Long, long ago, in a more innocent time, many of the women in our craft brewing industry gathered together at Canteen Brewhouse to create a special beer. Yes, in those days of yore, otherwise known as early March, the 2020 collaboration brew for the New Mexico chapter of the Pink Boots Society came into this world. And then, like everything else, it had to wait and wait as the pandemic shut down just above everything.
Well, good news, because Essential Pie is making its way from the brite tanks to the tap handles at four breweries and into cans that will be sold at nine more. For a refresher course on the details of this beer, why it was brewed, and the Pink Boots Society, I caught up with chapter president Jessica Griego of Bosque Brewing.
“That was the (last) weekend before everyone closed,” she recalled of the festive March 6 gathering. “We had no idea what was in store for any of us that day. Everyone has been talking about how it was the last time we’d been together, the last positive memory before the world changed. I’m really glad to get this beer out as we’re reopening.”
The good news is that it did not hurt Essential Pie at all to stay in the tanks for a while longer.
“This was Zach’s idea, which is really fun,” Jessica said of Canteen head brewer Zach Guilmette. “It’s an American fruited sour. The intention is for it to be reminiscent of fruited pie. We added graham crackers to the mash. Everyone was a little worried it might get stuck in the mash, (but) it actually went smoothly. We added cranberry, raspberry and dark cherry puree. It had that tartness in there like a sour. It has that sweet malt, (almost a) pie crust backbone.”
So basically it is a dessert beer coming out for the start of a weekend, which is perfect timing. If you need further incentive to buy this, it was brewed for a good cause, too.
“A portion will got to the national Pink Boots to fund scholarships to help women in the industry,” Jessica said. “Some are through prestigious universities. Monica (Mondragon, of Santa Fe Brewing) was a winner of a previous scholarship that sent her to Germany a few years ago. A portion will go to that, the rest will come to our chapter in New Mexico.
“Last year we used those to host the off-flavor training course at CNM, we’ve done forklift training (at Rio Bravo). I was really trying to get a pulse from the group for this year. We’ve got about 60 members now. We’re using the money in our own New Mexico chapter account to provide those educational opportunities.”
The 13 overall participating breweries are split between the four offering it on draft only — Brew Lab 101, Rio Bravo, Steel Bender, Toltec — and the other nine that are selling it in cans — Bosque, Canteen, Ex Novo, Marble, Red Door, Santa Fe, Second Street, Sidetrack, and Tractor.
If those awesome can labels look reminiscent of others you have seen, they were designed by Second Street’s Mariah Scee, who just took home three national medals from the Craft Beer Marketing Awards. Her design for the limited edition cans of Skookum Barleywine was named the People’s Choice award winner and received a golden “Crushie,” and she won a second golden for her Agua Fria Pilsner can design. So yeah, this beer was brewed by women, it will be packaged by women, and the can design was created by a woman. Pretty awesome, huh?
Jessica did add that due to a slight delay on the labels arriving, the beer will not be canned until Friday morning, so it might not be available at every brewery selling cans right when they opened. Jessica promised to drive the cans to every spot herself, if necessary, to ensure that customers can enjoy it this weekend.
A big thanks to Jessica for taking a little time away from her day job to chat over the phone. We also thank and salute all the women involved in the creation of this beer, and look forward to drinking it over the weekend ourselves.
Keep supporting local!