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“Later that day I'll make my way to the Tasting Room to enjoy a pint while we fundraise for the Pink Boots Society.”

She the People

We’ve got some awesome women at Cape May Brewing Company. They’re some of the hardest workers at the brewery, in every department of the company: including in production, in the Tasting Room and Brewtique, in Human Resources, in marketing, and our entire accounting department is 100% women.

So, for the second year in a row, the women of Cape May Brewing Company are joining forces with the Pink Boots Society — a national organization dedicated to providing opportunities and scholarships for women in the brewing industry — to brew a collaboration beer for International Women’s Day this weekend.

The women devised She the People: a fruited pilsner with the Pink Boots Society hops blend and flavored with passionfruit and mango.

In conjunction with the release of She the People, on Friday, March 6th, the Pink Boots Society will receive $1 from each pint and flight sold in the Tasting Room, as well as $1 from each $11.99+tax four-pack of 16-ounce cans of She the People. It’ll be a great time for a great beer and a great cause!

Our Social Media and Design Alchemist Courtney Rosenberg spearheads this initiative each year.

“I find International Women’s Day is extremely important in today’s climate,” she says. “It celebrates the achievements of women. I mean, in 1920 the 19th Amendment was ratified. That’s only 100 years. Think about that. I’m 32 years old, which means 67 years before I was born women couldn’t even vote.”

There’s a lot still to overcome. By collaborating with the Pink Boots Society, we’re hoping to do our part in the brewing industry to raise the profile of women and support initiatives to provide for more resources and educational opportunities for women.

Getting all of the women at the brewery to collaborate on a beer is a lengthy and passionate process.

“Marketing Director Alicia Grasso and I meet with our Innovation Director Brian Hink to go over what we can feasibly brew,” Courtney explains. “From there, we compile a list of questions to poll all of the women of CMBC and Cape Beverage: What flavor profile do you look for in a beer? What is your go-to style? What ABV are you drawn to when choosing a beer? We want to make the process as inclusive as possible.”

We try to include as many of the women of CMBC as possible in designing She the People. Warehouse Manager Polly Pollock-Bell really enjoyed being part of the process.

“Getting the opportunity to be involved in this beer has been super fulfilling and a process I thoroughly looked forward to,” she says. “Having the chance to springboard with each other and walk through the flavor combinations was exciting and empowering. We all have a little bit of each of us invested in She the People from a think-tank point of view, which is really awesome.”

Courtney polled the women to decide between an IPA, an IPL, a pilsner, a dry-hopped lager, a Kölsch, and a light lager.

“Pilsner won in the popular vote, which equals a win in our book!” Courtney jokes. 

As a pilsner, the grain bill was developed to play a complementary role to everything else going on in the beer, so the women decided upon a very simple bill of pilsner and carafoam.

We used our Bohemian Lager yeast in She the People.

“Lager yeast is just a champ,” says our Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. “It can be difficult to work with at first, but once you understand what it likes, everything becomes easier.”

Lager yeasts prefer cooler temperatures as compared to our house ale, and much cooler than our house saison strain, performing best with a cool 50 degrees for the beginning of fermentation and then a short rise to about 60 degrees. 

“Lager yeasts also tend to throw off a lot of sulfur compounds — think rotten eggs — during fermentation,” Lauren explains. “Luckily, it is a very volatile compound, meaning that it dissipates quickly, but you need to allow it to escape so you definitely don’t want to cap this tank too early. In the end, the lager yeast brings a very clean flavor and aroma profile. When treated properly, it will give way to your malt bill and allow the hops to shine through.”

To be part of the Pink Boots collaboration, each beer uses the Pink Boots hops blend from YCH: Loral, Idaho Gem, Azacca, and El Dorado. While we’re familiar with Azacca in such beers as Crushin’ It and Follow the Gull, and El Dorado in Bounding Main and Follow the Gull, Loral and Idaho Gem are new hops for us.

“It’s a nice fruity blend of hops,” says Innovation Director Brian Hink. “Loral has an almost Noble character to it: a clean, subtle spice character, a slight earthiness to it, and an almost generic hoppiness. Idaho Gem brings a nice candied fruit character to it that pairs perfectly with El Dorado’s candied watermelon and stone fruits and Azacca’s bright citrus character.”

Using this fruity hops blend as a springboard, the women decided to add some fruit as an adjunct to this light pilsner.

“The YCH Pink Boots hops blend brings tropical, citrus, and piney aromatic qualities to the beer,” Courtney says. “We polled the ladies to see if they wanted fruit in their beer and if so, listed tropical fruits to choose from to complement the hops. From there, we got mango and passionfruit, which ended up pairing beautifully in She the People.”

In any collaboration, there are bound to be sacrifices made. Lauren wasn’t particularly thrilled to see another fruited beer be part of this initiative.

“To do another fruited beer for a women’s event seems like we are just reinforcing a stereotype that women only want to drink fruity beers,” she says. “Personally, I love a good IPA or a stout.”

Regardless, Lauren eventually came around to really like She the People.

“I think the fruit is subtle and there is a hint of sweetness,” she says. “And the low 5.5% ABV makes this an easy drinker.”

We don’t usually brew with fruit in a pilsner, so this presented a few challenges in the process.

“Brewing with fruit is usually no big deal for us,” Lauren says, “but with this yeast, it was completely new.”

However, we learned a lot when we used this yeast in the first brew of New Year’s Resolution. In the first batch of New Year’s Resolution in 2018, we added an enzyme to break down the sugars that remained in the brew after fermentation, adding it at the tail end of fermentation because we needed to be able to harvest the yeast for a subsequent brew.

“When the remaining yeast kicked back into fermentation mode,” Lauren tells us, “it produced some aromas that we were not expecting and they took some patience to get them to clean up.  With that in mind for this brew, we decided that it would be best to add the fruit immediately, instead of nearing the end of fermentation (like Apple Bomb or Brewberry) to avoid any potential off-flavors or aromas.”

The result is a delicious brew, light, refreshing and just subtle enough on the fruit to bring out the natural flavors in the hops.

Polly is ridiculously excited about She the People.

“Because it’s brewed by the powerhouse, badass, yaaasss queeen slaying, fierce women of CMBC!” she says. “The future is female! This is just the beginning. We’ve brewed this beer with the notion of women empowerment and to inspire the next generation, and, since this essentially is the year of perfect vision — 20/20 — we should start the year off strong with an extremely delicious, fruited pilsner and celebrate the fact that ‘girls run the world’ as the queen Beyonce says.”

Even though she was initially against what was decided upon, Lauren’s behind it. 

“It took me a while to come around to this beer,” she says, “but I think I’m finally there.”

And Courtney is all about She the People.

“I’ll take my first sip with the rest of the ladies of CMBC during our internal educational programming we’re having on the morning of the release date, March 6th,” Courtney says. 

Not only do we brew a beer for International Women’s Day, we run a seminar and luncheon for the women at the brewery, focusing on education. There, the women at Cape May Brewing Company will receive a guided tasting of She the People with a full ingredient breakdown as well as a sensory panel, training in detecting off-flavors in beer, followed by a luncheon at the Lobster House.

“Later that day I’ll make my way to the Tasting Room to enjoy a pint while we fundraise for the Pink Boots Society,” Courtney continues. “I am all about drinking for a cause.”

We’ll be raising funds all day in the Tasting Room on Friday, beginning at noon, in conjunction with the release of She the People. Don’t miss it!