Brewing History – An Ale Brewster Tale
This March 8th 2017 we celebrate International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is, Be Bold For Change.
Brewing Bold Evolution
It is thought that beer is a man’s world. Well, not quite! It was created by women which progressed to men and is now returning to a woman’s domain from where historically it originated. Long before Monks created their Mead, according to archeologists and historians, women were the original brewers with records dating back to Ancient Egypt.
Women brewed ale for religious ceremonies but more importantly as a daily ration which probably was a lot healthier for the family. If there was any left over, they would sell it in their villages and towns. Sounds like female commerce right! With that in mind, it’s no wonder women are considered better brewers in the craft brewing industry. Women overall, tend to be more discerning about varietal flavors. It’s in their genetics.
It’s Not a Gender Thing
The fact that women and brewing has seemingly come full circle is more than an interesting fact. But today, more and more women are not only enjoying a nice cold one, they are getting into the business full tilt as Brewsters. If we look at Wikipedia, “Alewife, also brewess or brewster, is a historical term for a woman who brewed ale for commercial sale.”
“Some historians say they may have participated in some of the world’s earliest commerce as they sold their beer with new forms of bookkeeping and writing. Women were encouraged to work as tavern keepers and professional bakers/brewers.”
Here in Alberta, we’re known as the “pioneering province with a pioneering spirit and if any place can bring more women into brewing it is Alberta!”
Crafting Alberta Agriculture
The quest to create a “thoroughly Albertan brew” consisting of Alberta only ingredients is a challenge that Jordan Ramey, a brewing science instructor at Olds College has been Hoppy to work on. Just ask the ladies at Northern Girls Hops. Alberta may not be the best place to grow Hops but, these ladies have reinvented the farm and are creating history while adding to their family legacy. They’ve learned that the same Hops grown in different areas will produce different flavors. It may be a young industry in Alberta but one that has many rewards.
What’s a Kottbusser?
Well for this year’s International Women’s Day, the Ladies of the Pink Boots Society have a tradition where they create a Big Boots Brew in celebration of International Women’s Day. One might also say it’s their way of paying homage to their ancestry of women Brewsters.
According to Zoei Thibault, Big Boots Women’s Brew Organizer at Olds; “So the style we’re brewing for this year’s Big Boots Brew is called a Kottbusser. It’s an old German style that died out when Reinheitsgebot was introduced back in 1516, due to the large portion of wheat and oats that are present in the grain bill. It’s not too far off in style to a honey wheat ale, except it includes the addition of molasses and is lagered for a short period.”
Women’s Intuition is the Best Vision
Speaking about women in business, another business savvy woman that is a leading force, happens to be right here at Aspen Crossing. Donna Biggar is the General Manager and has a keen sense of how to ensure the visions of her partner and co-owner, Jason Thornhill, are created right down to the very last detail(s). While Aspen Crossing has been evolving for the past 13 years, they are now in their 3rd year offering an Ales on Rails train excursion. Just one of over 11 different themed train tours offered at this rural prairie tourist destination.
This year’s goal is to have a Craft Brew under the Aspen Crossing name. What do you think it should taste like? Why not come out and sample some of Alberta’s best offerings, mix and mingle with friends while enjoying a 3-hour train journey through this prairie oasis. It’s the perfect experience to share with family and friends!