It’s a chilly Friday morning and Huss Brewery is buzzing. Dozens of women from more than 30 breweries around the state have gathered at the Tempe brewery, each donning swag representing their brewery affiliation. Conversation flows as the smell of the steeping mash fills the room and the women prepare to create the first official all-female brewed beer in Arizona. The collaborative beer will be tapped later as a part of the kickoff for Arizona Beer Week, a 10-day celebration of craft beer set to go down all over the state in about a month.
The gathering comes thanks to an idea from Billie McGovern of Prescott Brewing Company. McGovern wanted to promote not only Arizona and its growing craft beer scene, but also the many women involved in the male-dominated industry. From there, she says, collaboration was an easy jump.
“Craft brewing is all about working together,” McGovern says. “In a sense, collaborations are defining of craft brew.”
Whether borrowing a piece of equipment or a loan of malt, barley, or hops, Arizona's craft-brewing community has always been forthcoming when it comes to lending a hand. As such, it didn’t take much for Leah and Jeff Huss, owners of Huss Brewing Company, to jump onboard and offer their brewery for the event.
With talented brewers such as Christina Wolfe of Wanderlust Brewing Company in Flagstaff and Melissa Osborne of Four Peaks Brewing Company at the helm during the brewing process and recipe creation, the all-woman brewed beer already has been met with anticipation in the craft beer community. And in addition to highlighting Arizona's female brewers, it also reflects on brewers past. From Nankasi — not just a brewery in Oregon, but also the Sumerian goddess of beer in ancient Mesopotamia — to the tavern keepers and brewers of Colonial America, the history of brewing has always been tied to the history of women.
The collaborative brew, a red IPA aptly named She So Hop, was also brewed with women’s heart health in mind. With February being Heart Health Awareness Month, all proceeds from the beer's sales will go toward the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign.
The beer was made with caramel malt, hops, rolled oats – oh, and did we mention hops? The brew had additional hops, all donated from local breweries throughout the state, added at 15-, 30-, and 90-minute intervals throughout the brewing process.
She's So Hop will be released statewide on Thursday, February 11, with an inaugural first tapping and toast to be held at Yucca Tap Room in Tempe at 5 p.m.
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For more information and other Arizona Beer Week events, visit the Arizona Beer Week website.