssociety.org, and make sure you head out to try these unique beers and support women in brewing.