SHERIDAN — Grey shirts with pink logos and clear safety glasses were the in-vogue fashion for empowered women Friday at Black Tooth Brewing Company. A mix of female brewmasters, front-of-house managers, quality-assurance directors and owners collaborated with the Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild and Pink Boots Society on International Women’s Day to create a brew specifically to celebrate women.
Breweries in Jackson also participated, making a beer with Belgian yeast, while women from Sheridan and Johnson counties created a session IPA with a lower alcohol content and a fresh, light taste. Women employees from Mishap! Brewery, Luminous Brewhouse and Smith Alley Brewing Company and Public House all collaborated with the Black Tooth Brewing Company brewery to concoct the “Whoa Nellie,” which will be available for the public on the same launch date in early April.
Only a few of the women in attendance work specifically in the brewery operations of their establishments, so Black Tooth brewmasters, along with Wyoming Craft Brewers Guild Executive Director Michelle Forster, led the women through the brewing process. By noon, the brewing process for Whoa Nellie was in full swing. The name derives from Wyoming’s first female governor, Nellie Tayloe Ross.
The event, meant to empower and educate women in the craft beer industry, is just the start to regional collaboration among women in the industry.
“In November, we want to start planning for next year’s and really start thinking about what flavor profile, what do we want the beer to actually look like and taste like,” said Kathryn Law, front-of-house manager for Luminous Brewhouse.
Women are fairly well-represented in the craft beer industry already in Wyoming, and brewmaster Emily Nielsen of Mishap! in Buffalo sees the benefit of her presence in their brewery daily.
Nielsen has liked beer “since it was legal to love.” Her brother owns Mishap!, which is where Nielsen first became interested in the craft brew process. Little by little, her brother would teach her elements of the process. He eventually asked her if she would take on the responsibility of head brewer, and for a little less than a year, she’s been cranking out brews for the Buffalo community and its visitors.
The special touch of a woman in the brewing process is recognized especially in the attention to detail and innate ability to multitask that brewing requires.
“I love the challenge of the whole brew aspect of it,” Nielsen said. “It’s very much about thinking on your feet and problem-solving.”
Nielsen brought her expertise to a table filled with brewers that operate different systems of differing sizes and capacities, which Law and Black Tooth Brewing Co. manager Jesse Woods said was the best part of the event.
“It’s really good for the community to see that we’re also working with each other, and we’re all in it for the craft,” Woods said.
“We feel like we want the state and the industry to see us all together and working together and supporting each other and making this industry a more special and viable industry in the state than it ever has been,” Forster said. “It’s growing exponentially at this point, but we still think there’s room for more.”
Whoa Nellie will bring a light, fresh, not-too-hoppy taste to consumers in early April at Luminous, Black Tooth, Smith Alley and Mishap!, but more importantly, it brings the taste of collaboration among women brewers in the region and statewide.