After bringing together more than 20 women from a dozen suburban microbreweries earlier this month in recognition of International Women’s Day, the resulting collaboration beer, “Hold My Crown,” is hitting taps at 10 breweries and one local bottle shop this week.
Each participating brewery is releasing its own variant of the beer during the first week in April, culminating in a tap takeover with all nine variants and the base beer at Iron & Glass bottle shop in Romeoville on Friday, April 5 at 5pm. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pink Boots Society (PBS), a professional organization that assists, inspires and encourages women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.
The base beer, dubbed a Lithuanian Pale Ale, is most reminiscent of a Belgian IPA or hoppy saison. It is a refreshingly dry, citrusy pale ale with fruity saison character and pleasantly prominent bitterness (6.7% ABV / 45 IBU). The base beer will be available on tap at Skeleton Key Brewery in Woodridge (8102 Lemont Rd., #300), with small-batch variants on tap at the following breweries:
- BuckleDown Brewing (Lyons): blood orange
- Church Street Brewing Company (Itasca): lemongrass
- Dry City Brew Works (Wheaton): hibiscus
- Elmhurst Brewing Company (Elmhurst): strawberry
- Metal Monkey Brewing (Romeoville): lemon + rosemary
- More Brewing (Villa Park): honey-tangerine + ginger
- Scallywag Brewing (Westmont): pomegranate
- Skeleton Key Brewery (Woodridge): base beer, no adjunct
- Werk Force Brewing (Plainfield): kombucha
- Wolfden Brewing (Bloomingdale): passionfruit
Chicago’s Omega Yeast Labs donated a pitch of its Jovaru TM Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast for the project, a strain that has been nurtured for decades by Aldona Udriene, the “queen of Lithuanian farmhouse beer,” at her brewery in Jovarai. The grain bill, which consists of 2-row, Idaho Pilsner, flaked rye and honey malt, was donated by Country Malt Group, Great Western Malting and Canada Malting. A blend of Loral, Glacier, Sabro, Mosaic and Simcoe hops from Yakima Chief was selected by PBS for the annual collaborative brew day, lending a tropical dankness to the brew.
The name “Hold My Crown” pays homage to the work of Ms. Udriene while conveying a message of strength, fearlessness and empowerment. It is essentially a mashup of a well-known meme (“hold my beer”) and a popular adage that encourages women to lift each other up: “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.”
The collaborative brew day took place on March 3 at Skeleton Key Brewery, where the taproom was open to the public so guests could get a full view of the day’s activities. Samples of malt, wort and hops from the brew were shared with patrons, and a video camera was set up over the mash tun and kettle to live-stream the goings-on inside the vessels. In addition to female owners, brewers and staff from suburban breweries, participants also included PBS-Chicago Chapter representatives and women who own or work at local bottle shops, craft beer bars and ingredient suppliers.
Photos and video from the brew day were captured by Matt Adema Media and are available via the links below. Art for the beer is also available.
About Skeleton Key Brewery
A skeleton key is a single key that can open many different doors—which is what we aspire to be. Our taproom is one such door, through which you can find delicious beer, camaraderie and community. Our classes are another, through which you can develop an even deeper appreciation for craft beer and get into the nitty-gritty of how to make it. And our incubator is the third door, through which a selected individual can gain access to the tools they need to make their own dream of opening a brewery a reality. We’ve got more doors in mind, too…For current draft list, classes and incubator information, visit skeletonkeybrewery.com.
About the Pink Boots Society
The Pink Boots Society was created to assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education. We are the female movers and shakers in the beer industry. We get the beer brewed and fermented with the highest possible quality. We also own breweries, package the beer, design beers, serve beers, write about beer, and cover just about any aspect of beer, and we are all women. Most importantly, we teach each other what we know through our own seminar programs, and we help each other advance our beer careers by raising money for educational scholarships. Pinkbootssociety.org