More than 200 women gathered at some half-dozen breweries around Colorado Thursday to brew beer in honor of International Women's Day and the fifth annual International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day. Most of the participants work for breweries or beer-related companies and are members of the Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit group that assists women in the beer industry with education, encouragement, networking and scholarships.
The largest gathering took place at Blue Moon Brewing in Denver's River North Arts District, where about eighty Pink Boots members from 35 different breweries, some from as far away as Durango and Gunnison, joined brewer Emilie Stewart, who took the lead on brewing a twenty-barrel batch of Pineapple IPA. Stewart has worked for Blue Moon for nearly two years, and for more than eight years for its parent company, MillerCoors.
This was the first time that Blue Moon has hosted the event, and Stewart says the company was very supportive. "Everyone at every level has been accommodating," she points out. And while there is sometimes animosity between the big beer companies and smaller craft brewers in Colorado, Stewart says most of the women who participated realize that the issue of empowering women is more important than that.
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Each year, members of Pink Boots choose a different hops blend that female brewers all over the country use for their collaboration beers on Collaboration Brew Day. This time around, the group partnered with YCH Hops, which put together a blend of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral hops.
Once the beer is ready sometime in April, kegs will be distributed to a variety of bars and breweries; 100 percent of the proceeds of the beers sales will then be donated to Pink Boots, which will use the money to provide scholarships for women looking to further their brewing education through classes, schools and seminars. If all of the kegs are distributed and everyone donates the money back, the project could raise $30,000.
Other Pink Boots/Collaboration Brew Day events took place Thursday at Goldspot Brewing, which made a dry-hopped passion fruit wheat beer; Grimm Brothers Brewhouse in Loveland, where head brewer Laura Pilato led a team brewing an American pale ale; Great Storm Brewing in Colorado Springs, which made a session Rye IPA with guava and pineapple; Wibby Brewing in Longmont, where thirty women brewed a wheat pale lager; and Odell Brewing in Fort Collins, where the women made a dry-hopped gose and named it Ruth Bader Gose, because it’s “slightly salty, sometimes sweet and always on point.”
Look for all of these beers to be tapped sometime in April.