Brewers have until December 15 to preorder a special blend of hops chosen by members of the Pink Boots Society. Proceeds support women who work in the beer industry.
More than 100 Pink Boots members came together to choose the blend, with support from Yakima Chief Hops, at their annual hops rub during the recent Great American Beer Festival in Denver. This year’s blend includes two parts each of the Loral and Idaho Gem varieties, plus one part each of Azacca and El Dorado.
Idaho Gem is a new variety, and this is the first year that Yakima Chief has offered it. Pink Boots board member Cat Wiest—who brews at Pelican Brewing in Pacific City, Oregon—describes the aroma as “tropical fruit, mango, pineapple, cherry, and candied fruit with a touch of citrus, white pepper, and pine.”
Yakima Chief is producing the blend in limited quantities as T-90 pellets. It is available to commercial brewers as well as homebrewers; the cost is $12.38 per pound, with $3 of that going to support training and education for Pink Boots members.
Wiest says that last year’s hops blend raised $100,000, compared to $43,000 the previous year. This money goes to the Pink Boots scholarship fund, which helps women in the beer industry attend training or classes, get certification, or go on educational tours. These scholarships are open to women working in the beer industry anywhere in the world.
“Of course, we hope to be as successful this year—if not more—with the hop blend,” Wiest says. “We do have an earlier deadline for ordering this year, so we are really trying to emphasize the importance of ordering the hops before December 15th.”
The hops can be used for any beer, but many brewers save them for a Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day. These usually take place on or around March 8, International Women’s Day, gathering women in an area together for a chance to brew together and raise awareness.
Brewers seeking a nearby Pink Boots collaboration brew can check this map [https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1TIb3m7GVxzyE6Bf_wLHwM7Psfoj0XsfT&ll=30.344058271728127%2C-81.67023745741812&z=3] for breweries known to be participating so far.
“It’s important to note that any commercial brewer—or homebrewer!—can order these hops,” Wiest says. “All over the world, teams get together and combine forces in brewhouses to create unique ales and lagers, and portions of the proceeds are then donated back to Pink Boots Society. In 2019 more than 300 breweries created a Pink Boots brew, so the fundraising potential here is huge.
“We use these funds to beef up our scholarship program. Because Pink Boots Society is not just for female brewers, but for all female beer industry professionals, we are always adding new scholarships to better serve the diverse needs of our membership.”
Photo above: The 2019 Pink Boots hops rub at GABF in Denver, courtesy of Cat Wiest.