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Anne Sprecher
Cold Stuffed with Hops: Beer Stories from Germany
Women In Beer
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By Lauren Lerch

This post originally appeared in craftybeergirls.com, a blog to which Lauren contributes. This is one of several insightful posts Lauren wrote based on her Beer, Brats and Beyond scholarship travels.

Miltenberg, GermanyMiltenberg, Germany

My recent trip to Germany with the Pink Boots Society has blessed me with a plethora of information about which to write a seemingly endless stream of Bavarian-influenced blog posts. As I’ve been writing about the adventures of Zoigl, the breathtaking beauty of The Hops of Hallertau, and the delectable Bamberger Zwiebel, dozens of memories have been popping into my head. In a fit of reminiscence, I’ve recounted some of my most fond moments. May you find them just as silly and memorable as I did.

Cold Stuffed with Hops

“Cold Stuffed With Hops” – Urban Chestnut – Wolnzach, Germany

It was a promising, sunny morning in Wolnzach when our small coach rolled into the parking lot of our first stop of the day. Many of us were just waking up from our coach naps as we unhurriedly stepped and stretched our way out into the morning air. Goats and chickens greeted us through a nearby fence. Actually, they wanted nothing to do with us, but we loved them just the same, and for no reason other than their cuteness.

We had arrived early, or maybe our tour guide was late, but whatever the mixture of circumstances, we had time to relax and soak in some vitamin D over Zwickelbier in the biergarten. From my observation, part of the German rite is drinking beer at any time of day and nobody judges you for it. We took full advantage that AM as we reflected on the previous day’s happenings, the pronunciation of “Willi Becher” glassware, and life in general.

Zwickel Bier

Somewhere between the near end of my first beer and the ponderings of my second, we were ushered into the brewery to begin our tour of Urban Chestnut. After hearing their origin story and wandering the brewery and cellar, we were given the opportunity to taste a few beers. Our tour guide, Simon, was kind enough to speak English for us during the tour. But sometimes phrases get a bit lost in the translation. When describing the way hops were added to a particular beer, Simon said it was, “cold stuffed with hops”. It only took a bit of imagination to realize he was talking about the process of dry hopping – adding hops to beer that has already begun fermenting. We shared a good laugh, and I don’t think any of us will ever think of the process the same again!

Hotel & Brewer Sign


The Unexpected Caricature – Zum Riesen – Miltenberg, Germany

Tour-mate Katie, tour guide Tom, and I were the first to arrive at our meeting place in Miltenberg, Germany. The rest of the group was en-route to the small town straight out of a Disney fairytale, and would arrive one by one or in smaller groups throughout the day. The three of us dragged our suitcases from the train station to the hotel, their weight intensified by the burden of jetlag. We got checked in, made comments about the strangeness of the bed linens and toilet buttons, and then were off to explore the town.

Katie and I found lunch and our first beers of the ten day trip at Kalt-Loch Bräustüble. One half liter turned into two, and then talk of finding a third elsewhere made me thankful I had worked on my tolerance before leaving home. We climbed up the hill to a castle, attempted to find an elusive biergarten along the Main River, and eventually ended up at Zum Riesen. We found an empty wooden table and chatted over kellerbier, noting the time we were supposed to return to the hotel to meet the rest of the group. It wasn’t long before the neighboring table of elderly men began questioning us, and asking if we were “sheep”. The town had a few large herds of foreign people being shepherded around by tour guides with microphones. The laughter that ensued was amplified by the fact that we not only got their joke, but that we understood it despite the language barrier.

One man named Oskar joined us at our table while we discussed our interests. He mentioned that he had been born in the house we sat in, and Elvis Presley had frequented the pub in the late 1950s while he was stationed near Miltenberg. His eyes grew big and he smiled wide as he told us that one time, his mother had almost booted Elvis from the pub for not having proper identification. He slapped the table and let out a hearty laugh.

The time for us to join our other tour-mates was nearing, but Oskar insisted that he draw my caricature. Katie set up a screen of menus around Oskars artwork in progress as he sketched my cartoon-self with a beer in one hand and a drumstick in the other. When he was done, the menus were removed and the masterpiece was revealed. Hah! If you had asked me 24 hours earlier what my first evening in Germany would be like, having my caricature drawn by an old Miltenburg resident in a pub that he was born in would not have been my first guess!


How To Kiss A Nun – Klosterbrauerei Mallersdorf – Mallersdorf, Germany

The morning was soft and grey when we arrived at Klosterbrauerei Mallersdorf. We were scheduled to meet Sister Doris, a famous female brewer we all looked up to. She had helped pave the way for women brewers, and continued to prove that females were equally as capable as men for the task, even in her old age. Sister Doris walked us through the brewery, occasionally putting the tour on pause to sell bottles of beer to go to those that stopped by. I slowly inspected the brewery, taking note of the different machines and imagining how they operated. The experience reminded me of walking around my grandparents house when I was a child. Everything seemed so old, but all was clean and in good operating condition. I stared extra long at the things I didn’t understand, and left with the resolve that I’d understand when I was older.

Sister Doris & Lauren

Sister Doris was jovial and loved to crack jokes. Our group often laughed at two separate times – the first was those that understood German, and the second was after Tom, our tour guide, translated the wisecrack into English. One such occasion was when we were discussing the bottles and labels they used. Each bottle has a neck label that extends nearly to the top of the bottle lip, at which sits a picture of Sister Doris herself holding some of her delicious beer. She went on to explain that we must drink directly from the bottle, and after a short pause, she grew a long smile and continued with the German translation of, “…because it’s the only way to ‘schmooze’ with a sister!”. She lead the group in laughter with a roaring guffaw as her cheeks turned red. We followed suit and concluded with a hefty swig from the bottle, our lips still slightly pursed from a good chuckle.

Sister Doris Brew


About the Author:

Lauren Lerch

Certified Cicerone®

It’s been a long road of waiting tables, pushing retail, and laboring in warehouses, but I finally feel I’ve found a purpose instead of a job. The buzz isn’t just from the beer, either. When everyone around you is happy to be doing what they’re doing – buying beer, making beer, drinking beer – the smiles rub off on you, and then you’re sucked into the business. Of course it can’t all be puppies and sunshine, but that’s what the beer is for, right?

I grew up as an East Coast native sandwiched between New York and Philadelphia. My early adult life was fueled by pizza, Yuengling, marching band percussion and Dunkin Donuts iced coffee. Before finding my place in the beer industry, I wanted to be a nurse (5 years old), a professional breakdancer (10 years old) and a high school music teacher (20 years old). After three years of college, I just wanted to be a traveler. I lived in Oregon, spent a year in Australia and a summer working in Glacier National Park, MT. Landing in Salt Lake City, UT with hopes of riding the seasonal work wave, I landed a not-so-seasonal job at Whiskey Street as a server. It was the first job that exposed me to something more than a casual alcohol menu. Craving more and more booze knowledge, a co-worker turned me onto the Cicerone Certification Program. I dug in an didn’t look back.

Wet Hop Beer
Garden Fresh Caprese Pasta
Jarlsberg Cheese
Sharing Beer With Strangers
East Coast Pizza
Sky Appreciation

You can contact Lauren at  laurenlerch@gmail.com . Or friend her on facebook.


About the Crafty Beer Girls:

The Crafty Beer Girls are Utah based missionaries of beer, here to entertain, educate, and encourage the love of the brew. With the help of Red Rock Brewing Company in Salt Lake City, these fine “sisters” will cover the fresh and the new, along with the history of beer and the industry surrounding it. They hope to make a believer out of you!

Kris McDowell
UC Davis Intensive Brewing Science Scholarship Recipient Announced
Women In Beer

The Pink Boots Society is proud to announce that Lee Lord of Cambridge Brewing Company in Massachusetts 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 Lee to receive this scholarship due to her “longstanding dedication to her craft and the industry as well as her dedication to improving herself.” In addition, “She has been a part of the Pink Boots in Boston since inception and there are zero doubts of her influence on the female community of beer in the region.”

Lee has been a professional brewer for more than a decade, when she says she, “was lucky enough to break into the industry at a time where apprenticeship and rising through the ranks was more the norm.” She has worked at both small brewpubs and large scale production facilities but even with that experience Lee says,” At this point in my career I’m starting to find that I’m being overlooked for promotion by those with more of a classroom educational background.” Instead of being one of a handful of brewers, her goal is to become head brewer and then lead the team, a goal that will be furthered by adding this course as formal training to her resume.

Beyond improving herself through this course, Lee is looking forward to being able to share her experience, as other scholarship recipients have shared theirs with her. As an active member of her regional chapter Lee was involved with the Pink Boots collaboration brew for the last two years. Besides creating a beer she also made numerous friends, women she has been able to turn to for advice and encouragement. Of the women in the beer industry, she says, “We are a force together.”

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, Lee will receive a pair of pink steel-toe rubber boots when she fulfills the Pay It Forward requirement associated with the scholarship.

Anne Sprecher
The Journey to FemAle Brew Fest
Women In Beer
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By Frances Antonio-Martineau

FEMALE BREW FEST® is a craft beer festival featuring female beer experts and brewsters in the brewing industry. Our 2nd annual FemAle Brew Fest takes place March 24th in Fort Lauderdale. The festival offers an opportunity for attendees to interact with the beer experts and learn about the different types of beers brewed by them. The goal for FemAle is not to only highlight these amazing women, but to also use it as a platform to let their stories be heard. The festival is also a way to showcase local female business owners, female led bands and our resident female DJ all while celebrating the growing number of women that make and enjoy craft beer. A portion of the proceeds from FemAle is donated to the PBS.

In our inaugural year and the first time doing an event of this magnitude, I didn’t know what to expect. Would anyone come to a female-focused beer event? How many women are really involved in the business and would they be willing to come down to Fort Lauderdale and showcase some of the beers they help create? As I began to do research and work with my internal marketing team (a.k.a. my husband) to send out press releases about “South Florida’s first ever beer festival celebrating women in the Industry” my questions were answered not just by the 18 breweries that signed up to participate but also be the myriad of news outlets like Craftbeer.com | FOOD & WINE | WOB | Deco Drive | Telemundo 51 | SouthFlorida.com that wrote, covered and reposted information about the festival.

Experience Based Insights

Attempting to produce an event of this size was not easy and our first year was definitely challenging, but all the women I’ve met and things I have learned on this journey has been worth every minute of it. I’d like to take a moment to share some of the things that I learned along the way of planning FemAle.

  • Set a budget and keep it. It’s an amazing thing to be able to produce something that you are so passionate about BUT it is a very scary thing not having any financial backing and not knowing how people will receive your event.

  • Stay organized and create a timeline. There are alot of moving parts that go into running a festival and if possible, build a team to help you stay organized and on track.

  • Personalize it. For example, I cover hotel accomodation for the brewsters and take them out on a beer tour of Fort Lauderdale-based breweries on the Friday before the festival so that we can all get to know each other, share stories, exchange numbers and develop friendships. This festival is as much about supporting and promoting incredible women as it is about drinking some amazing beer, but incredibly rewarding as a beer drinker and women empowerment advocate.
  • Get the word out .I’ve never been one to be in the spotlight, its a work in progress. Producing this event has helped me get out of my shell and comfort zone. Don’t be afraid of sounding like a broken record. Talk to everyone and anyone about your event. You never know who you will meet. And don’t forget to share on social media.

  • Build the right partnerships. Monetary sponsorships are great, but In-Kind sponsorships/partnerships can also be a good leg up. All of my sponsorships last year were In-Kind. I was able to get discounted rates on the venue/services, small bites provided for the VIP area, exposure from partners sharing the event to their list of followers, and giveaways for attendees.

  • Most importantly, do something that you are passionate about. All of the feedback has not been positive about FemAle. Some people were quick to judge the event due to the name and focus. But it is important not to let those things deter you from what you believe in. As an entrepreneur and longtime craft beer drinker, I am always on the lookout for avenues to promote and showcase women. Through my love of beer and passion to be able to empower other women, FemAle was “born”.

What’s New for 2018

Going into our 2nd year, the festival has outgrown its original location in FATVillage and will be moving to Huizenga Plaza – a 1.8 acre park with an amphitheater located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. We’re now up to almost 30 breweries and will be featuring some brewery collaborations including some special releases, including the Boss Bird Hazy Session IPA (got to help with this one) brewed at Swamp Head Brewery for a PBS Collaboration Brew Day and a special brew collaboration from the ladies of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing and other female brewers in their county. We’ve also started to get some coverage from some our favorite media outlets and excited to see what the 2018 festival will bring.

Read All About It (media matters):

Gold Coast’s Fort Lauderdale Daily | The Fem Collective’s Frances Antonio-Martineau Will Once Again Bring The FemAle Brew Fest To Fort Lauderdale

Craftbeer.com | 9 Themed Festivals Worthy of a Beercation

Tavour Blog | FemAle Beer Fest: You Can’t Spell Female Without Ale

Miami New Times | Miami 2018 Winter and Spring Beer Festival Guide

About the Author

I would like to thank the ladies of the PBS for your continued support and for giving me the opportunity to share this post. Shortly after FemAle last year, I became a member of the Pink Boots Society and I’m honored to be a part of such an amazing organization. Everyone that I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with has been so supportive and willing to help in any way that they can. And on February 23rd, I had the opportunity to participate in my first Collaboration Brew Day at Swamp Head Brewery and will be attending another Collaboration Brew Day on March 8th. I look forward to continuing to build friendships and learning from all you and to further that I’d like to extend an invite to all of the PBS members to check out FemAle 2018. Message me if you’d like a complimentary ticket to attend the event. In return, I would ask for you to provide a donation to PBS when registering for your ticket. Hope to see you all at FemAle 2018!

“Risk is never easy… but just like trying a new beer you never know how good its going to be until you take a sip.” ~Frances Antonio-Martineau, FemAle founder

Anne Sprecher
Bière de Femme®& Tips for Creating Your Own Festival
Fundraising, Women In Beer
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By Caroline Parnin, Co-chapter Leader of the Raleigh, NC Pink Boots Chapter; East Coast Technical Manager, Lallemand Brewing/Siebel Institute of Technology


Bière de Femme is a festival designed to showcase the women of NC beer, while also raising money for women to pursue their beer career dreams through education. During our May 2016 meeting I challenged the members of the Raleigh, North Carolina chapter with a specific question: Rather than working hard on many small events and spreading ourselves thin, what were some events/projects that could combine our efforts to raise significant amounts of money? In November 2016 chapter members Jordan Boinest and Anita Riley brought forward a festival idea at a meeting and Bière de Femme was born. We decided at that November meeting that we would donate 100% of our proceeds to Pink Boots Society. Our 1st Bière de Femme Festival took place four months later, on March 11, 2017 in Shelby, NC .

In our planning stage we set goals for what we wanted to achieve and they included:

  • Raise money for Scholarships
  • Showcase the badass women in NC beer (with each brewery serving a beer made by women employees specifically for the festival)
  • Provide a tasting and educational experience like no other around (this includes guest learning experiences like a test sensory skills both, a history of women in beer educational wall and also local guild representation, educational programs and ingredient manufacturers providing fun learning experiences on site)

Last year we raised almost $11,000! We hope to hit $18,000 this year. On a side note, co-chapter leader Anita Riley wrote Brewing Ambition: Recipes & Stories From the Women of North Carolina Craft Beer. In addition to being a great read full of homebrew recipes, it’s a great gift. All proceeds go to Pink Boots.

Bière de Femme 2018

The 2nd annual Bière de Femme happens March 3, 2018 in Raleigh, NC. Organization is definitely a task that has brought our team together!  We utilized some great programs for communication, delegated tasks, and kept very open lines of communication throughout the process to be successful. The app Asana for delegation/communication helps us see who is working on what, and progress made. We created a to-do list/timeline and have tried to follow it as best we can. We have bi-weekly check-ins with everyone available.

Each chapter member brings a certain skill set that is extremely helpful in organization – for example Anita Riley (our other Raleigh Chapter Leader) is a writer- so she is our media communications manager.  Katie Smith (Asheville Chapter Co-Leader) is a social media whiz- she handles our posts and also organizes our volunteers. Natalie Anderson (Raleigh Chapter member) who runs a brewery has managed people her entire adult life. She helped us organize the task list and heads brewery communications for the event. Each person’s ownership of certain responsibilities allows us to not stretch ourselves too thin and ensures we move forward.

Helpful Tips for Producing An Event:

If I could offer a few helpful tips to plan successful fundraising events to other PBS chapters they would be the following:

  • Don’t try to do it alone, work as a team or the tasks will be impossible. Delegate tasks to your chapter members; each has skills or contacts that will prove very useful.  Life happens, so have a backup plan in place if someone has to step away from their duties.
  • Contact the board for help, there are many resources available if you need them.
  • Create a timeline with tasks and deadlines and stick to it
  • Delegate tasks – using the app Asana has been our savior for this
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for sponsorship money. You never know unless you ask  In-kind sponsorships are great too, we have received them for glassware/t-shirts/media promotion.
  • Designate one person in charge of money, so things done get confusing.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I must say I am honored to be a part of such a dynamic group of women breaking molds and providing support to one another. North Carolina has come a long way in 4 years with the progression of women in our beloved industry. I hope you’ll be able to join us at Bière de Femme this year!

Cheers to women in beer!

About Caroline Parnin: 

In the spring of 2007 I took a RV cross country road trip with some girlfriends that changed the course my life forever. Instead of LSATs and law school I decided I would pursue my dream of making beer for a living.

I immediately began volunteering at a local brewery in Raleigh on their bottling line on an as needed basis.  They paid me in hi/low fill beer. After a couple years of volunteering, I took an (unpaid) assistant brewer position at a new brewpub in town. Three years later I was sidelined by a kickball accident.

During my recovery I decided that in order to move forward in the industry I would get a formal brewing education. After registering for the full Advanced Brewing Theory course through Siebel Institute of Technology in 2014, I reached out to PBS to see what financial aid resources were available. Founder Teri Fahrendorf replied to my email for help quickly, with some pointers and a wish of good luck. Unfortunately, PBS simply did not have funds to help with that size of a scholarship.

I’ll never forget Teri’s encouragement and support; it was very welcomed. I was the only women working on the production side of a brewery that I knew of in my city. I did not know many women in the industry at all, and I was only one of two women in the Seibel program. As they say, all’s well that ends well. Soon I will become Product Manager for sensory kits and also will take on a larger marketing/business development rolle within Lallemand Brewing/Siebel Institute of Technology.

Anne Sprecher
New This Year: Special Pink Boots Brew Hops Blend!
Women In Beer
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We are so excited about Pink Boots Brew this year! Thanks to the generous folks at YCH Hops, we have an amazing and unique blend of hops chosen by our members for this year’s Pink Boots Brew (formerly Big Boots Brew).  Read the YCH Hops blog for the background story AND learn what hops the blend contains. At the end there’s a link to order hops for your brew this year. Make sure to order your hop blend by February 1st!


by Cait Schut / Communications and Outreach Manager 
December 20, 2017 / News & Events

YCH HOPS and the Pink Boots Society, a global nonprofit organization supporting women in the brewing profession, are thrilled to announce the release of an exclusive hop blend to celebrate women in the beer and brewing industry. This proprietary hop blend officially named Pink Boots Blend will be available to commercial brewers and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Pink Boots Society scholarship funds.

The idea to collaborate on a hop pellet blend stemmed from a casual conversation between YCH HOPS CEO Mike Goettl and Regional Sales Manager Kelly Lohrmeyer while walking through the hop fields during the annual Hop & Brew School event. They both spoke of their shared passion to encourage and support female brewing professionals. What started as a casual conversation quickly led to a partnership with The Pink Boots Society (PBS).

“Organizations like Pink Boots Society have been close to my heart being a woman in the beer industry,” says Kelly Lohrmeyer, YCH HOPS Regional Sales Manager for the Pacific. “I’ve grown close with President Laura Ulrich since moving to California, so when Mike suggested we look at working with PBS on a blend, I knew that Laura’s team could help make this a reality. I am very excited to see where this blend goes in the beer community and in accelerating collaboration across the globe with women and beer!”

During the 2017 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, YCH HOPS staff and PBS members met to rub, smell and experience a selection of hop samples for the upcoming blend. This year’s blend includes Palisade®Simcoe®Mosaic®Citra® and Loral®.

“During the meeting and hop rub at the Great American Beer Festival, one goal that stood out amongst all of us was that we wanted a multi-purpose hop,” says Laura Ulrich, President of Pink Boots Society. “Ideally our choice of blend could be used for bittering, aroma, and during dry-hop. A brewer can use this hop through the brew, or just in a single charge. The blend character itself is fruity but not overly tropical, with more dominant citrus and herbal notes. The small addition of Simcoe® gives the blend just a hint of old school, while others like Loral®, Citra®, and Palisade® will help drive the fruit flavors forward. And really, who doesn’t love Mosaic®, so we added at touch of her too.”

The hope is that a new blend will be chosen during the harvest season by members of Pink Boots Society and processed into traditional T90 pellets at YCH HOPS production facilities. The hop blend will be released to commercial brewers prior to International Women’s Day on March 8th and are encouraged to create their own celebratory brews. The blend will be sold by YCH HOPS with limited availability, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pink Boots Society Scholarship funds.

Pink Boots Society Scholarship funds help to allow women in the industry attend educational seminars, classes, certifications and tours. Using the scholarship program, PBS aims to empower women beer professionals to advance their careers through education. Scholarship opportunities are open to women anywhere in the world who are actively employed in the beer industry.

The annual Pink Boots Blend is YCH HOPS’ latest commitment to embracing and furthering diversity in the industry. They are proud to support women from across many facets and functions of the brewing industry. The YCH HOPS family also includes a female hop grower/owner and three women that sit in senior leadership positions, including two in the C-suite.

Click here to download a copy of the Pink Boots Blend Order Form.

For new customers, please complete a YCH New Account Request Form.

Anne Sprecher
Big Cheers for Our Outgoing Board Members!
Women In Beer
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As 2017 comes to a close we extend heartfelt thanks to outgoing board members Sibyl Perkins and Candace Moon. Without their commitment and leadership, Pink Boots Society would not be where it is today. Laura Ulrich did a fantastic job summarizing their valuable service.

Owner of Sibyl Designs, Inc., graphic designer Sibyl Perkins has been working with PBS for over 6 years. She revamped both our logo and website, frequently volunteering for PBS more than working for her design clients. As the Brand Ambassador and Manager for PBS she taught us to understand the importance of branding for Pink Boots.Her IT knowledge helped organize our current structure so all of the board can communicate and work together on items. She has been an invaluable member of our board and she will be greatly missed. Her last big push for us was ALL the amazing work and design she did for the 10th Anniversary website and program. We at PBS owe her a lot. 


Candace Moon has assisted PBS for years. She first helped us out with trademarks back in the early days when I was asked to do them, but I am no lawyer and I went begging for help. She’s been an incredible asset to your team by seeking out our new membership platform as well as helping to get it up and running. She has assisted in helping us review, understand and update our By Laws. Her primary focus was on membership and we appreciate the assistance, hours, and wisdom she imparted to the team. Candace continues her work as an extremely busy beer law attorney and just recently joined forces with Dinsmore & Shohl LLP to expand her business. She is truly an important part of the beer industry and we were lucky to have her on the board for PBS.


Many, many thanks to you both! 


Anne Sprecher
My Path from Covering Tornadoes to Covering Craft Brewers
Women In Beer
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By: Jess Baker, Editor-in-Chief at CraftBeer.com

After 10 years chasing tornadoes – both in person and from the newsroom – as a TV producer and then digital/social senior editor at The Weather Channel, you reach a point where you can’t let Mother Nature call the shots anymore. Only Mother Nature knows when it’ll trigger an earthquake that sets off a nearly world-wide tsunami, or exactly when she’s going to unleash more than 300 reported tornadoes in a 3-day timespan across a 3200-mile path.

It was a job that fascinated me and humbled me. It was a job that inspired me and gave me purpose because there were truly days when you’re saving lives through information or helping families cope with a loss by telling their story. It was a job where storm victims would hug you and thank you because you were wearing the brand’s logo on your rain jacket.

But it was also a job full of the unexpected. Even when forecasts are accurate, there’s still no telling exactly what the full impacts would be and where they would the worst and how many people would have their lives turned upside down. Ten years of preparing for the unexpected can drain your energy. But what could I do that still inspired me, that gave me purpose and help people?

I remember the moment when my fascination with craft brewers and their beer started: I vividly remember walking into the 2010 East Atlanta Beer Festival in Atlanta’s tree-covered Brownwood Park and seeing rows of breweries I’d never heard of before in my life. I turned to my pal, a West Coast implant in Atlanta who already had witnessed the beginnings of the beer revolution on his coast, and said, “This is beer? I didn’t know this is what beer was now!”

When I fall for something – like the Beatles at age 16 and Springsteen when I was 28 – I fall hard. As I met brewers and realized so many of them had walked away from their big corporate jobs or found that running a brewery helped them connect with their communities, I was inspired. These women and men were small business owners who happened to be running beer businesses –and a new obsession began. I started a second Twitter account (@craftcurious) devoted to beer, not wanting to confuse all the people who followed me for weather updates on the other Twitter account. During a beercation, that Twitter account helped me get noticed by a Colorado-based craft beer blog that needed a Southeast Editor. I took the job, knowing it was unpaid, because I needed to write about these brewers who fascinated and inspired me.

I knew someday I wanted to take what I loved doing – storytelling and social media – and do it for an independent brewery. I had no idea someday would come a lot sooner than I planned. When the Brewers Association posted a job looking for an Editor-in-Chief of its beer-lover facing website CraftBeer.com, I applied thinking it was a longshot. But I got the job, and since May 2016, I’ve been working with writers and video producers across the U.S. to tell the stories about the people who are the heartbeat of American craft brewing, as well as the cities and businesses that support them.

For us at CraftBeer.com, it’s not about the beer – it’s about the people. My colleague Andy Sparhawk said it best in a recent article: “Don’t just taste your beer, believe in it.” And for us, that’s believing in the people behind it. Cheers to America’s small and independent brewers and the beer lovers who make it all possible.

Anne Sprecher
Writing About Beer Culture by Kathy Flanigan
Women In Beer
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I write about the culture of craft beer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper. I was a general assignment reporter in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which meant I could write about anything editors asked from stories about an overnight children’s shelter to spending 24 hours at a casino.

Then I accepted a challenge to write about issues important to women — “Lean In” was big at the time. Why not? I’m a woman. I’m all for parity.

The first story I wrote was about women and beer. I wrote about how women are a fast-growing component of craft beer’s growth. And then I wrote about beer again. And again. I wasn’t a big beer drinker at the time and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. The women of Milwaukee’s Barley’s Angels group helped me out.

The first story wasn’t so far off track from the original assignment. I found that plenty of women knew about beer; several worked in the industry; and others were more-than-competent home brewers. And yet bartenders would still automatically hand over the wine list when they sat at the bar. Or offer unsolicited advice on fruit beers they might like.

The year was 2013. There were nine breweries and brewpubs in  Milwaukee. Today, there are 31. Two more are expected to open this summer.

It was dumb luck timing for me. It became an opportunity to witness a new wave of Milwaukee’s craft brewery growth from the ground up.

This growth spurt is great news for Milwaukee. Not since the 1960s and ‘70s, when Schlitz, Pabst, Blatz and Miller ruled the nation’s beer supply has beer been a centerpiece for the city. I don’t cover beer for beer geeks. I cover it for people like me who like beer and get excited by the endless possibilities. It’s amazing to consider that most beers use the same ingredients but they can taste completely different.

I remember the night I realized that I had intentionally switched from a wine lover to a beer lover. I was with a friend at Sugar Maple. My friend and I spent years sipping wines and talking about what we liked about them. We ordered a flight at Sugar Maple. We couldn’t help it. We did the same thing. We sniffed. We compared. What does this taste like to you? This one tastes too sweet? This was our wine conversation but now it was about beer.

Last summer I spread my beer evangelism across the state for research on a book Beer Lover’s Wisconsin: Best Breweries, Brewpubs and Beer Bars for Globe Pequot publishing. My research took me to the northern tip of Wisconsin where I met Allyson Rolph, head brewer for Thirsty Pagan Brewing (at 

the time) to the southern border of Wisconsin’s Driftless region where Deb Carey, founder and president of New Glarus Brewing, spent an afternoon showing me the brewery and the new canning line.

Sometimes I just went to breweries like a tourist — occasionally as many as five in one day. They use the same ingredients but each brewery is as unique as the people behind it. Some, like Bloomer Brewing in Bloomer, Wis., served as the neighborhood bar — a place where at least one day a week people came together for beer brewed with original and historic recipes and tacos served from a card table covered in a plastic tablecloth. I didn’t like the beer at Kozy Yak in Amherst as much as I hoped to but I did like the feeling that I was in someone’s living room and the hosts were happy to see me.

I have the best “What I did on my summer vacation” story ever. More than that, I had motivation to continue to write about craft beer. I joined the Pink Boots Society in 2016, after I felt seasoned enough to feel like beer really was my job.

The summertime tour, along with these four years of reporting on beer in Wisconsin, has taught me that the state’s brewers are a committed brunch who build community by working with each other instead of against each other. Sprecher Brewing and Lakefront Brewing brought craft beer to Milwaukee in the 1980s. They see the current craft movement as momentum instead of competition. There’s a Milwaukee Craft Beer League to spotlight beer in our city.

And there’s me. I’m a soon to be a published author. About beer. Go figure.

Kathy Flanigan is a reporter for the features and entertainment section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She’s been a journalist since 1978 covering subjects from how to deal with Southern California traffic to life in the Atlanta suburbs. She lives in Wauwatosa, WI with her husband, Duane, and her dog, Jack. In addition to her daytime job, she is on a book tour for Beer Lover’s Wisconsin.

Kris McDowell
Women In Beer

By Laura Boada, brewer at Zambo Creek in Quito, Ecuador

Mi nombre es Laura Boada, soy miembro de Pink Boots Society desde el año 2015. Cuando encontré una organización que se dedicaba al empoderamiento de mujeres en la industria de la cervecería a través de la educación esto me llamó mucho la atención. Siempre tuve la curiosidad de conocer y aprender en una cervecería en uno de los países donde la cerveza es el pan de cada día. Pink Boots Society lanzó la convocatoria para una estancia de aprendizaje en Fremont Brewing Company en octubre del 2016. Yo pensé que esa era la oportunidad para aprender más sobre cervecería.

Mi aplicación describía la receta que elaboramos a finales del año 2016, una cerveza con ingredientes especiales, como el maíz morado, mortiño (andean berry), ataco y hierba luisa. La receta base de la colada morada, bebida local consumida para la celebración del día de los muertos, fiesta celebrada en varios países de América Latina en el mes de noviembre. Y sin duda este tipo de innovaciones resume un poco qué es lo que espero para Zambo Creek Microcervecería, una mezcla de sabores locales, en búsqueda de innovaciones globales.

El 1 de febrero del 2017 llegué a Fremont Brewing Company en Seattle, Washington. Nunca había visto una cervecería artesanal tan grande en mi vida. En Fremont Brewing Company pude experimentar la elaboración de cerveza en volúmenes mayores a los 80 BBL, además de conocer sobre la producción de diferentes estilos de cerveza como: American Stout, American Pale Ale, Indian Pale Ale, por mencionar algunos. Así como la elaboración de otros estilos de cerveza menos comunes como: Barley Wine, French Saison, Golden Ale, Sour Weisse, entre otros.  

Una actividad que ocurre durante todo el proceso de elaboración de la cerveza, a veces invisible, es la actividad que se realiza en el laboratorio. Identificación de off flavors. La toma de las pruebas básicas de densidad y pH. Y llevar a cabo pruebas microbiológicas para asegurar que el consumidor tenga una cerveza de calidad. Así también pude conocer más acerca de la reutilización de las levaduras y sobre los análisis de viabilidad de las mismas, previo a su reutilización.

La parte favorita, la sala de degustación, realmente hace la diferencia tener un “tercer lugar” y está tan bien pensado, en general el consumo de cerveza en este sitio se lo hace de manera responsable y moderada. Me gusta que realmente sea el tercer lugar para jóvenes, adultos, e incluso familias enteras. La oferta de más de 10 estilos de cerveza y hasta sodas para niños y mujeres embarazadas hace que aquí todos importen.

En cada punto desde la molienda de las maltas hasta la experiencia en la sala de degustación, la limpieza juega un papel crucial en cada punto de esta cadena de cervecería. Las cosas podrían salirse de control si no se tiene cuidado con la limpieza en cada uno de los procesos. Finalmente, y lo que más destaca de esta cervecería es que Fremont Brewing tiene una visión hacia convertirse en una cervecería ambientalmente responsable al 100%.

En Seattle, Washington tuve la oportunidad de conocer varias de las cervecerías que allí operan como: Reuben’s; Lagunitas; Pike Brewing Company; Stoup y también un ícono de inspiración en el Valle de Yakima Bale Breaker. El 8 de marzo del 2017 elaboramos, junto con varias mujeres inmersas en el mundo de la cervecería, una cerveza por el día internacional de la mujer. Una receta cuyo ingrediente estrella fue la miel, una Ancient ale. Y que resumiría de la mejor manera todo un mes de experiencias infinitas.

Tuve la oportunidad de hacer un viaje relámpago al Estado de Oregon para asistir al Simposio sobre Análisis Sensorial en Lúpulos, un evento organizado por la American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC), además de aprender sobre lúpulos tuve la oportunidad de aprender sobre off flavors en cerveza y las experiencias de análisis sensorial en Deschutes Brewing Company en Bend y en Craft Brew Alliance en Portland. Así como la propuesta inclusiva e innovadora de Ninkasi Brewing Company en Eugene.

Lo que más me llamó la atención es la capacidad de innovación. Conocí acerca de las cervezas envejecidas en barril (Bourbon Barrel Aged) en Fremont Brewing. Las cervezas agrias o sour beers, especialmente admiré este tipo de cervezas en Logsdon Farm House Ales en Hood River; Upright Brewing en Portland y BreakSide en Portand. Una tendencia que aún no cala en Sudamérica, pero puedo decir con seguridad que este tipo de cervezas tienen un futuro promisorio en esta parte del continente, especialmente en países tan diversos como Ecuador.

Lo más valioso fue entender que el tipo de levadura que utilices hará la diferencia. Y sobre todo comprender que existe una gran necesidad de explorar con sabores de cervezas sour. Para mí el mayor aprendizaje, y el más básico fue comprender que Ecuador se trata más de cervezas más vinculadas a las levaduras, en lugar de cervezas más enfocadas en lúpulos. De ese modo podríamos innovar hacia cervezas y cervecerías realmente locales. En los andes ya existe una larga data de bebidas fermentadas que necesitamos explorar.

En Portland fue grato charlar con Teri Fahrendorf, fundadora de Pink Boots Society y entender su visión y sueño detrás de este movimiento, el cual consiste en ayudar, inspirar y alentar a las mujeres en la industria cervecera a través de la educación. Este movimiento cada día crece más y se extiende hacia diversos lugares del mundo. En Ecuador existe un crecimiento de cervecerías lideradas por mujeres, ejemplos como Mut Cerveza Artesanal, Camino del Sol, Una Más, Nórdica Cerveza Artesanal, Cervecería Biero, Cherusker, Reina Cerveza artesanal, Ballesta entre otras. Así como un gran número de cervecerías ecuatorianas en donde las mujeres no sólo hacen cerveza, la comercializan, la promueven, la degustan, la analizan, y la viven. Un ejemplo de ello es que el pasado mes de septiembre, a propósito de la Copa Cervecera Mitad del Mundo se elaboró en Quito la primera cerveza colaborativa entre mujeres de diversas cervecerías locales e internacionales, la misma permitió el encuentro, la tertulia y el intercambio de experiencias para el nacimiento de un capítulo Pink Boots Society – Ecuador.

Actualmente en Zambo Creek hemos hecho cambios en detalles que han hecho una gran diferencia en nuestros productos finales, como la oxigenación del mosto. La activación de levaduras de manera adecuada. La limpieza en todo momento bajo procedimientos que nos permitan ofertar un producto de mayor calidad al final del proceso. Pero sobre todo la capacidad de mejorar, con fundamentos, las innovaciones que ya eran parte de nosotras desde que nació esta idea, pero que ahora tienen más claridad en la locura de probar cosas nuevas. Estamos en Ecuador, y ahora tenemos mucho por explorar, y muchos aprendizajes por probar provenientes de la gran experiencia resumida en estos párrafos. Gracias a Adam Bacchi y Lex Knutson de Beer Necessities en Seattle, al gran equipo de Fremont Brewing Company y a Pink Boots Society.

Kris McDowell
Going Straight to the Source
Women In Beer

A Weekend Class Inspires a Portland Beer Writer to Visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery
By Alethea Smartt LaRowe

I didn’t plan to go to Plzeň (Pilsen in German) during my trip to Europe this summer. In fact, I was specifically focused on researching and exploring the emerging craft beer scene in the Balkans and eastern Europe. But when I had to find a way to get from Munich, Germany to Szczecin, Poland in early June, I realized that if I went by train I wouldn’t have to deviate too far off the most direct route to visit the world-famous Pilsner Urquell brewery.

The seed of this idea was actually planted in my mind months before, when I attended OSU’s Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles course in mid-March. The two-day course covered everything from the sensory evaluation of beer to brewing techniques, ingredients, styles and defects. Pilsner Urquell was featured several times, in the fermentation lecture as well as the history of beer styles. Class attendees even got to sample representative beers and Pilsner Urquell was among them.

First brewed in 1842 at the newly built Burghers’ Brewery in Plzeň, the beer was created as a better tasting and higher quality alternative to the top-fermented dark ales that were widely available at the time. In addition, the brewery allowed the burghers (citizens) to retain control of the entire brewing and sales process, and to better compete in the local market. The meaning of the beer’s name is the same whether you use the German word urquell or the Czech word prazdroj; it translates as “pilsner from its original source.” This year is the 175th anniversary of the first batch of golden lager brewed in the Burghers’ Brewery. It was high time that I paid my respects at the birthplace of pilsner beer.


I entered the expansive Plzeňský Prazdroj complex through the historic Jubilee Gateway built in 1892 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Burghers’ Brewery. The complex includes a visitor center, souvenir shop, restaurant, beer garden, conference center and administrative buildings, along with the brewery and packaging hall. I showed up without a tour reservation which I don’t advise, especially during the busy summer months. The number of daily tours in English varies according to the season; there were four when I visited on a Monday in early June. However, the first tour was already fully booked, so I had to wait for the next available one that afternoon. After browsing around the visitor center and gift shop, I settled in for a pint in the beer garden and watched a steady stream of tourists entering the complex.

Finally it was time to meet up with the tour guide. Our group of almost 40 people included visitors from every continent except Antarctica. The tour started with our guide giving us a brief history of the brewery and a look at some historical documents and awards from the late 1800s.

Our next stop was the 100 liter pilot brewery, which is used for training employees, testing ingredients, brewers experiments, and to make special batches like a beer for the President of the Czech Republic, Miloš Zeman. From there we took an environmentally friendly bus running on CNG (compressed natural gas) to the packaging hall. Completed in 2006, the 20,000m2 building houses state of the art filtration and pasteurization technology, two new packaging lines capable of processing 120,000 bottles and 60,000 aluminum cans per hour, and a distribution warehouse.

The bus took us back to the learning center where we rode the largest passenger lift in the Czech Republic to a panoramic cinema and watched a film about Pilsner Urquell beer production as the floor rotated. Then we entered the sensory exposition hall which features hands-on exhibits of the special ingredients used in the beer including Czech barley malt, Žatec (Saaz) hops, soft water from Pilsen and special brewer’s yeast.

Next we entered the brewery, first examining the early 20th century brewhouse with copper kettles dating back to 1931, then the modern one built in 2004. Below the brewery is an exhibit on the people (brewers, maltsters, coopers, etc.) that have had a hand in making Pilsner Urquell what it is today. I was amazed to see the original copper kettle in which the first batch of golden lager was brewed in 1842.

Finally we descended into the damp, cool underground cellars which comprise almost nine kilometers in length all together. The constant 7℃ year round temperature is perfect for lager fermentation in open wooden vats and maturation in oak casks. Since 1992, only a small amount of beer is made this way; the rest is kept in modern stainless steel and glycol-jacketed conical fermenters.

For me, the highlight of the tour was sampling unfiltered, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell tapped directly from an oak lager cask. This special beer is available exclusively to tour guests and those who participate in the brewery’s šalanda programs. It tasted completely different from the bottled version that’s available worldwide and also distinctly different from what I drank earlier in the onsite beer garden. Add to that the experience of drinking this unique beer in an underground cellar dating to 1839 surrounded by massive 28 hectoliter barrels. It was surreal!

After emerging from the cold darkness of the tunnels, I couldn’t resist having another pint in the sunshine of the beer garden. While it was good, it couldn’t compare to the freshness and sensory pleasure of drinking the beer straight from the source.

For more information and to book a tour of the Pilsner Urquell brewery, please click here: Plzeňský Prazdroj

I was awarded a scholarship from Pink Boots Society to attend the Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles course. This article is part of my Pay-It-Forward obligation requiring scholarship recipients to pay forward the knowledge they gained from their scholarship course within six months of completing the course.

For upcoming OSU course dates, please click here: Origins of Beer Flavors and Styles