Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chicago's Women of Craft Beer - 2015 Edition

Join us for the 3rd Annual 
"Celebrating Women of Craft Beer" event
May 21st at Riverview Tavern (1958 W Roscoe), 7pm - ?

As we embark upon Chicago Craft Beer Week and the third year of hosting Chicago's celebration of women in craft beer, it is hard not to reminisce on how much has happened.

In Chicago alone female brewmasters have quadrupled, quietly but fiercely kicking ass in the rapidly growing craft beer movement. Female enthusiasts have spoken loud and clear, making up at least one-third to half of festival attendance, where it used to be difficult to spot more than a few in a sea of beards and testosterone. Awareness and appreciation has amplified through numerous social and educational organizations such as Pink Boots Society, Barley's Angels, She's Crafty, Girls Pint Out, Girls Drink Beer, Women Working in Mixed Media, Pussycat Beer Guild, Fermenta... the list goes on and on – and we couldn't be happier!

This year, in celebration of the 3rd Annual Women of Craft Beer event we have more brewers involved than ever, taking over ALL 26 TAPS at Riverview Tavern. Each beer represents our local women, in addition to event-exclusive firkins. Breweries involved include Temperance, Rock Bottom Chicago, Begyle, Penrose, Goose Island, Revolution, Lagunitas, Metropolitan, Rude Hippo, Motor Row, Church Street, Forbidden Root, 5 Rabbit, DryHop, Two Brothers and Right Bee Cider.

Proceeds from select pints and raffle tickets at Riverview Tavern will go to the Chicago Chapter of Dress For Success, a charity that promotes the economic independence of women in need.

Below is an introduction to some uber talented women who are continuing to shape the Midwest Craft Beer scene. We hope to see you at Riverview Tavern TONIGHT to say hi and share a pint with the women who are making brewing history!

Amanda Bates, Head Brewer at Motor Row had her first amazing beer on a trip to Freiburg, Germany. "I didn't know what it was, but I was blown away that beer could taste good. When I started learning more about beer in the years after that experience, I figured out that I had been drinking Weissbier!" These days she gravitates toward beer with distinct, clean flavors that demonstrate a high level of precision in process and attention to detail for ingredients in recipe formulation, which influences her brewing no doubt. Words of wisdom: "We should all give people the benefit of the doubt that they don't want to be sexist. Some people just don't know when they are crossing that line. Calling people out for saying sexist/heterosexist things is the only way they will learn that your work environment is not a comfy place for that sort of talk."

Diana Rodgriguez started at Goose Island's Fulton Brewery as an intern and is now a full time Brewer, responsible for our favorite barrel-aged beers. In fact, one of the 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout variants will be a recipe that Diana designed as an intern! (We begged to know which one, but her lips are sealed). In a short time she has recognized how amazing the camaraderie and support of the craft beer industry is, adding "Always give the respect that you want to receive. Show your strengths through your work and not through your words."

If you've been to a beer, cider or spirits event in the last few years, you've most likely seen Hilary Jurinak in action at the Binny's booth. Now Communications Coordinator, she began working at Binny's Marcey Street during college and fell in love with craft beer pretty quickly. Her go-to beers are Left Hand Milk Stout and Lagunitas DayTime. Hilary has visited 50 breweries throughout 8 states and anticipates making it 100 breweries by next fall! Hilary is also the Liaison for Pink Boots Society's Chicago Chapter. Her words of wisdom: Be confident with yourself and your decisions. “With confidence, you have won before you have started.” - Marcus Garvey

Jacquie Armanetti has been involved with some of the city's best breweries and bars over the years, but her love of craft beer started while working at Paramount Room. She shared that the late Shawn Koch taught her to love and appreciate all different styles of beer, as well as how to pronounce half of them. Thoughts on being a woman in the industry: "Women prove themselves hard working, competent, and a driving force in every industry, and beer is no different. Today, women have the weight of the world on their shoulders more than ever! Balancing home, family, and a business is something women do daily without celebration. We need to stick together and support each other in a non-judgmental way to help forward movement."

Kate Brankin is a Brewer and Do-er of media things at Pipeworks Brewing. She loves how open-minded, adventurous and supportive craft brewers are, with a community that respects craftsmanship and quality. She has found a lot of inspiration from experimental spirits maker and cocktail lover Mhairi Voelsgen, of BroVo Spirits. Kate's own advice: "Pursue curiosities to their fullest end. Be open to criticism, be proud of your accomplishments. Remember that there is no one else in the world who has your specific and unique perspective – value that."

Meet Katie Morgan, "Queen Bee" and Co-Owner of locally-crafted Right Bee Cider, with her husband Charlie. She first discovered the delicious beverage while studying abroad in the UK and Ireland. On May 4th they won the Sam Adams “Brewing the American Dream” competition in Chicago with a two minute ‘shark tank’ style business pitch. Keep an eye out as they head to the National finals in NYC this December! Katie's words of wisdom – "There is no substitute for hard work. Your gender has nothing to do with creating a quality product. No excuses."

Lisa Gregory left the world of healthcare to open Church Street Brewing with her husband Joe, in 2012. "I’ve enjoyed beer forever, but I’d say in the last 10 years I’ve really started appreciating different styles of beer." Their focus is on Old World European-style lagers, with the "Heavenly Helles" being one of Lisa's favorites to have on hand. She admits there were some hurdles breaking into the beer industry, but with her finance MBA and passion for success, she plays an integral role in running the family business. Even their two dogs have positions at the brewery!

Begyle Brewer and Quality Control champion, Liz French, shared that Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA was her craft beer game changer. Previously a stout and porter fan, the deliciously resinous and complex IPA opened her mind towards exploring new styles and flavors with enthusiasm. Liz says entering the industry with limited knowledge about how to actually brew was a small hurdle. (May we add, she had just graduated with a PhD in Microbiology and is modestly brilliant). "Head Brewer, Matt Ritchey, has taught me so much about the process, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for everything he has learned and passed on to me."

Rude Hippo Brewer Marilee Rutherford's first sip of beer was a homebrew made by her Mom and Grandfather. "God it was good. My Mom had to cut me off at age 6, which is why I really didn't get into beer again until the hubster (Karl Rutherford) and I started homebrewing in my late 20's." Her favorite thing about the industry is the endless imagination, knowledge, passion and tenacity of the people around her, providing opportunities to continually learn, collect and re-carve in her own way. With a more than full plate, Marilee's focus is on building their brand and marketplace presence, in addition to brewing outstanding beer. "Women are blazing trails, kicking ass and taking names, and thanks to the magic of the interwebs, we’re able to be connected to and inspired by those women and their accomplishments."

The Half Acre Taproom has built a team of kick-ass lady Bartenders, including the lovely Rebecca Denton. When she's not slinging some of the city's best beer, she can be found mud wrestling for women's charities – yes, mud wrestling – as "Annie Anthrax" of the Chicago MudQueens (her record is 5-2). Their last event sold a record number of raffle tickets, thanks to the craft beer industry, with donations from Half Acre, Pipeworks, Three Floyds, Spiteful and others. Her other passion is cupcakes, "Tell me your favorite beer, and I'll make you a cupcake that tastes just like it. Then let's eat them and drink that beer. Yum!"

Goose Island Beer Educator, Patti Mandel has a family heritage of slinging booze. Her Great Great Grandfather made moonshine out of the basement and sold it at their family owned candy store in Detroit. These days she keeps a nice rotating stock of beers in her fridge, with a couple bottles of Goose Island Sofie around at all times. On being a woman in the industry: "Take on the challenges and adversities that you will encounter with grace, tact and confidence. There is nothing more inspirational than a woman who pursues what she wants, does the beer industry justice and accomplishes her goals with elegance."

Virginia Thomas, Business Manager at Cicerone Certification Program, single handedly converted an old freezer into a two-tap kegerator for her house. Let's just say her husband and roommate are forever grateful. Her favorite Craft Beer Week event is the Brown Line Brews, which showcases a lot of great, local breweries and is very low-key, yet fun, offering the opportunity to chat with brewers over a pint. Virginia's words of wisdom – "For me, education helped me be taken seriously in a male-dominated field. That, and the fact that I don't take crap from anyone!"

Still didn't get your fill of Chicago's women of craft beer? Check out our previous years posts
Chicago's Women of Craft Beer - 2014 Edition
Chicago's Women of Craft Beer - 2013 Edition