March 8th is known for being International Women’s day and since last year also known for being International Women’s Collaboration Brew day. This day is sponsored by Pink Boots Society, an organization of women working in the beer industry. The organization was created to inspire, encourage and empower these women and advance their careers through education.
The goal with this event is to get as many women as possible around the world to do collaboration brews. To raise the profile of women in the industry. Profits from the brewed beer can be donated to charity.
So the idea is to brew a united beer, this year it was a red ale (Unite Red Ale). The guidelines were simple:
- Color – 31 SRM
- 50 IBU
- ABV – 4,6%
- Hops – Willamette
And with that you were free to give the beer your own touch.
Image courtesy of Pink Boots Society.
I got an invitation from Jessica Heidrich, head brewer at S:t Eriks bryggeri in Sweden, to come and brew this collaboration amongst other women in the Swedish beer industry she had invited. As I am on the other side of the Atlantic I unfortunately had to turn down this offer, but made sure I got some pictures from the day and Jessica to answer some questions about it so I could join them by writing this piece. Because I was definitively there with them in my mind.
Jessica herself has been a member of Pink Boots Society since 2008 and was their first Swedish member. Through out these years she has met many fantastic brewers and beer women all around the world thanks to PBS. This is the first year she is participating in IWCBD and she thought it was about time to “pay it forward” and start off something in Sweden. She likes the idea how the organization works to empower women in the industry through both networking but most of all by encouraging women to continue their careers through education.
Jessica Heidrich at her brew house. Image courtesy of Cecilia Jennehag.
Jessica knows quite many women in Sweden’s beer scene so it was natural for her to invite them to her brewery. To meet up for collaborations are always fun and you learn a lot from each other, she says. The women that joined for this collaboration were a mix of fabulous women from different parts of Sweden.
The brewers! image courtesy of Cecilia Jennehag.
The brewers from left: Catrine Thörncrantz (Mohawk Brewing), Cecilia Jennehag (Slottskällans bryggeri), Cecilia Giertta (CEO of Sveriges Bryggerier), Ida Engström (Electric Nurse), Sara Malmquist (Järvsö bryggeri), Rebecka Pettersson (Bishops Arms), Sara Norberg (Sigtuna Brygghus) and Jessica Heidrich (S:t Eriks bryggeri).
Some had long experience of brewing, some had short and some had none but everyone was very engaged in the brewing from mashing in, lautering, cleaning, taking samples, measuring minerals and hops, taking care of the spent grain and so on.
Sara instructing Rebecka. Image courtesy of Cecilia Jennehag.
Sara was in charge of the brewing. Image courtesy of Cecilia Jennehag.
The group likes their ales hoppy, so they decided to replace the Willamette with Columbus, Galaxy, Citra and East Kent Golding. So even with the rather low ABV there will be a nice bitter character to the beer.
32 HL (approximately 20 bbl) was brewed and it will both be bottled and kegged. The bottles will be launched at Systembolaget (Sweden’s government controlled liqour store) on May 8th and for every bottle sold 1 Swedish krona will be donated to Pink Boots Society. Of course parts of the sales on draft will be donated too.
Yeast pitching and sampling. Images courtesy of Cecilia Jennehag.
Jessica is eager to do this again next year to keep this tradition alive in Sweden. By bringing these women to her brewery, exchanging experiences and learning from each other she hopes that each one of them can bring 10 other women to their breweries and do the same thing and in that way increase brewing women each year!
Sun, blue sky, brewing and great women. That calls for a barbeque! Image courtesy of Sara Norberg.