The sisters were doing it for themselves at Southern Hills Homebrew Supply in Roanoke on a recent Saturday. In celebration of International Women’s Day the store hosted their first Women’s Brew Day on March 9th and I got to go hang out with several really impressive women who are all involved in our local beer community. The women-led event included a brewing demo, talks, and, of course, free beer and cider tastings brewed by local women.
Jenn Burden, of Southern Hills Homebrew Supply, kicked off the event, brewing an English Porter - with the weather being foggy and misty outside the aroma of the brew session was a delightful greeting as you walked into the log cabin store. Led primarily by Jenn, the store has been hosting a monthly Women’s Brew Night with tastings and on-site brewing demonstrations of various styles of beer and cider for several months now.
For this event, the beers on tap included both a cider and a Double IPA that had been brewed at one of the Women’s Night events, a Raspberry Wheat Ale brewed by Jenn, and an Elderberry Fruit Ale that I myself brewed and, pardon me for ringing my own bell, that recently took Gold in its category at SheBrew, an all-female homebrew competition in Portland, Oregon.
Robyn Smith, the creator of The Business of Brewing from Virginia Tech, kicked off the talks for the day. She talked about the five day workshop that teaches people about the business side of opening and running a brewery. The workshop, held annually in January at the Roanoke Higher Education Center, covers topics such as funding, marketing, legal issues, distribution, and more and also includes field trips to local breweries to learn on-site from local brewers and brewery owners.
Chelsea Moneymaker, of Ballast Point, spoke next about our local Pink Boots Society chapter. Pink Boots is a non-profit organization with international membership which supports women working in the brewing profession, especially in creating craft beer. Chelsea is the local Chapter leader and has been instrumental in setting up an annual Women’s Brew, now in its second year, for International Women’s Day, as well as the group’s monthly to bimonthly meetings and more. Education for women in the beer field is a core value within Pink Boots and the chapter recently helped one local member go through the BeerSavvy Cicerone Certification Program. The group is also looking forward to starting a women’s night at local breweries to help encourage women to learn about craft beer and tastings in an environment that is safe and friendly to women.
If you missed the event (you should’ve been there, we had so much fun!!) I really encourage you to check out one of the monthly Women’s Nights at Southern Hills, or our awesome local Pink Boots Chapter, or the Business of Brewing (because ladies, we can do this!), or even the Star City Brewers Guild, our local homebrewers guild that has several active women who brew … including yours truly. Beer and brewing is no longer just for the guys, we women are reclaiming our spots, from brewing to business to education to drinking. As the song goes: Everybody take a look around, can you see, there’s a woman right next to you. That’s definitely reason to celebrate.