Ethnographic studies and archaeological records indicate that from prehistoric times brewing beer and other types of alcohol was primary an activity performed by women. Although during the modern era the industry has been primarily a man’s domain, in the 21st century women are once again a significant and growing segment of the brewing industry. Evidence of this can be found through an organization comprised of women working in the beer business known as the Pink Boots Society (PBS). Founded in 2007, goals of the non-profit organization with 1,500-plus members worldwide are to raise the profile of women’s roles in the beer industry and to assist, inspire and encourage women to advance their careers through education.
The Vegas collaboration was dubbed “G-IRL Power” by the participants. As for the recipe, this year the Society determined all of the collaborative brews would use a new hop blend from YCH Hops out of Yakima, Wash. containing Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral hop strains Koeller describes as: “fruity with some citrus and herbal notes. She added, “I wanted to create a brew that would be refreshing and easy to drink in our warm weather. I love lagers and IPAs, so decided to do an India Pale lager with a German lager yeast strain and use some Rye malt to add a little spiciness to the beer.”
This year’s participants included PBS members Amanda Koeller (lead brewer, Big Dog’s Brewing), Steph Cope (head brewer, CraftHaus Brewery), Wyndee Forrest (co-founder/co-owner, CraftHaus Brewery), Ceci Moggia (marketing and accounting, Big Dog’s Brewing), Kayla Callahan (operations manager, Joseph James Brewing), Chelsea Anderson (beer tender and brand manager, CraftHaus Brewery), Nikki Borkosky (bartender, Hop Nuts Brewing) and Ashlie Randolph (Caribbean Craft Owner); and future members, all from Big Dog’s: Nancy Nordstrom (bartender), Sarah Novack (server), Jessica Kuhn (bartender) and Sheila Lombard (bartender).
PBS membership is granted to women who receive at least 25% of their income from the beer industry, are in the process of opening a beer establishment or are students currently enrolled in a beer industry focused/accredited program. There currently is not a local PBS chapter, but as this year’s collaboration brew drew so many participants, Koeller has set a goal to start a Southern Nevada chapter this year. She relates, “I want this organization to inspire women that aren’t in the brewing industry but would like to be, as well as lend a hand to women looking to advance their current careers in the industry. I hope women see this article and realize that their dreams are possible and there are women in the local community available for support.”
Luckily for men, all are welcome to enjoy G-IRL Power, which currently is on tap at more than 14 breweries and pubs in Southern Nevada including 595 Craft & Kitchen, Aces and Ales, Atomic Liquors, Big Dog’s, CraftHaus, Hi Scores, Hop Nuts Brewing, Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits and Tenaya Creek Brewery. Head over to one of these popular watering holes soon before the tap runs dry.