Brewing in pink boots

To celebrate this past International Women’s Day (March 8th), the Pink Boots Society (PBS), a non-profit organization focused on females in the beer industry, held a nationwide brew day for local chapters of the PBS to come together and collaborate on a special one-off beer. Showcasing the skills of female beer industry members and hopefully counteracting the stereotype of the craft brewer as a bearded white guy with varying degrees of hipsterdom. The Central Coast PBS Chapter has fifteen members, ten of which were able to participate in the Pink Boots Society Brew Day. Chapter leader, Sandy Harrison of Valley Brewers and Annie Fredrickson of Figueroa Mountain, worked together to coordinate the brew day where they were joined by Figueroa Mountain’s Creative Director, Kevin Ashford, at their Buellton facility to brew a single 15 BBL batch of this collaborative beer. The resulting Doesn’t Have To Be Pink IPA will be released on Tuesday, April 17th, around the central coast.

By women for women

The Pink Boots Society is a 501(c)3 organization that is dedicated to connecting women in the beer industry. Founded in 2007, the PBS now has more than 1,500 members. These include not just active and retired female brewers but also women in brewing academia and staff working in beer-centric bars and taprooms. PBS goes beyond hosting events and networking, acting as a source of job opportunities as well as providing educational resources and classes designed to make beer more approachable to women. In addition they have scholarships available to PBS members that range from financial support for female students attending a brewing institute to sponsoring members to attend workshops and educational events.

The PBS organization was founded by Teri Fahrendorf who is considered not just a leader for women in the brewing industry but a leader for all members of the industry. Teri turned pro brewer in 1988, making her the third female brewmaster in the craft beer industry, coming in just behind Mellie Pullman in 1986 and Carol Stoudt in 1987. She became the first women Class President at the Siebel Institute of Brewing Technology and over the years she has jumped from brewmaster to working in beer stores and serving as a malt & hops sales rep. This range of experience gives her a vast knowledge of all aspect of the industry. Beyond awards and recognition she was unofficially labeled as one tough brewer after she received third-degree burns on her lower body from a boil over in the brewery in 1989. The accident resulted in her having to receive skin grafts to eleven percent of her body. In 2007 she was traveling as a gypsy brewer and live blogging the experience at www.roadbrewer.com. A gypsy brewer is someone who does not own a brick-and-mortar brewery and rather uses other breweries’ equipment and space to produce their beers. This experience put her in touch with brewers around the nation and it was at this time that she decided to found the PBS as a way of connecting all of the females in the industry.

All in the blend

Pink Boots Society chapters from around the nation all produced their own variation of collaboration beer on Pink Boots Society Brew Day. The unifying feature of these collaboration brews is a special hop blend from Yakima Chief-Hopunion (YCH Hops). At the last Great American Beer Festival in Denver, PBS members met with YCH Hops and sampled their way through the available varietals to come up with a special blend. When the hop dust settled, they selected five different hops. The first two hops in the blend, Simcoe and Citra, most people are familiar with. These varietals have that quintessential American hop aroma featuring grapefruit, orange peel and other citrus aromas with a spicy pine-like accent. Mosaic hops were added and these hops have become incredibly popular over the years. Most beerdoes are familiar with Mosaic’s tropical fruit aromas and earthy tones. Loral hops, a newer varietal introduced in 2016, was also added to the blend and features a more lemon-pepper and dark fruit character with some floral perfume notes. Also added was Palisade hops, which are a little more common and brings a sweeter fruit character reminiscent of apricot and other pit fruits. When the Central Coast PBS chapter heard about the blend it became clear that a bright, west coast-style IPA was the perfect style to frame the hop aromas.

The Central Coast chapter decided to keep the malt character particularly light so that the hop aromas would shine. The resulting beer is 6.0% ABV with only 35 IBUs (the degree of bitterness), making it on the lighter side of the IPA style. Hops were added to the kettle as the mash was running off; a process called “first wort hopping” that is known to add a richer and more complex hop character. The beer was also double dry-hopped so the combination of low bitterness with strong hop flavor should produce a final beer that incredibly flavorful while still being quite drinkable.

The beer will be released on Tuesday, April 17th, and for those who’d like to make a day of it there will be a Jump on the School Bus tour that will be bringing thirsty beerdoes to each location that the IPA is being served at along the coast. Starting at 10 am, the bus will bring guests from the main Figueroa Mountain facility in Buellton to The BackRoom in Solvang. Attached to the Valley Brewers, this cozy bar delivers sixteen taps and a quality bottle list to accompany their extensive homebrew shop. From there, the bus will jump over to the San Luis Obispo location of Libertine Brewing Co. where guests can get a taste of the central coast terroir with their selection of brews made from locally foraged ingredients and wild yeasts. The tour will go next to Figueroa Mountain’s Santa Barbara tasting room with a round at Lama Dog Tap Room before returning back to Buellton. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at Valley Brewers (805-691-9159) or from the Brew Day Coordinator, Annie Frederickson, at annie@figmtnbrew.com. For those who miss the release party, don’t fret! It will also be available at the Buellton and Santa Barbara Figueroa Mountain locations for a limited time.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel, April 4, 2018

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