March 8 is International Women’s Day and many BC breweries are brewing up a special beer to showcase women in craft beer.

The annual Pink Boots Collaboration Brew on March 8 started off in 2013 as a way to provide awareness of women in the brewing industry and to raise money for the Pink Boots Society. Since then, it has grown into a worldwide annual event with Canada being a strong participant and BC breweries leading the way. 

During the event, women who work in the brewing industry meet up to collectively brew a special beer. Sometimes this is done ahead of time so that the beer is ready to serve on March 8, while, other times, the brew happens on International Women’s Day with the beer being released a few weeks later.

In 2017, a partnership with Yakima Chief Hops was launched to produce an exclusive Pink Boots Hop Blend. Women brewers all around the world can effectively collaborate by brewing with the same unique blend of hops. Partial proceeds from every bag sold goes back to the Pink Boots Society to put towards their scholarship and education programs. This year, a national Pink Boots Canada chapter has been established, which means that some of those funds collected will now be allocated to the new chapter so the money can help be used to help Canadian women further their careers in the industry.

Here in British Columbia, there are at least 22 brews scattered around the province, making this a great opportunity to support your local community.

Pink boots brew: women in craft beer

Langley: Women in Craft Beer

Langley is the place to be for the primo event this year! The team at Farm Country Brewing put out a challenge for the female employees at each of the Langley breweries to collaborate on a small-batch brew with all of the beers to be served at Farm Country on March 8. There are seven different original beers and all proceeds will be donated to the Ishtar Women’s  Resource Society in Langley. The doors open at 1:00 pm, and all seven beers will be on tap only at Farm Country Brewing. 

Here is a list of the beers:

  • Farm Country Brewing – American Wheat Ale w/ black currant & cardamom (5% ABV | 20 IBU)
  • Five Roads Brewing – Peach Vanilla Hazy Pale (5% ABV |38 IBU)
  • Trading Post Brewing & Locality BrewingTable Saison (2.75% ABV | 18 IBU). A collab using pale and rye malts from the Locality farm, along with the 2019 version of the Pink Boots Hop Blend.  
  • Camp Beer Co. – Creamsicle Beer. (5.3% ABV | 11.5 IBU). Rebecca Deil who is the assistant brewer and also a student at KPU took the lead on this brew.
  • Dead Frog Brewery – Irish Kiss Dry Stout (6% ABV |30 IBU)
  • Smugglers Trail Caskworks – Sahti-style Kveik Ale with juniper berries (8% ABV | 30 IBU). Sahti is the original farmhouse beer, brewed by women for centuries, using Juniper berries and twigs to create flavour and act as a preservative in the days before hops.
  • KPU Brew Lab – Roze Klompen (5.6% ABV | 25 IBU). A saison using triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), hopped and dry-hopped with this years’ Pink Boots hop blend. The name is Flemish for pink clogs, so it is a nod to the Pink Boots Society and to the farmers in Belgium and their traditional footwear. This was brewed under the direction of instructor Martina Solano Bielen and student Rebecca Deil, along with a handful of students and of course, legend Nancy More. You will be able to go to the KPU Brew labs for growler fills for this one, too.
Farm Country Brewing: women in craft beer
Brew day at Farm Country Brewing.

Kelowna: Women in Craft Beer

Copper Brewing just released a Butterfly Pea Blossom Pale Ale (4.7% ABV), brewed under the direction of taproom manager Jess Kozak, and it’s violet in colour! $1 dollar from each 4-pack and sleeve sold will be donated to Hope Okanagan.

Kelowna Beer Institute created a crushable Passion Fruit IPA (5.5% ABV |28 IBU) with an optional citrus slush topper using Amarillo, Idaho 7, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops for a tropical and citrus-forward Spring patio beer. This is a yearly fundraiser with proceeds going to Hope Okanagan. This one will be on tap as well as available for take-home fills. 

Jackknife Brewing brewed Resting Witch Face ISA (4% ABV | 35 IBU) a Nordic gin-style ale with spruce tips, juniper berries, and sumac, conditioned on key limes and blood oranges. Partial proceeds will be going to an organization dedicated to the search and support of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and their families. Available on tap or take-home crowler fills.

Penticton: Women in Craft Beer

Slackwater Brewing: women in craft beer
Brew day at Slackwater Brewing

Slackwater Brewing brewed Making Waves Pineapple Rye Saison (5% ABV | 27 IBU),  using pineapple juice and dry-hopped with this years’ Pink Boots hop blend. The brew was led by recently hired assistant brewer Carri Kemp and a few ladies from behind the scenes.

Pemberton: Women in Craft Beer

 The Beer Farmers, owned and operated by the Miller family, decided to use what they grow plenty of: potatoes! Head Brewer Brenda Miller and Tara Aytri made Spud Valley, a double dry-hopped Hazy IPA with potato (4.8% ABV), using this years’ Pink Boots hop blend. 

Hope: Women in Craft Beer

At Mountainview Brewing Co, which just opened its doors in late November, guest brewer Novia Chen teamed up women from two new breweries in Chilliwack, Bricklayer Brewing, and Farmhouse Brewing Co. Together they brewed up Staycation (6.5% ABV |20 IBU), a Hazy IPA with Guava & Coconut. This one will be available in draught at all three breweries. 

New Westminster: Women in Craft Beer

Oak Brewing: women in craft beer
Brew day at Steel & Oak Brewing

Steel & Oak Brewing brewed Teulu Hazy IPA (6.5% ABV) with passionfruit, orange, and guava, using this year’s Pink Boots Hop Blend. Teulu is the Welsh word for family, and proceeds go to the Spirit of the Children Society, an Indigenous non-profit society that works to empower and strengthen Indigenous families in New Westminster, Burnaby, and the Tri-Cities. This one will be available on tap, from their online store, and at some private liquor stores across BC over the next few weeks.

Vancouver: Women in Craft Beer

Strange Fellows Brewing is using International Women’s day as an opportunity to launch Sororatis Hazy Pale Ale (5% ABV |35 IBU), brewed by Assistant Brewer Carly Hase using this years’ Pink Boots hop blend. Sororatis means sisterhood, and this is the second beer in their Helping Hands Series with proceeds to be donated to the WISH Drop-in Centre Society. It will be available on draught and in 4-packs through the taproom and various private liquor stores in the lower mainland.

Who is brewing on International Women’s Day?

Many breweries are masking up and gathering in small groups on the actual date with these beers being released at the tail end of March or early April.

Diana McKenzie, co-owner of Vancouver’s Callister Brewing, and her team of one will be brewing Sweet Georgia Brown Stout (6% ABV). It will be a small batch so check out Callister’s social media for the launch date and growler fills. 

Leading the brew at House Of Funk Brewing in North Vancouver will be Ebony Jansen and Casey Foster. They will be using this year’s Pink Boots hop blend, but stay tuned for what they will be brewing! 

You can always count on Coast Mountain Brewing in Whistler to be a part of this brew — usually bringing together a large gathering of women from the sea-to-sky region. This year it will just be Tanya Crocker and lead brewer Marketa. Not sure what they will be brewing, but chances are it will be an easy-drinking yet hop-forward ale. The beer will be on tap and available in cans, but you will probably need to pick it up at the brewery. 

Up north at Barkerville Brewing, the once all-woman brewery (yes, they have now hired a guy), will be brewing a Tropical Kettle Sour (3.7% ABV |8 IBU), mixing up the tropical aromas of this years’ Pink Boots hop blend with the tartness of the hibiscus, which also creates a pink hue in the beer. Head brewer Erin Dale likes using hibiscus — the first Pink Boots beer they were a part of also used it. The beer should be available by the end of the month and will be on tap at the brewery and also packaged for off-sales. 

This marks Year Three that Cannery Brewing is brewing a beer called Ceres (the Roman goddess of fertility and agriculture), and it will be the third year using the Pink Boots hop blend. The 2021 edition is a Belgian-style White IPA (5.5% ABV | 55 IBU) with the addition of preserved lemons, orange peel, and coriander. It will be available in 4-packs in their taproom and private liquor stores in BC, and also on draught. The release date is scheduled for March 30th. 

And over on the Island… 

Lieve Peeters, the woman behind Spinnakers Brewpub’s barrel program, will be hosting a brew sometime this week. The launch will be at the end of the month or early April.

 Over in Comox at New Tradition Brewing, head brewer Patti Savard and the lounge staff will be brewing up a Hefeweizen (5% ABV), dressed in tutus! The beer will be named “It’s All in the Hips,” with partial proceeds going to the Comox Valley Transition Society. Their launch is scheduled for April 4th and will be available in the taproom only. 

What a list! There are so many opportunities to explore your local communities and celebrate women in craft beer! 

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