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Together again: NM Pink Boots Society holds downsized sixth annual brew day

New Mexico Pink Boots Society members before the pandemic shutdown. (Courtesy of The Pink Boots Society)

The New Mexico Pink Boots Society has been unable to gather for about a year due to the pandemic.

March 6, 2020, was the last time members were able to get together for the group’s annual brew day. The society annually brews a beer to benefit its organization on National Women’s Day. It was uncertain whether the society could meet for this year’s brew day. But where there is a will, there is a way, and the society held its sixth annual brew day on March 31 at Rio Bravo Brewing Co.

“Obviously, it’s gonna be a little bit smaller than usual,” Jess Griego, head of the New Mexico Pink Boots Society, said before the brew day. “We’re going to have to be mindful about space and mask wearing and all those things. But we’re still moving forward with the beer. Just because last year, it was actually the Pink Boots brew day was the last time we were all together before we got shut down. So that’s kind of been, like, everyone’s just reminder of what we loved about the industry before COVID. So we’re excited to continue the tradition.”

Pink Boots Society members brewed a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. The recipe was designed by Rio Bravo Brewing Co. brewer Lindsey Baker.

“(We’re) so really excited to have a female-crafted recipe and beer this year,” Griego said. “I’d absolutely like to see more women in brewing positions in the industry. And so it’s really exciting to get her involved and have her leading the whole brew day.”

Baker’s ale will have notes of dark fruit with a touch of subtle candy.

“We will be brewing a Belgian Golden Strong Ale with notes of plum and cherry with a hint of bubble gum,” Baker said. “Fruity esters with a dry finish.”

The ale is tentatively expected to be ready sometime in April. It will be available at several participating breweries, including Bosque Brewing Co., Canteen Brewhouse, New Mexico Ferments, Red Door Brewing Co., Rio Bravo Brewing Co., Second Street Brewery, Sidetrack Brewing Co., Steel Bender Brewyard and Tractor Brewing Co.

“Fermentation normally takes about two to three weeks,” Griego said. “So we’re thinking mid-April. And we’re going to be releasing it on draft and in package, so all of the participating breweries, most of them are going to have both.”

Previous to 2020, the society’s annual beer had been released on draft for four years. That changed with the pandemic shutdowns.

“Obviously, because we were all shut down, we had to convert the beer that we made into package,” Griego said. “That was the first time we’ve ever released in cans. There was just a really high demand for on-premise beer. So this year, we’re going to do both, which is exciting. So we’ll have the opportunity for people who are still interested in picking things up and taking them home, they’ll have that option at all of our participating breweries, as well as having it on draft at the taprooms.”

Proceeds from the beer benefit educational programs offered through the Pink Boots Society. The society was created to empower female beer professionals to advance their careers in the beer industry through education.

New Mexico Pink Boots Society members range from New Mexico college students currently enrolled in brewing programs to brewery managers and owners. The group has about 50 members now, and membership is growing, Griego said.

“We usually see a big bump in memberships after the brew day,” Griego said. “So I’m expecting probably about 75 (members) by the end of this year, hopefully. We kind of were on hiatus last year. A lot of the educational events, the happy hour and things that we generally do, were canceled. It’s kind of kicking off our chapter again in so many ways.”

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