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On International Women’s Day, female brewers team up for special Pink Boots beer

Arianna Auber
One of Vista Brewing's first beers will be a Zwickle Pilsner made as an International Women's Day Pink Boots brew. The Hill Country brewery opens next month.

Women in the beer industry — or who drink beer — are still a minority bunch, according to statistics from the Brewers’ Association.

We’re a passionate bunch, though.

One day a year, many of the industry’s women join forces to make a one-off beer. Pink Boots Society, a nonprofit whose mission is to raise the profile of women in the craft beer industry, organizes the Pink Boots Collaborative Brew Day around the country and the world every year on International Women’s Day, March 8. 

On that day, a mix of female brewers, bartenders, sales associates and others — who might not even work at the brewery participating in the brew — create the beginnings of a beer together.

Oftentimes, the Pink Boots beer is the same style at each participating brewery, with differences coming from hop profile, malt build and other tweaks. This year, however, the organization created a special hops blend comprised of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral that each brewery can incorporate in whatever beer style they like.

Austin-area breweries like Hops & Grain, Middleton Brewing and the upcoming Vista Brewing are among the participants. 

Vista, which is opening next month in the Texas Hill Country, held the Pink Boots brew day a few days early this week. A handful of women — including me and Vista’s co-founder, Karen Killough — teamed up with Vista head brewer Josh Watterson to make an easy-drinking Zwickle Pilsner, an unfiltered and unpasteurized German-style lager.

It’ll serve as one of the first tastes people will get of the destination brewery, though other beers are in the works as well. According to Killough, the special blend of hops provides a “a very fragrant aroma of citrus and pine. These were added as a dry-hop addition to accentuate the body without compromising the balance and drinkability.”

Unfortunately for beer drinkers who might want a beer today to toast to the empowering message behind International Women’s Day, the Pink Boots brew won’t be ready until the end of March or early April, depending on its style.

But there are other places around town to go for a celebratory pint. 

St. Elmo Brewing in South Austin will have a very small batch of Bey, a honey blonde ale releasing in the taproom today, with 50 percent of the proceeds going toward local nonprofit Girls Rock Austin. As a pilot beer, it’ll likely go quickly. So will Solange, a tart saison and the second beer release of the day.

And East Austin’s Batch Craft Beer and Kolaches — which had the big news last week that it’s opening a brewery program — is hosting a live reading of the children’s book “Rad American Women from A-Z.” While your kids learn about some of the women responsible for making this country great, you can enjoy a glass of beer benefiting Planned Parenthood.

All proceeds from Jolly Pumpkin’s Isla Estraña and Jester King Brewery’s Mad Meg kegs will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. Batch will also donate the proceeds from a special Jester King Nocturn jam kolache. Don’t miss the live reading from 6 to 8 p.m. today.

Other places commemorating International Women’s Day include the Rattletree School of Marimba, which is hosting a night of female-led music.