Dangerous Man Brewing bartender Grace Sell is a self-described “heavy snoozer.” When her alarm goes off most mornings, it marks the beginning of a process that finally ends with her getting out of bed about an hour later.
But today was different.
“I only snoozed once!” she exclaimed with pride to taproom manager Maggie Pears, who was also uncharacteristically up and at ’em right away this morning.
The reason behind all the excitement? An all-women brew day at Dangerous Man in honor of International Women’s Day and the Pink Boots Society’s Big Boots Brew day.
Seven of the brewery’s 13 female employees, who make up half of Dangerous Man’s total staff, showed up early this morning to mash in, rake out and haul spent grain, and add hops to the boil. More women staff members were coming by later in the day, and many were taking time off from their regular day jobs to be there. While they get together fairly regularly at the brewery, after hours for drinks, or work taproom shifts together, Pears, who organized the brew day, said today was special for the women of Dangerous Man.
“We decided, let’s do something badass for International Women’s Day and do more than our regular jobs,” she said. “Let’s all have a part in creating something that we can be proud of when it comes out.”
They decided to put their own spin on one of the recipes the Pink Boots Society created for Big Boots Brew day. The beer, which was originally billed as a “Historical Ale,” includes a base of Malting Company of Ireland stout malt, a mix of Warrior, Mt. Hood, and Select hops with Ella and Ahtanum being use for dry hopping, and a hybrid French-Belgian saison yeast strain. But the star of the show is the huge dose of buckwheat honey that will be added about 10 minutes before the end of the boil. It’s a unique beer that Pears expects to turn out earthy, spicy, and slightly fruity, with low bitterness and high aromatics.
Every Dangerous Man employee is required to spend a day brewing a beer with owner Rob Miller as part of their orientation, and Pears said they were using today as another educational opportunity to learn from Miller. She said when it comes to really understanding a beer and being able to educate customers about it, seeing the specs and ingredients on a piece of paper pales in comparison to actually being present for the brewing process. Samples of every ingredient were laid out on the bar for the staff to smell and taste individually, along with samples of the wort at various stages.
Pears has been at Dangerous Man essentially since they opened the doors four years ago. She said in general the local scene has grown in terms of being inclusive of women, though she’s still dumbfounded by some of the sexist marketing and labels she sees from breweries on the national scene.
“There’s been so much change in the industry over the last five years,” she said. “As the industry has grown, the consumer base has grown and so has the awareness […] Women love beer too, and I hate the assumption that they don’t.”
Inclusion is an important value for Dangerous Man as a business, and creating a welcoming and open space for all people is something that’s personally important to Pears as the taproom manager. She and other bartenders there pride themselves on helping educate people who may be new to craft beer, regardless of their gender or background.
“We have such a strong group of women here who help foster that sense of inclusion,” Pears said.
The beer brewed today by the women of Dangerous Man will hit their taproom sometime in early April. Pears said they’ll likely host a special event for its release and donate a portion of the proceeds of the beer to a local cause that helps support women. They made a donation to the Pink Boots Society as a show of support for Big Boots Brew and their overall mission of supporting women in the beer industry.
As far the name of the beer? That was still being discussed too, but an early frontrunner was Don’t Call Me Honey, Honey (and knowing the women behind the beer, we suggest you take that advice).