Beer, a lovely beverage enjoyed by women…
This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so we wanted to offer a great big “Thank You!” to our mothers, our wives, our partners, our daughters and our female friends! We couldn’t do it without you. As part of our salute to the women in our lives, we wanted to take a look at women and beer, because a lot of women love beer (a societal perception that is changing… thankfully!), and a lot of women have been influential in this still very male dominated industry.
Ask the Brewer
How long have women been involved in the beer industry?
While the current beer industry is very male dominated, the earliest brewers were women with documentation going as far back as 3500 B.C. The women of Sumer brewed low-alcohol beer both for religious ceremonies and for daily consumption. These Sumerian brewers enjoyed tremendous respect, in part due to the likelihood they served as priestesses of the revered beer goddess, Ninkasi (so that is where that brewery got their name). Sumerians believed Ninkasi oversaw the brewing process and “worked” as head brewer to the gods, who’d gifted beer to humans to preserve peace and promote well-being. Their reverence is illustrated in the Hymn to Ninkasi, history’s oldest written beer recipe.
There is also compelling evidence that women were the ones who invented straws for drinking beer in Babylon between 1900 and 1600 B.C. (probably to get through the fermentation scum that formed on top of the earliest brews) By 800 A.D., brewing had spread to Europe, and Germanic women were brewing in the clearings of the forests. In 1150 A.D., the German Abbess Hildegard recommended hops as a preservative, and from 1600 to 1800 women in America were serving “small beer” to their families. With the advent of the industrial revolution and commercial brewing, women were forced to take a step back from their traditional roles. However, with Prohibition, many of them revived old recipes, and went back to brewing in their kitchens. When Prohibition was repealed, beer was back in business, in large scale, with men at the helm.
It wasn’t until 1986 that things began to change, with Mellie Pullman helping launch Wasatch Brewery; becoming the first female brewmaster in Modern American history, and ushering in a new era of women working in the beer industry. From there, women have become more and more involved, with Carol Stoudt of Pennsylvania becoming the nation’s first female sole proprietor (and brewer) in 1987, and Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound opening Lost Coast Brewing in Eureka, California, in 1990, as the first female ownership team. In 2008, the Pink Boots Society was formed by Portland-based craft brewer Teri Fahrendorf. The Pink Boots Society is dedicated to mentoring and supporting women working in all aspects of the beer industry. In February of 2011, Barley’s Angels was founded, providing a forum for women who love craft beer. Barley’s Angels focuses on creating a safe space for women who “respect beer and brewing, have a thirst for education, enjoy beer responsibly and act appropriately at all times.” And, in 2013, Minnesota got it’s first women owned brewery in Urban Growler, founded and owned by Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak.
Brewer’s Choice being tapped on Friday, May 6th is Andrew’s Maibock. This German substyle of Bock (shocking, right?!) is a stronger, yet paler lager that is more hopped than it’s cousin and is traditionally served at Spring festivals.
On Friday, May 6th we welcome the return of Crepe and Cake with their delicious French crepes, and on Saturday, May 7th we are excited to be joined for the first time ever by the Salsa Spot, serving authentic Mexican cuisine on wheels.
- Tap selection includes Pyro APA, Roasted Coffee Ale, Fused Orange Blossom Honey Ale, Raj-Agni IPA, Parched Lime Shandy, and Maibock on Friday
- Thirsty Thursdays $1 off pints and $2 off growler fills (no growler or grumbler fills after 8pm on Thursdays)
- Coconut Turtle Cupcake from Groundswell includes a coconut chocolate fudge cake with pecans, whipped cream, honey caramel sauce, and chocolate ganache
Beer festival season is only a few weeks away. That means we are getting ourselves ready to start slinging beer here, there and everywhere in between!
To start the season off, the City Pages Beer Fest will continue with its tradition of kicking off summer in the Twin Cities on May 21st. One of longest running events of its kind in the Midwest (24 years and counting!), this outdoor festival has become a yearly tradition for beer aficionados who can enjoy a variety of brews, food vendors, live music featuring Free and Easy, hammerschlagen, accordionist Bill Koncar and the ever-popular Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band!