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Kris McDowell

American Society of Brewing Chemists 2019 Meeting Scholarship Recipients Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the American Society of Brewing Chemist 2019 Meeting scholarship. Each was chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Amanda Oberbroeckling of Odd13 Brewing in Lafayette, CO is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship by the committee due to her strong essay, in which expressed her goals of connecting with others in the brewing industry to help grow their programs and growing within her own company.

Three years ago Amanda accepted the Lab Technician position where she was charged her with creating and running the quality control lab. Since then she has added running the brewery’s sensory program to her responsibilities. She says, “Our brewery prides itself on having a very large, very robust quality program and lab for our production size, and it has become my goal to be a leader and an example for smaller breweries, to show them that knowledge, techniques, equipment, and mentorship are possible, regardless of their size.” To that end she has spent considerable time visiting and speaking with other brewery labs across the country and has found, “there is a growing need for further education for brewing quality control and lab employees, and while the group of individuals in this sector of the industry is rather small, it is beginning to grow at a rapid pace as smaller breweries put increasingly more emphasis on their quality control programs.”

The ASBC conference is something that had been on Amanda’s radar since she began building Odd13’s lab. She says, “My goal in attending the ASBC conference is to learn about the progress being made in the most relevant research projects throughout the industry, and to contribute my own experiences and ideas with others in the industry. As the only lab employee in our brewery, our quality control program has become both my job and my passion project, and I hope to continue to grow in my career by becoming the lab manager. Participating in the ASBC conference would allow me to take the next step in my career by allowing me the opportunity to bring new information and ideas to my brewery’s ownership, and to network with others who are in the same position that I am, to gain friends and mentors that can help me on my career path.”

Erika Anderson of Beer & Wine Hobby in Woburn is the Boston Chapter recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due in part to the letter of recommendation from the owner of Beer & Wine Hobby. In the 18 months she has worked there he has been impressed by her personal growth as well as her ability to put her knowledge to work advising their clients, to the extent that she has even begun creating a following of her own.

When Erika joined Beer & Wine Hobby she was in the process of earning her Business of Craft Beer Certificate from the University of Vermont. Between that formal education and educating herself with homebrewing books she has solidified herself as a homebrewer with a solid grasp on the basics but wants to continue to push herself to learn more. She says, “Attending more seminars, classes, and craft beer focused events will help me to gain more hands on knowledge.”

Erika looks forward to sharing the knowledge she gains with her customers and empowering her female customers in particular. She is actively working to bring more women into homebrewing and has recently decided to teach a women-only homebrew class to give women a safe space to feel comfortable and confident in learning a stereotypical “mens hobby.” She says, “The more I think about the homebrew culture the more I feel that it’s lacking. I’d like to change that and be the inspiration. I want women to know that they can brew beer too, whether at home or in a commercial space. We have to support each other if we’re to ever make a difference.”

The American Society of Brewing Chemist 2019 Meeting is a two and a half day conference filled with engaging discussions, interactive technical workshops and cutting-edge research presentations from speakers within and outside of the industry sharing their perspective on challenges and opportunities for the brewing community. From yeast genetics to hop aroma and technical barrel aging, this year’s ASBC Meeting program is filled to the brim with outstanding topics and great speakers. The keynote hop genetics presentation will be “Big Shoes to Fill” by hop researcher Peter Darby of Wye College, Kent. UK. Workshops include: Discussion of Barrel-age Practices and Stability in Package, Methods of Analysis Dive-in, From Bytes to BeeR: Leveraging the Statistical Programming Language R in Brewing Data Science, Hop Selection: An Imperfect Science, Understanding Biotransformation and the Impact on Flavor/Aroma of Beer and Unveiling the Magic and Mystery behind Malting and Brewing with Novel and Alternative Grains.

Kris McDowell

White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 Scholarship Recipients Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the 2019 White Labs Yeast Essentials 2.0 scholarship, each chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Amanda Mikolay of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis, MO is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship by the committee because, “of all the applicants, she might have the MOST to learn from this course, which in this case is a good thing. Other applicants might simply refine their knowledge, but we predict she would grow by leaps and bounds with this education and continue to confidently pursue new opportunities.”

Amanda’s start in the world of beer was as a bartender in 2013, moving to her current employer in 2015 where she had a “hobby” of setting up blind taste tests with her co-workers. Although she had no formal brewing or lab education when a sensory internship opened up she applied and perhaps due in part to the QA/QC director noticing her “hobby,” she was offered the position. That began a year of learning during which she created a sensory program and afterward she moved into the full time role of Sensory Coordinator. A year later she has been promoted to Lab Specialist and is in charge of daily cellar reports, collecting samples and performing comprehensive tests.

The advancements Amanda has made so far have been due to her hard work, self study and an enthusiasm for sensory and lab techniques however she has been lacking formal training. When she saw this scholarship she applied knowing that, “The fundamentals of microbiological techniques would help immensely as I do not have an extensive background in microbiology. Any additional information regarding the analytical aspects of fermentation would excel my proficiency within the quality assurance lab. I would personally like to see myself get better with yeast propagation and development.”

In addition to furthering her own career she is excited about being able to share what she learns with her local chapter. She says, “Out of all of my talents, talking seems to be the strongest. I have given several off-flavor classes for various local breweries as well as a few informative lectures detailing my position as a women in a male dominated field. I believe that sharing is truly the best way we can help each other succeed.

Lauren Hickey of Lookout Farm Brewing & Cider Co. in Natick is the Boston Chapter recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due to her “extensive laboratory experience and scientific background that will allow her to take full advantage of this opportunity in what is a new industry to her.”

Just last fall Lauren left the pharmaceutical industry after, “growing increasingly frustrated and jaded with the cut-throat, ultra-corporate culture.” Before she even qualified to be a member of the Pink Boots Society she connected with the Boston chapter who was able to assist her in landing her first job in the industry this January with a part-time QA/QC position at Lookout Farm.

While Lauren’s B.S. in Biology, thesis work and years of QC microbiology lab experience have given her proficiency with microbial culturing and testing techniques, she says, “I have limited experience with the techniques and theory specific to yeast and brewing.” Gaining hands-on knowledge in that area, an area that up to this point she has only read about, through this scholarship would build upon what she has learned so far at Lookout Farm. She will also be able to directly apply what she learns to her QA/QC role and hopefully further her career in brewing quality and yeast management.

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.

Kris McDowell

Road to Cicerone® Courses Educational Series Scholarship Recipients Announced

Scholarship Recipients
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The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce the two recipients of the 2019 Road to Cicerone® Courses Educational Series scholarship. Each was chosen by a selection committee of experienced women beer professionals who hold positions as brewers, educators and writers.

Cherokee Robbins of Alvarium Beer Co. in New Britain, CT is the national recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship by the committee because, “she depicts great knowledge already about craft beer and displays a yearning for more, aspiring to use this scholarship in order to advance her career. The foundation is there and she definitely sounds ready to move forward with an industry recognized qualification.”

Cherokee’s passion for craft beer started six years ago when she transitioned from the restaurant industry to working as a bartender. One of the first things that struck her was, “the intricacies when it comes to hand-producing craft beer.” Inspired by what she was learning she made time outside of her job to educate herself on various brands and styles so she could hold well-informed conversations with patrons. Her drive and interest was recognized by management and she was promoted to beer bar manager where she not only sought out different styles and rare beers to add to their line up but made it a point to educate the waitstaff and bartenders about the products.

Last October she continued her path into the brewing industry by taking a Sales Representative position with Alvarium where she is a brand ambassador and seller of their products to consumers and retailers. She is looking forward to gaining, “a better comprehension and thorough background about the brewing business itself, in addition to the assembly of these products we create for our consumers” from the content of the courses and further sharing what she has learned with the Connecticut chapter.  

Emma Arnold of Lamplighter Brewing Co. in Cambridge is the Boston Chapter recipient and was selected to receive this scholarship due in part to the fact that “she had already been studying for the Cicerone® exam and has formed a study group at her brewery to help further education for others” as well as her participation with the chapter despite being a new member.

Emma is the Director of Marketing at Lamplighter Brewing, about which she says, “I am surrounded by talented women working in a range of positions: taproom staff, production staff, sales, and management. I was encouraged by my supervisor to join Pink Boots in October 2018, and since then have been an active member.” That supportive environment has facilitated the formation of a study group for Emma and five co-workers to collaborate, share resources and stay focused as they each prepare for the Certified Cicerone® exam this fall.

Before taking the position at Lamplighter Emma, who previously worked in the green building industry, had limited knowledge of the brewing industry. She started adding to it when she took a part-time bar back job, further expanded it when she moved into a full time bartender position and is eager to continue learning, particularly when it comes to brewing process, ingredients, beer styles and history. About her current role she says she, “guides production planning, writes beer descriptions and tasting notes, and leads on content creation for social media and product promotion. The Cicerone® syllabus is a great framework for me to continue to self-educate. As I move into higher-level marketing and brand guidance, I aim to challenge myself to be even more of a beer expert. Continued study and research is integral to this goal.”

The Road to Cicerone® Courses Educational Series is a new scholarship offering for the Pink Boots Society and includes a suite of study books and exams. The coursebooks will enhance the student’s knowledge of brewing techniques, raw ingredients, how to properly keep and store beer, beer styles of specific regions, and the language to clearly discuss beer. Each self-paced coursebook should take 12 hours to complete and includes a specialist exam to validate the knowledge learned, assisting the student on her journey to Master Cicerone®. The specialist exam will enhance Certified Beer Server credentials by earning a course pin when the student passes or may be used to take unlimited times to quiz oneself for the Certified Cicerone®, Advanced Cicerone®, or Master Cicerone® exams.

Cat Wiest

I Am For A Beer

Women In Beer

Scholarship recipient Nicki Werner gave a Pay It Forward presentation to the folks in attendance at our meeting during the Craft Brewers Conference last month. Through a series of photos, stories, and anecdotes, we enjoyed her experiences second hand. She shared a poem she had written on the bus during the tour, “In Germany I saw so many amazing examples of the different ways beer can be a power for good… and spending time getting to know some pretty awesome peers in the industry energized me to write this”. The former art professor gives a nod to sculptor Claes Oldenburg’s 1961 piece, “I am for an art”.

“I am for a beer.

I am for a beer that tastes good, smells good, and IS good

I am for a beer that leaves rings on the table, lace on the glass, that is just one more and then we’ll go

I am for fruity, hoppy, roasty, smelly, barnyard, creamy, smooth, bitter, tart, drinking my dessert, and having cake too.

I am for my favorite glass, a perfect pour, the best seat at the bar, a couple cans in my backpack.

I am for a beer that bikes more and drives less. I am for solar powered, wind powered, zero waste beer. I am for a beer that grows farms and fields where there weren’t any before.

I am for a beer that pays a living wage, that acknowledge power structures, and that throws away all the bootstraps.

I am for a beer that doesn’t leave poor people behind, that never crosses the picket line.

I am for a beer that dismantles patriarchy, that abolishes ICE, that makes bathroom signs inclusive. I am for a beer that says Black Lives Matter and does something about it. I am for a beer that is gay and non-conforming. I am for a beer that says no to harassment under any circumstances.

I am for a beer that is decolonialist, that has hard conversations about appropriation and sovereignty. That uses the knowledge of our ancestors with respect and, also, criticality.

I am for the DIY, the homebrew, the collab, the zoigl, the csa.

I am for a beer that is employee-owned, community owned, farmer owned, family owned, and friendly owned. I am for a beer that is chosen family. I am for a beer that has each other’s backs.

I am for a beer that rebuilds, withstands, and adapts.

I am for a beer that acknowledges and wields its power thoughtfully. I am for Lady Justice Brewing, for Black Star Line Brewing, and for everyone else being entrepreneurs and radical at the same damn time.

I am for the train beer, the plane beer, the shower beer, the dinner table beer, the breakfast beer, the calibration beer, the “is this a work meeting?” beer, the “today was a good day” beer

For beer-thirty, for drank in my cup, for it all started with a beer, for drink and my 2 step, for the deck beer, the beach beer, the summit beer, for the thunderstruck beer, the Stammtisch, the shiftie table, the “I love this bar” beer.

I am for a beer that is better. That is the Best!

I am for a beer that uplifts, empowers, and enables the people who need it the most.

I am for… beer! Cheers!

Nicki Werner
Brewer, Left Hand Brewing Company
Instagram: nickiwernerartz