Hop Culture’s Beer With(out) Beards Festival is an event that celebrates women in the beer world. The biggest takeaway from the August event? There are a lot of women making a lot of killer beer out there. Here’s your starter’s guide to some of the best beers made by female brewers or at female-run breweries in the US.
Jagged Mountain Craft Brewery Bases Loaded Kolsch
Beer Style: Kolsch
Brewery Location: Denver, CO
Head Brewer Alyssa Thorpe was featured on the cover of the Brewers Association’s The New Brewer Magazine for a reason. This Kolsch is crisp, delicate and totally crushable. Enjoy it catching a ballgame at Coors Field down the street.
Fifth Hammer Brewing POGlodyte
Beer Style: Fruited Sour
Brewery Location: Long Island City, NY
Geographically speaking, Long Island City is nowhere near Hawaii. But that hasn’t stopped co-owner Mary Izett from making a fruited sour inspired by Hawaiian POG juice (passion fruit, orange, guava). It’s exactly what a fruited sour should be: exotic, funky and just a bit weird.
Guinness Open Gate Brewery Blonde
Beer Style: American Lager
Brewery Location: Baltimore, MD
While you may have thought that any Guinness other than the company’s classic Extra Stout or Draught Stout was foolhardy, head brewer Hollie Stephenson of the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore has proven otherwise. Named Imbibe’s 2019 Beer Person of the Year, the experimental taproom staple Guinness Blonde is a total rethink of a Guinness while fermented with the same yeast as Draught Stout. Mosaic and Citra hops are used to give a gentle hop taste and aroma that finishes crisp and pleasantly bitter.
New Belgium La Folie
Beer Style: Sour Brown Ale
Brewery Location: Fort Collins, CO
La Folie is the epitome of what a Sour Ale should be. That’s thanks to New Belgium’s Wood Cellar Director and Blender Lauren Limbach, who earlier this year received the Russell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Craft Brewing from the Brewers Association. La Folie spends one to three years in foeders (enormous vats used to age wine) and comes out a deep red to brown color.
Sante Adairius Rustic Ales Saison Bernice
Beer Style: Saison
Brewery Location: Capitola, CA
Saison Bernice is a prime example of the possibilities of farmhouse ales, a trend that Adair Paterno was well ahead of the wild on. A protracted aging process begets simple yet exquisite citrus flavors. It’s a bottle worth saving for a special occasion.
Three Weavers Brewing Company Expatriate West Coast IPA
Beer Style: West Coast IPA
Brewery Location: Los Angeles, CA
Seeing as Three Weavers brewmaster Alexandra Nowell started her brewing career at Sierra Nevada, she knows a thing or two about the West Coast IPA. Expatriate balances the bitterness of new age American hops and fruity notes flawlessly. If Three Weavers isn’t on your radar, it should be.
Harlem Brewing Company Renaissance Wit
Beer Style: Witbier
Brewery Location: Harlem, NY
Celeste Beatty has essentially operated Harlem Brewing Company as a one-woman operation since 2001. Most breweries these days shy away from brewing a Witbier, but Beatty’s achieves a wicked balance of fruit and spices with the perfect level of crispness. It’s a summer day crusher.
Stone Brewing x Pink Boots Society Pomma Said Knock You Out
Beer Style: Red IPA
Brewery Location: Escondido, CA
Pomma Said Knock You Out from Stone Brewing and Pink Boots Society is a unique take on an uncommon beer style. Where most Red IPAs are Rye IPAs don’t gravitate towards fruitiness, it’s brewed with pomegranates and presents a tropical taste.
Talea Beer Co. Lunch Date Pale Ale
Beer Style: Pale Ale
Brewery Location: New York, NY
Talea Beer Co. may be fairly new, but the cofounder duo of Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland have already made a name for themselves in the New York City beer scene with floral-forward beers that have made waves this summer. Lunch Date makes use of five hops (Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, Eukanot and El Dorado) to produce an easy-drinking citrusy pale ale.
The Hopewell Brewing Company Lil Buddy
Beer Style: Helles Lager
Brewery Location: Chicago, IL
Samantha Lee has built something entirely different with The Hopewell Brewing Company. Her brewery’s chic taproom aims to be a “welcoming to all and provides a rewarding work environment for our employees.” She also wants to make beer accessible for the beer nerd to the first-time craft drinker. Hopewell’s Lil Buddy is the perfect example of that — it’s an anti-fancy, crisp, perfectly executed Helles Lager in 8-ounce pony cans. In other words, it’s the ideal mix of simple and exceptional.