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Dec
4
Cat Wiest

Living and Brewing in South America

Women In Beer
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My name is Megan Garrity, also known here in Lima as Greenga. It’s been almost 11 years since I got on a plane and traveled to Lima, Peru.  What had begun as a three week work trip turned into more than a decade of adventures! My coined nickname eventually grew into a new way of life as a Business Owner, Gypsy Brewer, BJCP Judge, Pink Booter, VP of the Peruvian Craft Beer Union, and who knows what next!  I’m excited to share my story, Craft Beer in Peru, and some of the amazing experiences and people I have met in my travels all over Latin America, representing Peruvian craft beer and as a BJCP Judge.

When I arrived in 2008 there were no craft breweries or craft options. In 2010 I came across my first experience with a Peruvian craft beer, an Inti Golden from Sierra Andina.  Yes, something that wasn’t an industrial Lager! Soon after I had an American Amber from Barbarian. With that, a light bulb clicked on. These guys were able to brew here, and that meant I could too!  I started googling and found a home brew class to get a refresher and access to materials. I could finally brew a beer I wanted to drink! When I started out I had not planned on taking the leap to becoming a professional brewer, but Greenga Brewing was officially launched in May of 2016.

Making the decision to go professional was scary.  Without easy access to further brewing education, I started to volunteer to brew with my friends in the industry.  I worked at a craft beer bar, and listened to consumers., I took BJCP to learn more about off flavors, their causes, and how to prevent them.  On the business side, we ran into problem after problem. Our original name was rejected, an investor fell through, and suppliers didn’t have a consistent supply of raw materials.  But my nickname Greenga fit perfectly, thus Greenga was born. Barbarian offered their brewery for gypsy brewing. As for sourcing consistent ingredients – I’ve flown from the US with several suitcases full of hops over the years!  Brewing in Latin America forces you to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions since we don’t have easy access to raw materials. I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It’s fun to be a part of this movement where we are basically responsible for forming the craft beer scene while making sure it grows.

Craft beer in Peru is brand new; we like to say “esta en pañales” (it’s in diapers).  The difference from 2010 when I had my first craft until today, the end of 2018, is exciting to see.  We are in a huge growth spurt! Our craft customer four years ago would request one of two things, the lightest beer most similar to a Pilsen (local industrial lager), or the one with the highest ABV.  All the professional brewers and homebrewers have worked hard to educate our customers, bars, restaurants, and even bloggers so they better understand what they are drinking. Craft beer can now be found all over the country (not just in metropolitan centers), and we are becoming an important part of the gastronomy that Peru is well known for.  Today you can find 40+ professional breweries producing more than 1000lt monthly, 100+ members in the Homebrew Club, and more than 100 bars and restaurants that solely sell craft beer. We have been able to start brewing outside the standard of Blonde/Pale Ale, Red Ale, and IPA. We get to do some fun things and our customers are excited and receptive (although we may still be a few years away from them accepting sour beers)!  The market has grown enough that we just held our 3rd Peru competition with 240 entries!

My main goal when I studied to be a BJCP Judge was to improve as a brewer, I had no idea how much the world would open up!  I met brewers from all over the world, one in particular from the U.S. who asked me if I was in the Pink Boots Society. Since I don’t live in the US, I didn’t know who/what Pink Boots was or represented.  As soon at that first competition was over I immediately read everything about Pink Boots and signed up as a member. It was inspiring to find this community, and I wanted to bring this feeling to the amazing women I know here in Peru as well as across Latin America.  In 2018 PBS-Peru was launched and we have some very talented members. It’s impossible to list all their amazing skills and accomplishments but it’s safe to say women are a driving force in the growth of Craft in Peru.

In traveling as a judge, I have met and become great friends with incredible and talented women from all over.  I was able to brew with “Ceva das Minas”, the women’s brew group from Porto Allegre in November. The presence and support for women in the brew industry in Brazil is inspiring.  I also met and brewed with the founding members of Las Birreras, from Argentina, who have most recently brewed a collaboration beer with the proceeds going to end violence against women.  In July we held our 2nd women’s collaboration in Quito, Ecuador, and as a result the Brewsters EC was formed.  There are also the incredible women in Costa Rica who consistently collaborate and brew together.   We have a lot to offer, and from what I have seen the presence of women in beer will only continue to grow here.

Peru has presented me with the opportunity to enter into the brewing industry in a way I would have never experienced anywhere else.  I am excited to see where our industry will grow from here as well as the rest of Latin America. It hasn’t been the easiest path; living in another country, in another culture, and in general being away from everything familiar.  I wouldn’t change anything, and I’m looking forward to the future!

Megan is the founder and head brewer of Greenga Brewing (est 2016) located in Lima, peru.  She has travelled as a certified bjcp judge to the most prestigious beer competions in Latin America  She is the VP of the Union Cerveceros Artesanales Peru and has lead the effort to establish a Pink Boots Peru chapter, bringing together the top female Brewers in the nation.  Finally, she serves as the representative of the Communcation for Bloque Cervecero Latino America.

Nov
8
Kris McDowell

PSU Business of Craft Brewing Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Meg Evans of Rock Bottom Brewery in Pittsburgh, PA is the recipient of the Portland State University Online Business of Craft Brewing Certificate scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they selected Meg due to her well-written essay in which she communicated the areas she is currently lacking knowledge in, how the coursework will fill those gaps and what that knowledge will mean to her as she works toward her future goals.

Meg has spent the last eight years working her way up from cellarman at Southern Tier to her current position as head brewer at Rock Bottom, gaining experience in a wide variety of brewery operations. However she says, “One thing – and it’s a big thing – that I haven’t been exposed to, is the business aspect of our industry.” Being in the early stages of opening her own brewery she knows that in order to be successful she will need to add a thorough understanding of accounting, HR and more that this course will provide. Her and her partner intend to open a neighborhood brewery, saying that among other things, “Owning a brewery will only open greater opportunities for me to be a better asset for other women in my community.”

The Online Business of Craft Brewing Certificate focuses on the commerce skills needed to create a viable basic startup business plan to make a brewery efficient and profitable. Students will be introduced to the various players and processes that go into producing and selling craft beverages, from growing grains and hops, to malting, brewing, distribution and retail environments. The courses in this four-course certificate cover different strategies, the associated costs of creating a craft beer and business models, culminating in an investor-ready business plan to present to potential backers, the craft beverage startup community and other potential business partners.

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

Oct
21
Anne Sprecher

The 2019 Hops Blend is Here!

Membership Meeting, News
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Time to get stoked! At the 2018 GABF fall members meeting hops rub everyone participated in creating the hops blend for the 2019 Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day. Membership voted on their favorite; now the experts at Yakima Chief Hops are creating and packaging this exclusive blend. Just like last year, Yakima Chief Hops will donate $3 from every pound sold to Pink Boots Society. Don’t delay! Order your hops by December 3rd. Hooray for great partners!

Cheers to Natasha Peiskar, Head Brewer at Last Best Brewing & Distilling in Calgary, Canada, who, with the help of Barbara McDonald (Dean & Co. Brewing, La Junta, Colorado) and Sam Olson (Fourpenny House, La Mesa, California), created the winning blend. This year it will be:

  • 3 parts Loral
  • 2 parts Glacier
  • 1 part Mosaic
  • 1 part Simcoe
  • 1 part Sabro

Aroma notes: Stone Fruit, Tropical, Dank, allowing you to go a lot of different directions with your style choice.

Want to participate in the 2019 Collaboration Brew Day? All the information you need can be found on the Pink Boots website.

Read On to Learn How Natasha Created the Winning Blend!

Pink Boots Society: Natasha, for those who weren’t at the hops rub, what transpired?

Natasha Peiskar: In the beginning,  everyone individually assessed the hop plugs provided by YCH. Each person in attendance had 5 coins with which to vote for the individual hops that they liked. I am not entirely sure, but we assessed at least 15 varietals.

From there we were invited to start creating blends with the top 6 voted hop varietals: Glacier, Cashmere, Mosaic, Loral, Sabro and Simcoe. Those who participated in blending put forth their creation for final voting in which each member was given one coin to vote in the final blend.

PB: You created the blend with the help of Barbara and Sam. Were you paired up, did you know each other?

NP: Actually the pairing up just happened naturally. As everyone was going through the hops assessment, conversations broke out and fast friendships were formed. I’m definitely thankful for Barb and Sam’s feedback in order to create the final blend we put forth for voting.

We started out with the individual hop plugs and I was looking for varieties with great stone fruit (apricot, peach), tropical (pineapple, passionfruit), bright citrus and then a little dank to balance it all out; secondarily, I was really interested in the new varieties that were on the table and wanted to work those in. Once the varieties were voted in I got to working on a blend. My first 2 blends were tossers, just a real hot mess of too much going on.

Instead of the blend being bright and balanced the aromas were dull and muddled. Nothing really shone through, it just seemed like the varietals were competing against each other instead of being complementary. Just as I got to one I thought I liked, Sam noted that she got green pepper (and then that’s all I could smell). This is where Barb was really helpful. She and I worked to tweak that last blend by upping the Loral and Glacier and decreasing the Mosaic to get to our final blend.

PB: Did you have a beer style in mind for this blend?

NP: As far as a beer style goes, that wasn’t something I was really targeting. I was looking for a very versatile blend that would work well in a hoppy blonde, but still hold its own in a DDH style or even a dry hopped sour.

About Natasha Peiskar:

Natasha is the Head Brewer at Last Best Brewing & Distilling in Calgary, Canada. She previously worked at Tool Shed Brewing and Bomber Brewing. Prior to brewing she was the Brand Manager for National Beer Hall (as part of Concorde Group) in Alberta, managing the beer lists for four (4) restaurants (60-72 taps/location), beer education, events, brand and general PR. She also spent a year as the Alberta rep for Copper & Theory, representing brands including Upright, Ninkasi, Gigantic, and Breakside.

Natasha achieved her Advanced Cicerone status in 2018. She is only the 8th person in Canada to do so. (Congrats, Natasha!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oct
13
Kris McDowell

White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 Scholarship Recipient Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Johanna Foege of Perennial Artisan Ales is the recipient of the 2018 White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 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 Johanna to receive this scholarship feeling that “her background in science would allow her to soak up the knowledge from the course, filling in the few gaps left in her QC and Yeast Management training to solidify her status as expert and practiced professional.”

Johanna is the Total Quality Manager at Perennial Artisan Ales, where in the course of a year she has single-handedly designed, implemented and is running their quality control program – a valuable achievement for her. She says, “As a smaller brewery, we don’t have a ton of resources available for training and development, so I’ve largely had to seek my own experiences and teach myself how to create and run a successful quality control program. This course aligns perfectly with my next addition to our program, which will include setting up and operating an internal yeast propagation and management program this fall.”

The White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 is a two-day workshop at the White Labs Asheville facility that will cover details on setting up a lab and quality control programs along with general lab techniques to improve brewing operations. It will explore fermentation control points, how to maintain optimal yeast performance and develop desired flavor compounds, off-flavor detection, sensory of different yeast strains and troubleshooting problem fermentations.

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