Saturday, April 7, was National Beer Day, celebrating the date in 1933 when the Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted, beginning the repeal of Prohibition. The law re-legalized the sale and consumption of beer up to 3.2 percent alcohol by weight (4 percent by volume) and paved the way for full repeal by December of that year.
To celebrate the occasion, Bridge 99 Brewery released a special beer, Doyenne Collaboration Ale, brewed in partnership with women from the Bend chapter of the Pink Boots Society. The Pink Boots Society is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to “assist, inspire and encourage women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.” To that end, scholarship opportunities are open to women who are actively employed in the industry.
Each year on March 8, which is International Women’s Day, the society organizes the Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day.
Joining with supporting breweries, Pink Boots Society chapters around the world craft beers with the goal of raising money to apply to educational scholarships for its members. In past years members brewed an interpretation of a designated style, but for 2018 the guidelines were opened up to any style so long as it incorporated a custom blend of hops from YCH HOPS of Yakima.
Proceeds from sales of Doyenne Collaboration Ale will benefit the Pink Boots Society. Fittingly, a “doyenne” is a woman who is the most prominent or most respected person in a particular field.
At Bridge 99, operations director Becky Dorman teamed up with Victoria Chaplin of the local chapter, Shae Maloney of Worthy Brewing, Jacq Nelson and Veronica Vega of Deschutes Brewery, Sally Klann of Mecca Grade Estate Malt and Shannon Hinderberger of Make + Drink Strategy.
The women crafted a beer described in the press release as “a Hazy Session Ale that is somewhere between brunch in a glass and an Orange Julius.” It is 4.7 percent alcohol by volume and was brewed with malt donated by Mecca Grade in Madras as well as the exclusive Pink Boots Blend of hops from YCH HOPS.
According to YCH HOPS’ website, this blend consists of Palisade, Simcoe, Mosaic, Citra and Loral varieties of hops, all relatively new (less than 20 years old) strains known for their intensely fruity and floral profiles. The two-barrel batch was dry hopped with 1.5 pounds of the hop blend.
Deschutes Brewery donated the yeast, which is a special strain from Imperial Yeast of Portland, a type of wild Saccharomyces known in particular for its citrus aromas.
“It was long thought to be a Brett strain, until genetic testing revealed it is actually a Saccharomyces,” said Chaplin via email. “Luckily it doesn’t produce a lot of the goaty aroma’s of brett; instead it produces a big tropical bouquet. It is a very common yeast for the Hazy IPA trend ruling the market.”
I was able to get a sneak preview of Doyenne at Bridge 99 prior to the Saturday release. It is, indeed, a hazy beer, light golden in color and cloudy enough to be opaque. In the aroma, I found orange to be prominent, reminding me of pithy orange oil as well as marmalade. Underlying that perfume, fruity-citrus character is a grainy note reminiscent of buckwheat.
Flavorwise, it’s crisp with orange peel and Cream of Wheat, with a light pithy bitterness and a light spritz of lemon oil. It’s an easy drinking beer, soft and pillowy in mouthfeel, and finishes brisk and clean. Despite the mention of the brett-like funkiness of the yeast, I didn’t really notice any of that contribution until nearly the end of the glass.
Despite the fruit character, no actual fruit was added to the beer, Chaplin said. “The hazy comes from the yeast, and the malt bill (50 percent wheat). The fruity notes certainly are from a combination of the hops and yeast.”
Bridge 99’s Dorman, who also brews at the brewery and led the brew day with co-owner Rod Kramer, said the recipe was developed by her, Chaplin, Maloney and Vega with the idea of a sessionable riff on the hazy IPA trend that has captured drinkers’ fancy in recent years. It doesn’t really fit any style guidelines, she pointed out.
Dorman is happy with how the finished beer turned out, and said that over 200 Pink Boots Society collaborations took place around the world on March 8.
“It’s really cool how international Pink Boots has gotten,” she said.
Doyenne Collaboration Ale is currently on tap exclusively at the Bridge 99 tasting room. Production was limited, so if you want a chance to try this hazy session ale and support the Pink Boots Society at the same time, swing by for a pint before it’s gone.
— Jon Abernathy is a local beer blogger and brew aficionado. His column appears in GO! every other week.