SheBrew

Women have been brewing beer as long as humans have been drinking the stuff, and women have been active participants in the recent Craft Beer Renaissance as beer drinkers and brewers.  If the evolution of SheBrew in Portland Oregon is any indication, they are not going anywhere any time soon.


How did SheBrew come about?

This year’s festival will feature thirty professional female-identified brewers and cider makers, and ten female-identified homebrewers.  However, the festival did not start at that scale.  The first festival came about as the brainchild of Stef-Anie Wells Koty with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), and her wife Jamie Koty, who was the festival coordinator of the Oregon Brew Crew (OBC) at the time.  HRC was looking for an innovative fundraising idea, and the idea of a female-centric beer festival took shape.  The first festival was held at the Q Center on North Mississippi Ave. in Portland Oregon, and it featured home brewers and a people’s choice award, as well as about ten professional brewers.

SheBrew
SheBrew Swag

2020 will be the sixth year for the SheBrew festival, and the fourth year for the competition.  This year will feature nearly thirty brewers and cider makers, all female-identifying.  The number of featured brewers gets larger every year as more women are entering the brewing industry as brewers and cider makers.  Additionally, the competition has grown into one of the largest and most profitable brewing competitions that OBC sponsors.  Brews from as far away as Rhode Island, Alabama, and the *other* Portland make their way to FH Steinbart’s in Portland, Oregon for judging.


What makes it stand out as a competition and a festival?

A few things that make the SheBrew festival stand out.  Competition Coordinator Jenn McPoland what makes SheBrew say, “Female brewers, I find are more creative.  They are willing to take more risks like a homebrewer would, and they just come up with more interesting things.  That’s not to say you’re not going to find pale ales, and you’re not going to find a great ESB…but to have a lime pastry beer and a gluten-free glitter Belgian.”


Additionally, where most festivals in the area support any number of non-profit organizations, 100 percent of SheBrew’s proceeds go toward non-profit organizations.  The festival supports the HRC, and the competition supports the OBC and its mission of educating beer lovers and homebrewers.


Any tips fo competitors?

When asked if she had any tips for competitors, McPoland says, “Do it!”  Last year, the festival received about 200 entries, and they are all judged by BJCP certified judges, and there is always at least one woman judging each category.  The feedback is great, and the Best of Show is judged by a Master BJCP judge or a professional brewer.  Winner of Best in Show will have the opportunity to brew in collaboration with Natalie Baldwin at Breakside Brewing Company.


The SheBrew Competition is accepting registrations until February 21, 2020. 

Please drop off or ship all entries to FH Steinbarts, 234 SE 12th Ave, Portland OR  97214.  The entry fee is $8, and all proceeds go to supporting the Oregon Brew Crew.  Visit shebrew.oregonbrewcrew.org for more information.

The SheBrew Festival will be held on Sunday, March 8, 2020, from 12 pm-8 pm at Castaway, 1900 NW 18th Ave, Portland OR  97209.  

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door.  Visit shebrew.beer for more.