Following a successful first appearance in 2014, the International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day returned on International Women’s Day, Sunday 8th March 2015 with over 80 participants from 11 countries. All the female brewers who joined this year brewed Unite Red Ale (4.6% ABV), the recipe of which was formulated by event Founder and Brewster Sophie de Ronde of Muntons Malt. Co-ordination of all of the brewers and teams was again headed by Denise Ratfield of Pink Boots Society.
Eleven countries were involved, with brewsters in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Sweden and Switzerland joining their sisters in the USA and Great Britain. Representing the latter were Gyle 59 (Dorset), Wild Card (London), Dancing Duck (Derby), Ashover (Chesterfield) and of course Lisa Handforth at the Riverhead Brewery at Marsden.
All of the participants brewed their version of the beer with the same key ingredients with each putting their own twist on the final beer. Profits from the sale of the Unite Red Ale were to be donated to the charity of the brewster’s choice. Lisa’s choice was to donate a £1 from every pint to Huddersfield Women’s Aid.
March 8th was certainly a busy day down at the Riverhead Brewery and Tap with Lisa, daughter Grace, licensee Lorri and Ossett supremo Liz Crosby at the helm. An open invitation had gone out via jungle drums and more conventional forms of social media and the response was very healthy. Between 10am and 5pm around forty women from all walks of life popped in to do their bit from weighing out ingredients and mashing in, to digging out the mash tun and cleaning up. Not only were there women from the local area, but also some from afar, most notably Zoe who had travelled from the Dispensary pub in Liverpool just to be there on a damp and dreary day. And on that day, the twittersphere must have nearly exploded as messages were beaming all around the world with excitement.
After a grand day, the wait had to be endured until the beer was ready to be launched three weeks later on 29th March. Further interest had also been generated by the use of a wooden firkin for the first cask to go on sale. A coup indeed.
The due day arrived and another indifferent one it was too weather-wise. However, it did not dampen the enthusiasm of the many women who returned to the Riverhead to try the fruits of their previous labours. And they were not disappointed. They had created the wonderful Unite Red Ale as anticipated. Job Done!