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Apr
11
Kris McDowell

Cat Wiest Scholarship Recipient

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UC Davis Intensive Brewing Science Scholarship Recipient Announced

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Cat Wiest of Seabright Brewery is the recipient of the University of California, Davis Extension Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they chose Cat to receive this scholarship because although she has no formal training she is a “hands-on brewer, hard worker and a quick learner” that they feel will embrace the UC Davis course and use the knowledge to take her brewing to a new level.

Cat began her professional brewing career in 2012 in what she describes as a “happy accident.” She says, “My career started in a large production brewery. No one cared if I had an education or not – we were desperately understaffed, and I was able to work hard enough for two people (I was hired for my background in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry).” After a year and a half at Pyramid Brewing she moved on to Speakeasy Ales and Lagers where she spent two years before joining Seabright Brewing last spring. From cellar operations to third shift brewhouse operator and now to head brewer, Cat has steadily worked her way up the brewing ranks.

Cat has many goals and is making “pretty good beers and customers review them favorably. I want to make great beers. I want to make consistently great beers. I want to create award winning beers.” While education isn’t the only way to get there, that’s what is next in her sights. “Brewing is science and I want to be dragged through the beer science coals. I want to go through the Davis program.”

University of California, Davis Extension Intensive Brewing Science for Practical Brewing course is a five day on-site course that offers an intensive introduction to the sciences of brewing, engineering and brewing practice. Attendees will learn the technological and biochemical aspects of the entire brewing process from world renowned instructors Drs. Charles Bamforth and Michael Lewis. Topics of the interactive lecture sessions cover all aspects of brewing from raw materials to fermentation to quality control and sensory evaluation.

In addition to attending the course, Cat will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Apr
4
Anne Sprecher

Big Boots Brew 2017 Stories from Around the World

Women In Beer
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By Amy Newell-Large

Wow, wow, and wow! I have had the pleasure of reaching out to quite a few women who participated Big Boots Brew (BBB) Day 2017, a fundraiser that exemplifies the spirit of Pink Boots Society. The feedback has been inspiring. Many women traveled a fair distance; for some it was their first time assisting with a brew. BBB2017 helped launched the Pink Boots Chapter in Hong Kong!  Overall, BBB2017 brought together women with diverse roles in the industry to celebrate our shared passion and community while brewing their own take on one style, Historical/Ancient Strong Ale. In anticipation of the upcoming release parties, it is my pleasure to share with you some of the comments that highlight the importance of this collective experience.

Avery Brewing

BBB is always scheduled in conjunction with International Women’s Day. Martha from Wibby Brewing wrote, “I thought it was a really special day to do it on! Women in our industry (or any industry for that matter) should be celebrated, no matter what their position is. It was really great to bond with everyone, learn more about brewing, and have a great time doing it.”

The sense of strength in community shone through in many of the correspondences I read.  “I must say that brewing with a group of welcoming women is so refreshing! I am the only woman brewing where I work, so the Big Boots Brew day brings much needed zusammengehörigkeitsgefühl! This means a ‘sense of belonging and feeling of togetherness’ in German…I love being in the brewhouse, but I rarely have the chance to hear the perspectives of women working in marketing, public relations, labs, sales, or as suppliers. There are so many aspects of our industry that I want to learn about!” – Jen Jordan, Anchor Brewing

“Big Boots Brew was a fabulous day that drew nearly two dozen women from all over Montana to our little brewery in Philipsburg. It was a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day- we were productive, collaborative, had fun, and learned new things! With Montana being such a large state geographically, it’s difficult to get the PBS members together so we were thrilled that women made the time and effort to spend the day brewing with us.” – Maddy Mason, Philipsburg Brewing

From Ashley Brooks first participated in BBB2015, “It was great to come together with other local women in the industry with more experience than myself. At the time, and I had a lot to learn.” In 2017, she hosted BBB2017 and enthusiastically organized the group in British Columbia. “I wanted to be a part of bringing everyone together to work, talk, and learn with each other, meet more women coming into the industry and form some strong bonds… I was inspired to teach and pass on my knowledge in the brewery as the women had done in my previous years.”

BBB2017 at Rare Barrel

There is an important educational element to Big Boots Brew day, as everyone noted. BBB creates an opportunity to work side by side with women in many areas of our industry. It also provides the opportunity to share many types of knowledge. The Rare Barrel in California focuses on fermentation, aging, and blending. The staff there constantly collaborates and engages in dialogue around projects. Danielle was able to bring women into that world through BBB. “Our staff is very involved in collaborating with each other to create new blends or sour beers in a somewhat democratic process. We are able to voice opinions and pose questions throughout the process and learn from the beer as well as each other. I wanted to share this process with our PBS chapter, have an open dialogue about sour beer production, and create an educational and participatory experience. During the blending day we were all able to taste sample base beer blends and and note differences of yeast and bacteria expressions in each sample. We also got to trial new ingredients with tinctures and worked together in small groups to come up with potential blends. At the end, the entire group of participants came to a consensus on the final collaborative blend. Each person had a hand in the collaborative beer and experience.”

Hong Kong PBS BBB2017

In Hong Kong, Marisa used the opportunity of BBB2017 to launch the Pink Boots Chapter and establish a community of learning and friendship. “We thought this would be a great way to get the women of beer in Hong Kong together for a fun afternoon of brewing and teach them the benefits of membership with PBS. This was the first time that only women in the beer industry in Hong Kong had been together.” The brewery that Marisa operates with her husband, Back to School Brewing, offers a craft beer educational workshop. She used that as the platform for the brew day and got everyone excited about brewing together. “We are fortunate to have a few female brewers in Hong Kong; BBB2017 provided an occasion for them to get back to the basics of brewing on a smaller scale. We had about 13 women and everyone was involved in the brew in some way — from milling, sparging, hop additions, etc. This was the first time brewing for a handful of women who work on the distribution or bar side. Overall, it was an awesome afternoon of connecting, supporting, and brewing together.” By establishing Pink Boots in Hong Kong Marisa is hopeful about the enthusiasm it will bring to the craft beer industry. “The craft beer scene in Hong Kong is still in its infancy, but growing, so it is an exciting time. That being said, many people in Hong Kong still view beer as a male thing, so we are hoping to empower and educate the men and women of Hong Kong.”

Ashley, in Vermont is also hopeful that Big Boots Brew Day and Pink Boots will help bring awareness to women in the industry, “ The first time you go into a brewery it can be a little intimidating, but women love beer too so they should brew! … And if this fundraiser can raise awareness to give other women opportunity in this growing field, all the better!”

Big Boots Brew day allows us to set aside time to purposefully bond with other women in our field. This special occasion continues impact all those who participate. “Bringing women together for a day can really inspire you, and give you new ideas and perspectives. Not only do you get to know these rad women professionally, but also on a much more personal level. A lot of these women will be friends and mentors for life,” wrote Erica DeAnda of Freewheel Brewing Company. “These women really inspire me to keep pursuing brewing and never let anything hold us down.”

Cheers to everyone who participated in BBB2017. It truly has been a wonderful and empowering experience, and I will eagerly await next year’s brew! In the meantime, don’t forget to try some of the awesome brews made this year. I know I will. With so many PBS chapters participating in BBB2017, there will be lots of release parties starting in April. Visit the PBS website calendar page to learn when and where they’re happening: https://www.pinkbootssociety.org/.

Author Amy Newell-Large

Amy Newell-Large is currently the Hospitality Manager at Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, CO. A Washington State native, She grew up in a home brewing family where IPAs reigned supreme. She has learned to be a jack-of-all trades in the beer industry, from bar tending to brewing, events and education. Amy received a PBS cultural immersion scholarship for the Germany Study Tour. She will be speaking on Tap Room Management at the upcoming PBS 10th Anniversary Conference.

Mar
13
Kris McDowell

Audrey Ragle Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipients
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Oregon State University Beer Quality & Analysis Scholarship Recipient Announced

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Audrey Ragle of Carton Brewing Company in New Jersey is the recipient of the Oregon State University Beer Quality & Analysis course scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they chose Audrey to receive this scholarship as they feel she “is motivated to further her career through education” and “has a lot of ambition, dedication and commitment.”

Audrey’s path to brewing began while pursuing her geology/environmental degree where she was introduced to home brewing by some of the graduate students in her department. The brewing bug quickly took hold, leading to her purchasing her own home brewing kit after graduation and shortly thereafter upgrading her equipment to do all-grain brewing. That experience helped her to land her first job in the industry, with Carton Brewing as a part-time tour guide and bartender. From the beginning they intended that she would be in charge of the brewery’s future QC/QA program because of her science background. A year later she was promoted to Tasting Room Manager, a full-time position, followed by a transition to the production floor in early 2016 and then on to the position of Brewing Scientist in the spring of 2016.

In her current role Audrey says, “I now juggle the responsibilities of being a full-time production team member and single-handedly being in charge of the quality program.” Her motivation to grow “involves a lot of reading, learning, networking, and, when the opportunity arises, attending a course or workshop.” She has been on Oregon State’s mailing list for some time and has longingly looked at courses so when this scholarship came up she was eager to apply knowing that the education would benefit both her and her brewery’s lab.

OSU’s Beer Quality and Analysis Series teaches the fundamentals of basic beer analysis and microbiological techniques and their roles in the brewing process based on the official ASBC Methods of Analysis used in QA/QC labs worldwide, providing attendees the knowledge and tools to analyze and evaluate beer to influence quality control in a production brewing setting.

In addition to attending the course, Audrey will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Mar
6
Anne Sprecher

It Was Cold But Oh So Worth It

Women In Beer
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Normally in January I’m working in my brew house at Seabright Brewery in Santa Cruz, California and not visiting cold cities across the country. This year was an exception as my mom and I decided to participate in the Women’s March on Washington. That event served as the starting point for my journey. 

As a brewer and general beer enthusiast, any type of trip I take morphs into a beer drinking and brewery tour odyssey. Over the course of ten days I found myself in breweries and beer bars in Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Chicago (D.C. was a just a tad crowded to go hunting for a pub). I met so many wonderful people (and a couple crummy ones). We talked about beer, yeast, hockey, and what it was like visiting the nation’s capital for the very first time during one of the largest demonstrations in history. It was a very American experience for this California native.

Baltimore: Fascinating! So Many Tasty Brews

I have been through Maryland by way of the Appalachian Trail, but I had never been to Baltimore. What a fascinating city! It is both beautiful and gritty with so much history, and so many great places to drink. We first stopped at the Pratt Street Alehouse which offers plenty of English style ales. There I met an old roommate who is now a homebrewer. Like other locals, he suggested The Brewers Art for their well-crafted and impressive beer selection. I loved the speakeasy feel of their below the street entrance. Since my roommate and I hadn’t seen each other in a decade I remember the conversation better than the beers we shared.

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The following day my mom and I ventured over to Heavy Seas Brewing, one of the first craft breweries in Baltimore. Here I was introduced to the very popular Loose Cannon IPA but the real gem is Siren Noire, an imperial chocolate stout aged in bourbon barrels. It has the viscosity of dirty diesel fuel, and that’s just how I like it. My mom will drink a couple of 4oz tasters and call it a day. As we bonded over our brews I noticed that she leans heavily toward dry and bitter red ales. Of the many bars we visited in historic Fells Point, I must give a shout out to The Wharf Rat and their bartender AJ. He hooked me up with a killer flight (I let him pick the beers after outing myself as an IPA loving Californian).  The winner had to be Yards Brewing Company Poor Richards Tavern Spruce.  I’ve been working on a spruce ale, and hope that it can come close to the quality of this particular beer. After a fun few days getting to know Baltimore through its craft beers my mom flew home and I headed to Milwaukee. Baltimore – you have not seen the last of me.

Milwaukee: A City of Surprises & Friendly Beer Folks

I try to visit Milwaukee every year. The city is beautiful and clean, the people are friendly (I don’t get California hate like I do in some other cities), there is cheese and more cheese, and it’s the birthplace of beer in America. I love Milwaukee! This trip the first brewery I visited was new to the city – MobCraft. I loved their Ode to Sahti juniper berry ale (like I said, I’m working on something similar myself), but their unique business model perplexed me. Instead of deciding to make beers they like and they expect their customers will like, MobCraft crowd sources its recipes. The public nominates a recipe idea online; the recipe with the most votes gets brewed. As a professional brewer who prides herself on her ability to design crowd pleasing recipes, I have trouble being enthusiastic about this practice. From a homebrewer’s standpoint – this is killer! Your recipe brewed by a professional brewer and purchased by MobCraft’s customers – it’s like seeing your name in lights! By producing an amateur brewer’s innovative recipe MobCraft benefits by gaining a whole new crew of fans, all the people who voted for the recipe and their friends. Apparently the model works for them. The bar was busy.

Pocky the Pony

I work on a small brewpub system at my brewery so I had to visit D14. The guys there were friendly. We had good conversations about yeast and logistics in tiny spaces on small systems. They gave me some helpful tips for serving off a keg through my 75 foot draught system while working on the tank.

On this trip I finally made it to Milwaukee Brewing Company. Their production manager, Kurt, gave me a tour and we had a few beers together. I like checking out things like draught line manifolds and steam generators because…I just like those things. MKE Brewing makes their own biodiesel, which they use to run one of their steam generators. That type of innovation is laudable. They have an awful lot going on in their space, another thing I really appreciate. Standout beers were the Hop Happy, and the very discreetly boozy Grand Madame barley wine (aged in sherry barrels). Milwaukee has so many new breweries I didn’t have time to visit my regular stops, but there’s always next year.

I must give additional Milwaukee shout outs to Wanda at Uber Tap Room (who serves me every time I come into town), and Bailey at Ale Asylum, who was not only friendly and knowledgeable but she stashed the beers I had collected throughout the day so I could get through security and watch an Admirals game. Thanks ladies!

Chicago: Cold City, Cool People

Because I’m a weenie about flying I wanted a direct flight back to the Bay area. Best option, hopping on Amtrak to check out The Windy City for a couple days! This is the way to go, and I will visit Chicago every time I visit Milwaukee from now on. Chicago is home to Revolution Brewing, which is home to Will Turner, who was the head brewer at MY brewery “back in the day”. So of course I went to visit. He gave me a tour of the gorgeous pub, brewhouse, and cellar. I delivered some of Seabright’s Blur IPA and Oatmeal Stout, just in case he missed them. Revolution’s most popular beer is the Anti-Hero IPA, but my favorite was Deth’s Tar, a barrel aged Imperial Russian Stout. Typical for January, Chicago was only 20F degrees and snowing; unreasonably cold for California coastal me. Maybe that’s why I kept leaning to the dark and heavy beers.

Will pointed me toward Haymarket Brewing, and I am so glad because not only did I love their beers but the staff was delightful. They helped me out with printing my impulse buy Blackhawks ticket, put me on their free shuttle to and from the game, and had a fabulously rich The Sun Comes Up Tomorrow coffee IPA for me to enjoy (repeatedly). I even made some new friends at their bar. For my nightcap I chose Indignant Bourbon Imperial Stout and I slept like a baby.

Not gonna lie, I had a bit of a hangover when I woke up in my hostel the next day. I spent the morning exploring the Riverwalk, downtown, and strolling around the shore of Lake Michigan where my beach dwelling body went completely numb in the frigid wind. I went on the giant Ferris wheel at Navy Pier because the bubble was heated – even though I have a fear of Ferris wheels. That afternoon I flew back to San Francisco then drove to Santa Cruz, where a nice breeze and a warm sky greeted me. It’s hard for me to take time away from my brew house, and it is stressful to return and play catch up. But it is so worth it. Not only did I participate with my mom in a powerful demonstration of unity in our nation’s capital, but I met old friends, I made new friends, I expanded my professional network, and I had some killer and inspiring beers. I’ve also added to my list of places I think are great and need to revisit. Should you find yourself in my town, and I hope you do, please come by and say hello!

Cheers beers!

Cat Wiest is the head brewer at Seabright Brewery in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA. Before joining the brewing industry she was a baker, a commercial fisherman, and a bouncer. She started brewing professionally in 2012 following a bout of desperate unemployment during which she received her quarterly Bitch magazine containing an article titled “We’re Here, We’re Beer, Get Used To It”. She found inspiration in learning that women were the original brewers, priestesses of the fermented beverage. Inspired, Cat started making her own beer! Just a few months later she was hired as a shift brewer at a large production brewery, and has been brewing ever since. Her favorite recipes to write are for hoppy red ales. She loves drinking thick viscous stouts, high and dry IPA’s, floral pales, and face puckering sours. In her occasional free time, she is a beach bum, a triathlete, and a hockey fan.