Beer: It’s a woman’s world now

Crack open a cold one with the girls this long weekend. (Image source: Ginger Taylor)

By Greg Schneider | @GregDoesTweets

Is there a better way to relax over the long weekend than with a nice, cold brew? Whether you’re a beer veteran or simply beer curious, Young Henrys have the perfect drink for you with their newly released brew: “Free The NEIPA”.

The cleverly named concoction is the newest addition to the brewer’s B-Side Series, a selection of limited-edition drinks unleashing the creativity of the Young Henrys’ hops artists. Free The NEIPA is a complex New England IPA using bergamot and tropical fruit-forward hops to create a sweet, citrus beer with herbal undertones – and it was created entirely by the women of the Sydney brewery.

Brewer and head distiller Carla Daunton and fellow brewer Michelle Hanrahan took the recipe from dream to reality. Together, the two developed the recipe, and according to Michelle, “It made sense to bring all the amazing women of Young Henrys in to make it happen”.

From creation to sales to marketing, the women of the Young Henrys brewery have led the way on every aspect of the Free The NEIPA release.

Though beer may be regarded by some as a man’s drink, and perhaps even more so a man’s industry, the women at Young Henrys are happy to challenge that stereotype. Talking to the Its been a big day for… podcast, Carla is quick to point out that it was originally women who would craft beers as part of their breadmaking process. Clever marketing, and in some cases, outright discriminatory laws gave beer its blokey image in Australia. In some states, women were not allowed to drink in bars alongside their male counterparts until as recently as 1970.

Free The NEIPA is the latest step in helping women reclaim their place in the story of beer. You may have already seen some of their handiwork with their “beer is a girl’s drink” tee, which started its life as a mural in their tasting bar created by local illustrator Ginger Taylor.

Talking to Michelle Hanrahan about the release of Free The Neipa, she tells me about Young Henrys’s dedication to women in the industry and their belief that “diversity is key”. Since starting work in the industry as a hophead from human resources, she says she has always felt welcome and has seen many more women get involved in beer due to the recent craft beer revolution. This has sparked a huge increase in the diversity of both the beers available and the people creating them.

“It’s crazy how far it’s come in such a little space of time,” Michelle said.

“I think it’s just exploded because there’s so much that we’re now doing in the industry, not only in terms of methods and processes, but definitely with what we’re using in beer and experimenting with.”

This spirit of creation and experimentation has led to innovative flavours like watermelon and mint sours (“Even now, I have no idea how that particular brewery was able to brew with that,” Michelle said), as well as the bergamot infused Free The NEIPA. These exotic new flavours mean beer is now competing with wine as a drink for tasting tours and food pairing menus.

Ten per cent of all profits from Free The NEIPA will be donated to Two Good Co., a charity providing meals for women’s refuges and domestic violence survivors. So, you can support some badass women doing amazingly creative things and do a good deed in the process all while enjoying a nice cold brew with your mates (from an appropriate social distance, of course).

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