From 8 a.m. until the afternoon of March 8, women gathered at Bold Republic Brewery to make a special craft beer.
“It’s pretty awesome that we get to make the Pink Boots Society® brew on International Women’s Day,” said Bold Republic Brewery owner Adriane Hodges.
Adriane is one of the few women brewers in the industry. She opened Bold Republic Brewery with her husband, Patrick Hodges, in 2018. Since then, they’ve relocated a small brewery from Belton to the blossoming west side of Temple, where they continue to expand.
“We’re putting in a cool storage, which will really help us increase production,” Adriane said.
Adriane is a self-described beer nerd. She can speak endlessly about everything beer, from brewing it to its history. She is passionate about being a woman in the industry and is building a network of women brewers in the area.
The Pink Boots Society® brewing event is evidence of that. The educational event was attended by women from breweries throughout the area, including Nolan Creek Brewery (Belton), Phantom Warrior Brewing Co. (Killeen), and Barrow Brewing Company (Salado) – all there to make their contribution to the 2023 brew aptly named “Women’s Work.”
Adriane explains, “The beer brewing industry was completely dominated by women until the 1500s.”
And she is correct. A Smithsonian Magazine article from 2021, “Why Did Women Stop Dominating the Beer Industry?,” asserts that strict gender norms brought about by the start of the Reformation and greed pushed women out of the industry.
Ale, and later, beer, was a mainstay in European homes as a source of nutrients from as early as the Stone Age. As such, brewing beer was as regular a household task for women as rearing children. Seeing an opportunity to earn an income, widows and unmarried women began selling the beverage, becoming alewives and the originators of the brewing industry.
“That’s kind of where the origin of witches with pointy hats and brooms came from,” she continued. “Men saw how lucrative the business was and began pushing the women out by accusing them of witchcraft —which was dangerous for women at the time.”
Now the industry is experiencing a resurgence of women. Although the movement is slow. Few, if any, major beer companies have a female brewmaster. And beer is often branded as a drink for men.
In fact, a research study by Stanford University found that of 1,993 breweries they could find information about, only 40 were exclusively founded by women. And of 1,717 breweries they researched, only 76 (four percent) had a female brewmaster or headbrewer.
Despite the statistics, women like Adriane continue to serve as passionate advocates for beer and beer brewing. According to Craft Beer & Brewing, women bring unique skills to brewing beer, such as having superior senses of taste and smell along with a stronger ability to remember and recount sensory experiences.
It is with these skills that this group of women created the Women’s Work brew —from hops to keg.
“We made an India Pale Lager or IPL,” Adriane said as she described the beer.
“India Pale Lager is a type of beer fermented with lager yeast instead of ale yeast. This crisp classic style serves as a showcase for the hops, with the malt letting them shine,” She explained. “We used the 6th annual Pink Boots Society® Hop Blend from Yakima Chief Hops. It was a blend of Loral, Ekuanot, and HBC 586 experimental hops.”
The Pink Boots Society® is a group of women and non-binary individuals in the craft drink industry. They advocate camaraderie amongst one another and share knowledge through their own seminar programs. The group is committed to helping one another advance in the industry and does so by raising money for educational scholarships.
Adriane is an ideal ambassador for the organization. She openly shared details of her operation and future plans for the business with the women who gathered for the event. She encouraged everyone to participate in the brewing process and, during downtimes (beer making requires patience and waiting), they swapped stories about their first craft beer experience, entertained themselves with axe throwing (courtesy of Black Axe Co), and of course, enjoyed what Bold Republic has on tap and in the kitchen.
Starting March 31, guests can enjoy a free sample flight of beers from the brewery by purchasing a ticket for the Spirit of Santa Fe Trail. Bold Republic Brewery is one of 15 venues featured on the self-guided tour of the growing Central Texas craft beverage industry, where ticketholders can enjoy exclusive offers from the participating locations through April 9.
Visit templechamber.com/spiritofsantafe for details and to purchase tickets.