Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chicago's Women of Craft Beer - 2014 Edition

Last May we coordinated Chicago Craft Beer Week's first ever event celebrating Chicago's own women in the brewing industry. About a dozen female brewers connected to brew a collaboration beer at Rock Bottom Chicago, dubbed “99 Problems”. The ginger and chamomile Saison was tapped as part of our event at Riverview Tavern. Hundreds of people came out for the event; it was overwhelming and wonderful to see and feel so much support.

Over the past year the women featured in last year's article have continued to grown and earn much deserved successes. Ashleigh Arnold who was brewing at Two Brothers is now Midwest Field Manager for New Belgium Brewing. Tracy Hurst is leading Metropolitan through an exciting expansion that will soon include a retail space. Lorna Juett is now on the other side of the bar, selling some of the country's best beer brands for Windy City Distribution. Claudia Jendron left Goose Island to help start Evanston's first brewery - Temperance Beer Company. Their spacious 20-barrel brew house has been busy making beer since last August and hired the help of Assistant Brewer, Amber Hencinski. It only seemed fitting to hold this year's women's brew day at Temperance with Claudia and Amber.

On April 29th we had an astounding 35 women come for the brew day, representing 13 breweries as well brewpubs, beer stores, distributors and educators. We brewed a session Pale Ale called "When Life Gives You Melons", dry hopped with German Hull Melon hops, provided by Bonnie Steinman of Hop Head Farms.

100% of the proceeds from our collaboration beer served at Riverview Tavern will go to the Chicago Chapter of Dress For Success, a charity that promotes the economic independence of women in need.

(Groups represented: Temperance Beer Co., Rock Bottom Chicago, Ale Syndicate, Begyle Brewing, Urban Legend Brewing, DryHop Brewers, Revolution Brewing, Solemn Oath Brewing, Two Brothers Brewing, Goose Island Beer Co., New Belgium Brewing, Panic Brewing, The Beer Temple, The Green Lady, Hop Head Farm, Binny's Beverage Depot, Cicerone Program, Louis Glunz Beer, CHAOS Brew Club, Hail To The Ale.)

Below is an introduction to another group of talented women who are continuing to shape and represent the Midwest Craft Beer scene. We hope to see you at Riverview Tavern for the 2nd Annual "Celebrating Women of Craft Beer" event TONIGHT to say hi and share a pint with the women who are making brewing history!

Erin Lowder, is the GM of Operations for Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville. Erin and her cat, Marsellus are both beer lovers, with Belgian IPA's being the favorite at the moment. The upcoming Oath Day is one of her favorite events, which celebrates the brewery's anniversary. It's an opportunity for everyone - friends, family, beer lovers - to get together and imbibe. This year they'll be setting up ramps in the new space and having a skate demo by the Bluetown Skateboards crew. Her words of wisdom for being a young woman working with a bunch of beer dudes "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Abby Kempf Marketing & Community Relations Manager for Ale Syndicate, still hasn't found a style of craft beer that she didn't enjoy trying. Ale Syndicate's Municipal IPA is almost always in her fridge. Burton Baton, Daisy Cutter, Meantime Porter are all ones she picks up with frequency when she can find them. Abby expressed appreciation for some of the local female business owners that have taken time to talk, mentor, offer help or just chat about beer. "Sonat from Koval, Melani from The Green Lady, Tracy from Metro, Melissa from Big Buzz Events are good examples of women who have a lot on their plate, but took time out of their schedules to help me in some way," shared Abby.

Jess Straka is the Area Rep for Revolution Brewing. Like many of us she was first exposed to craft beer during college. While in Champagne, IL the opening of Blind Pig and Crane Alley made craft beer more accessible. She learned a lot from the bartenders there, embracing the "try 'em all" mentality. When asked about her go-to beer she shared, "Five years ago I would’ve said barrel-aged anything. But these days I appreciate a well-made session beer like a craft lager or balanced pale ale," with beers like Revolutions’s Cross of Gold, Metropolitan’s Flywheel and Two Brothers' Sidekick stocked in her fridge.

JP Pfafflin is the Cicerone Certification Program's Midwest Exam Manager. According to JP's high school journal her love for craft beer has been long lived, sharing how much she was anticipating taking "Microbrewing 101" at UW-Madison. Upon remembering her first taste of New Glarus' Belgian Red she said, "There was something comforting about knowing this beer was made only a half-hour away, and made by people who really cared about the craft. Pair the aforementioned New Glarus Belgian Red with a blue cheese (a Wisconsin-made one, natch) and it will fucking sing."

Margaret Quinn, is Owner of The Beer Temple craft beer bottle shop in Avondale, with her husband Chris. Her love of craft beer especially blossomed with a trip to Europe. "Chris and I experienced a thriving beer culture and visited breweries, bottle shops and cafĂ©’s that highlighted beer the same way many places in the U.S. feature wine." Her love of beer doesn't end with a good IPA – Margaret and Chris seriously contemplated naming their dog Gumball Head when adopting him, but in the end kept his given name, Maximus, which turns out to be a Lagunitas reference, so it worked!

Jennifer Glunz Faulk, Director of Marketing for Louis Glunz Beer was raised working within the family business, but shared that her passion was ignited when rejoining after 20+ years in other industries. The new start allowed her to explore and understand the industry from all aspects. Her favorite part of the business is the passion and unique stories of their brewery partners. "When you listen to how each of them got started in this industry – it is the American Dream. Some have risked it all, and our job as their distributor is to share that dream and run with it in Chicagoland to make it a reality," shared Jen. She is also the Founder of and is very proud to be helping their brewery partners provide glassware and POS to the public.

Eileen Garrity is the Creative & Communications Manager for DryHop Brewers in Lakeview. They have been open just shy of a year and thanks to Eileen's hard work have held an unbelievable amount of of awesome events – collaborating with local artists and breweries and most recently the Lincoln Park Zoo. Eileen shared her favorite part of the industry being "hands down, the people. The Chicago craft beer community is really welcoming and the entrepreneurial, hard-working, passionate spirit of the industry is contagious." Aside from all of their great events, Great Taste of the Midwest is her favorite festival to be a part of. 2014 will be her 8th year going, 2nd with DryHop.

Melani Domingues, Owner and Beer Director of The Green Lady in Lakeview has a love affair with sour and wild ales. It all began the first time she tried Duchesse de Bourgogne which left her palate eager to devour all beer sour, Belgian, and funky. She loves the passion that the brewers have for making beer and feels fortunate to be the one caring for and serving it to the public. Her advice to women in the industry, "Know that you belong wherever it is you want to be as long as you put in the work to achieve it. No apologies, no excuses, you alone are responsible for your quality of work."

Keli Platek, Sales Demon of Half Acre Beer and fearless craft beer lover had her first sip when she "accidentally" found an ID on the ground and "accidentally" used it to buy a bomber of Fat Tire. Her current beer obsession are session beers, anything well balanced with complex flavors. Keli's advice on learning to become authoritative and not a "bitch", "Forget it's male driven. Work your ass off and everyone will forget you have a vagina. If you want to do it, you fucking can. But, that also means forgetting about your social life. If your philosophical view of life is to work 3 days and relax 4, you’re in the wrong god damn business."

Bonnie Steinman, Director of Whoopass at Hop Head Farms in Hickory Corners, MI has the strength to handle whatever challenges come her way, including proving that they can do hops right in the Midwest. Growing hops isn't just a job, it is a passion – she has hops growing anywhere and everywhere possible at home. Bonnie's love for beer started while in Kalamazoo in the mid 90's. The Corner Bar was her go-to place, with 9 of 12 taps being craft beer, which was a lot back then. She made some of her best friends there, tasting every beer that would come through on tap together. She's enjoyed watching the beer community in Michigan grow into what it is today.