As issues of sexism in craft beer continue to be the subject of important think-pieces and further investigation, it’s nice to step back from time to time to shine a light on the contributions being made by women in this industry, especially on the brewer side of the spectrum. Chicago’s Revolution Brewing is ahead of the curve on pretty much all fronts here, employing “68 strong female leaders” in its organization. In recognition of this, those women all came together in January to brew a special beer for March 8th’s upcoming International Women’s Day. Available in Chicago now, Revolution’s tribute to women in the industry is dubbed “Spirit of Revolt.”
According to the brewery:
Spirit of Revolt is brewed with specialty malts from woman-lead Weyermann Malting, with an addition of oat malt, giving it a smooth, round body. A unique dry-hop blend of Michigan-grown Cascade, Cashmere, and Slovenian Styrian Fox hops add notes of citrus, pineapple, and melon features. Both Revolution’s Tap Room and Brewpub locations are donating 100% of the beer’s sales to Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) for Spirit of Revolt’s entire duration on tap.
Sounds like an admirable goal, in addition to a tasty-sounding DIPA. The addition of oats makes us think of the pioneering Maine Beer Co., whose delicious IPAs have long used oats in many of their recipes to enhance a creamy mouthfeel, before the hazy NE-IPA movement really came into its own. It’s also interesting to see the use of Michigan-grown hops, which hints toward the Midwest’s slow development into a hop-growing region with a varietal character distinctly different from the majority grown in the Pacific Northwest.
On March 8, the brewery will be hosting an “all-female arts and crafts fair” at its Chicago taproom, showcasing “women-owned food trucks, women artist booths, all-female music, screenings of movies with female leads, and Spirit of Revolt t-shirts designed and printed by the ladies of Revolution, with 100% of t-shirt sales being donated to CAWC as well. Other female inspired Revolution beers will be on draft including Working Woman, an American Brown Ale, and Working Mom, an Imperial Brown Ale aged in Old Forester bourbon barrels.”
Inspiration for Spirit of Revolt as a project is attributed by the brewery to a Margaret Sanger quote that is referenced in The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. The quote is as follows: “Because I believe that deep down in woman’s nature lies slumbering the spirit of revolt.”
As the demographics of craft beer continue to become more egalitarian and less male-centric over time, here’s hoping that beers such as Spirit of Revolt are just another step on the road toward equality.