Summit Suds: Breckenridge Brewery celebrates International Women’s Day with Boochie Mama
Sunday, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and Breckenridge Brewery is honoring the day with a special beer for the second year in a row. Following the successful Hazy Jane Double Coconut IPA last year, Sunday will see the release of Boochie Mama, a kombucha-inspired kettle sour Berliner weisse. The beer was made with 2.5 pounds of matcha tea, 5 pounds of gunpowder green tea, 15 pounds of ginger and 250 pounds of pineapple puree.
What makes the beer special is that $1 per pour will go toward a scholarship for women in the Beer Industry Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
“It’s such a male-dominated industry that we really encourage and hope that women would be more of a part of it,” Breckenridge Brewery brewer Suzanne Nance said. Nance was one of the first two female brewers in the county — the other being the recent addition of The Bakers’ Brewery assistant brewer Mary Cosenza — and has been involved with Breckenridge Brewery’s Women in Beer chapter since its inception in 2018.
Like the scholarship, the chapter isn’t focused solely on brewing but supports any woman in the industry’s varied roles. While Nance was at the helm of recipe creation, Boochie Mama was a collaborative effort between female employees from the company’s Breckenridge and Littleton locations. About 15 nonbrewing employees from Littleton made the trek to help Nance out during the brew day in January. When the beer was completed, those same women then handled the marketing, sales, logistics, artwork and social media for the product.
Coincidentally, Nance got her matcha from the Los Angeles company Matcha Source on a whim, and she then discovered that its founder, Alissa White, is a woman. Nance called White to discuss how they could properly marry the flavors of the beer and tea.
Another women-centric ingredient in the beer is the proprietary blend of hops made by Yakima Chief Hops and Pink Boots Society. More than 100 members of the Pink Boots Society — a nonprofit that assists women in the beer industry — chose the hops during the 2019 Great American Beer Festival. The blend consists of Azacca, El Dorado, Idaho Gem and Loral hops.
“From start to finish, it truly is an all-women’s collaboration,” Nance said.
Nance has been at Breckenridge Brewery for 16 years, mainly as a bartender, but she started brewing only a little over three years ago when head brewer Jimmy Walker and lead brewer Blake Schwalls reached out to her.
“I immediately knew it was the right choice when I couldn’t put my brewing books down and looking for all sorts of information that I could find on the craft,” Nance said.
Because she often can be seen serving behind the bar, guests are sometimes surprised that she brewed the beer, as well.
“But it’s a pleasant surprise,” Nance said. “It’s always in awe, and I’m certainly celebrated for being a woman in the male-dominated industry, but I would love to see someday that not be a surprise. But until that happens, I’ll go with it.”
Though she was the first female brewer in Summit County, she was welcomed into the community with open arms.
“Our little club of brewers here in Summit County, The Summit County United Brewers Alliance, they have always been super encouraging and highly supportive of me making beer,” Nance said. “They’re always up to share knowledge and swap ideas and share ingredients. I couldn’t have a better support system.”
The bond made it easy to pick the brain of Broken Compass Brewing owner Jason Ford on how to use coconut last year and ginger this year since Broken Compass has experience brewing with the ingredients for its Ginger Pale Ale and Coconut Porter. Nance also met with Brandon Capps of Arvada’s New Image Brewing, known for its Dyad kombucha ale, to learn more about making the style.
The 6% alcohol-by-volume Boochie Mama is only available on draft in Breckenridge or Littleton. I found it to be sour, but not so sour that you stop after one puckering sip. It is shandy-esque with a crisp lemony citrus profile.
Sweetness from the pineapple cuts any tart aftertaste, making it pleasant and approachable. Naturally, it’s reminiscent of Broken Compass’ Ginger Pale Ale and has a light body from the tea. It would make a great summer beer, but as the snow warms up, sunny spring will have to do.
Get yourself to the brewery now to support a worthy cause before the taps dry up.
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