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Kris McDowell

Audrey Ragle Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipients

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.

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.


Kris McDowell

Kate Irving Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipients

Cicerone BeerSavvy® Scholarship Recipient Announced

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Kate Irving, owner/brewer/operations manager of Hopkinsville Brewing Company, is the recipient of the Cicerone BeerSavvy® 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 Kate to receive this scholarship because they feel that “as she is already in the thick of running a nano-brewery, she is in great need of this knowledge.”

Kate’s 2.5-bbl nano-brewery in Hopkinsville’s Downtown Renaissance District is a small operation and as such she wears many hats: managing the day-to-day operations of the brewery, planning the production schedule, handling quality control, managing administration, training and payroll as well as devising and implementing the company’s branding and marketing campaigns. Her main career goal is to expand to a 7- to 10-bbl system in the next five years and in order to do so, taproom sales will need to increase. She knows that making sure she and her eight-member staff are knowledgeable about beers will be integral to that. Kate says, “I’ve found that many of our customers want to talk about beer – and although I’m extremely knowledgeable about our own eight beers, I don’t know as much as I should about beer in general. I believe taking this course and passing the exam will improve our overall level of service, and since the majority of our servers are female, I’ll be in a position to encourage and help them achieve their own certifications.”

The Cicerone BeerSavvy® Course is comprehensive self-paced online beer training course designed to enhance knowledge of brewing techniques, beer styles, understanding flavors and off-flavors, food pairings and the language to clearly discuss beer. The course is beneficial for many people who work in the beer industry including those who are educating others about beer.

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

Kris McDowell

Laura Boada Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Recipients


The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Laura Boada, brewer at Zambo Creek in Quito, Ecuador is the recipient of the Fremont Brewing Company Five-Week Apprenticeship in Brewing & Beer Production scholarship.

Chosen by the PBS Scholarship Selection Committee (SSC), five very experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers, they are excited to award Laura with this scholarship that they feel will be “an opportunity of a lifetime” for her and will help to enrich the beer culture and community in South America.

Laura currently works for Zambo Creek, the only microbrewery in Quito where the beer is made by women. She has been there for two years and says, “I do almost everything from the purchase of raw materials, equipment design, brewing, refinement and bottled of the final product. Also I am in charge of sales at fairs and festivals and I am supplier in bars in the city.” The raw materials that are used by most craft brewers in Ecuador are imported and that’s something that Laura is seeking to change by connecting with local farmers. Laura is not only looking forward to learning more about the brewing process during the apprenticeship but also experiencing Fremont’s model, one that has high environmental and social responsibility. She says she “would like to know and implement it in my brewery in Ecuador.”

The Fremont Brewing Company Five-Week Apprenticeship in Brewing & Beer Production will focus on all areas of the brewing industry including: cellar work, the brew house, beer production, lab work, yeast work, QA/QC, sensory analysis, packaging and an overview of sales and marketing. It will culminate on International Women’s Day, March 4, 2017, when the Laura will lead the Big Boots Brew (BBB), an international Pink Boots Society fundraising event, at Fremont Brewing.

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

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