Beer Man

Lady brewers will gather for Colorado's first all-female collaboration beer

Brewers love to get together and collaborate on news beers, to talk about equipment and ingredients, to come up with new recipes and, of course, to drink a few. And although these collaborations can often result in new forms of deliciousness, they are also a way for the guys to get together and shoot the shit.

Or, in this case, the girls.

At least seven female brewers from around the state will convene next week at the Wynkoop Brewing Company to cook up what is probably Colorado's first all-female collaborative effort. The beer they're making, a Belgian pale ale, will go on tap in Denver, Fort Collins and Boulder during Colorado Craft Beer Week in March.

See also: - The newest batch of young guns in Colorado's brewing industry wear pink boots - Wynkoop Brewing hires Bess Dougherty as its first female brewer in 24 years - Golden City's Sarah Henderson may be the only female head brewer in Colorado

The brew day is being organized by Bess Dougherty of the Wynkoop and includes Natalie Lesko of Funkwerks in Fort Collins, Sydney Skilken from Denver's TRVE Brewing, Linsey Cornish of Odell in Fort Collins, Reva Golden from Twisted Pine in Boulder, Ashleigh Carter of Prost Brewing in Denver and Melissa Antone and Sara Ferber from Avery Brewing in Boulder. (We profiled five of these ladies last December, in "The newest batch of young guns in Colorado's brewing industry wear pink boots.")

"A lady collaboration is something I have been talking with [Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown] about doing since before I was even hired," says Dougherty, who became the Wynkoop's first full-time female brewer last June.

"I had heard about it happening in other states through the Pink Boots Society, and it just seemed like a cool idea for Colorado, being the beer state we are.... For me doing a lady collaboration is a way to just bring more attention to ladies in the industry.... Hopefully we can inspire some more people, female or male, to get into brewing either professionally or even on a home-brew level."

The twenty-barrel batch of beer, which will be brewed on Monday, hasn't been named yet, but it will include three kinds of malts and citrusy, tropical hops varieties to complement the Belgian yeast -- a recipe that was created over a few beers last week.

Dougherty says she hopes this will become a yearly tradition.

"Most of us had met at some point in the past at festivals and other such events, but for most of us, this is the first time really spending time with each other," she says. "I think the fact that in addition to being rad brewers and lab techs working together, we happen to be showing off some of the young females making names for themselves in the industry. One thing I am really excited about is to actually get to brew with other professionals who happen to be female. That chance doesn't come along that often."

The timing of the brew came about in part because of plans for a new and improved Colorado Craft Beer Week, March 18-25. The fest, which was created two years ago by Scott and Jason Kerkmans, was taken over this year by the nonprofit Colorado Brewers Guild, which just announced an event lineup and a revised strategy for the week.

"We think this beer is just a swell little showcase for Colorado Craft Beer Week based on how many breweries are contributing," Dougherty says.

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes