Brewers Behind Denver's Pussy Riot Beer Gather Strength, Support for Future Tappings

These brewers, some representing Factotum, 3 Freaks and Black Sky, are angry.
These brewers, some representing Factotum, 3 Freaks and Black Sky, are angry.
Jonathan Shikes

In the three weeks since Donald Trump became president, the United States has seen protests by millions of people in dozens of cities who disagree with his policies and views — and many more protests have been scheduled for the future.

In Denver, part of that protest took the shape of beer. In late December and early January, five Colorado breweries — Goldspot, Black Sky, 3 Freaks, Lady Justice and Brewability Lab — joined forces with women from at least a dozen other breweries to create five versions of Makin' Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer, an imperial saison that was then tapped at five locations on January 20, Inauguration Day.

“We are coming out in support of those most at risk in our community and doing what we can to stand together as a united voice against hate and intolerance,” the brewers’ mission statement reads.

“This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality…. We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status. We condemn the hate that has always existed against marginalized groups, and we will not stand for the new strong wave hitting our country.”

Black Sky is brewing a second batch of Makin' Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer.
Black Sky is brewing a second batch of Makin' Noise: A Pussy Riot Beer.
Jonathan Shikes

The breweries, as well as several bars that got kegs of the beer, donated money from its sale to charities including Planned Parenthood, One Colorado, Conservation Colorado and the ACLU.

The events were a success: Three of the breweries had lines out the doors or standing-room-only space for their tappings, and most sold out of their beer or came close to running dry. More important, the effort raised more than $4,300 (including a few private donations) for at least seven different charities, and organizers Bess Dougherty and Kelissa Hieber are still counting.

“It’s not small change. I’m feeling pretty good about it,” says Dougherty, a longtime Denver brewer. “I still haven’t fully processed just how big a day everyone had because of this.”

3 Freaks head brewer Jess Anderson helps out at Black Sky last week.
3 Freaks head brewer Jess Anderson helps out at Black Sky last week.
Jonathan Shikes

Now the brewers behind Makin' Noise are planning at least three more tapping events, with five to seven breweries participating each time: April 22, July 19 and October 19. And they have plenty of support. So far, Renegade Brewing, Factotum Brewhouse, Grandma’s House, Baere Brewing, Spangalang and Caution Brewing have signed on; several other breweries have tentatively said yes. Woods Boss, a brewery in the planning stages, will also join in if it opens in time for the October tapping.

“The first one started as a female collaboration, but we're ditching that going forward. Any brewery that wants to help can participate," Dougherty explains.

The five original beers will also be tapped at Collaboration Fest, which takes place March 25 at the National Western Complex; Makin' Noise will have its own table there. Because Black Sky sold out of its beer so fast, a number of the brewers and their friends gathered at the brewery last weekend to make a second, much larger batch to serve at the festival.

“When I was younger, Planned Parenthood was a huge part of my health care, and growing into my twenties and thirties, it was still something I used,” says Black Sky co-owner Lila Mackey, explaining why the brewery is donating a portion of its proceeds to the charity, which Republicans want to stop funding under the Trump administration. “So having the opportunity to give something back to them was something I wanted to do." The response to Black Sky’s involvement has been "overwhelmingly positive,” Mackey adds. “It was inspiring.”

Brewers Behind Denver's Pussy Riot Beer Gather Strength, Support for Future Tappings
Makin Noise

To help keep track of the events, Makin' Noise now has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages and is building a website. The brewers are also selling T-shirts through the end of this week. (Get one by e-mailing makinnoisebeer@gmail.com.)

The T-shirts will benefit the Voice Project at the request of Nadya Tolokonnikova, one of the founders of the original Pussy Riot, who contacted Dougherty last month to support the beer. The Voice Project is a nonprofit that supports freedom of expression, activism and imprisoned artists.

Pussy Riot is a Russian punk band and political-activist performance group that has recently gained new fans in the United States.

Use Current Location

Related Locations

miles
Black Sky Brewery

490 Santa Fe Dr.
Denver, CO 80204

720-708-5816

www.blackskybrewing.com

miles
National Western Complex

4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216

303-297-1166

www.nationalwestern.com


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