By Kaylee Osowski
The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.
On Sunday morning while many people were likely in church or outside enjoying the sun, an all-woman crew got together to brew some beer, with some help from Dick’s Brewing Co.’s head brewer.
Julie Pendleton, owner of the local brewery, met some of her employees, regular customers and her mom at Dick’s Brewing Co. on Galvin Road in Centralia at 9 a.m. to begin brewing their beer called The Better Half Unite.
The crew members showed up wearing Dick’s Brewery garb and carrying bags of refreshments and food. While the women knew they would be there until about 4:30 p.m., they learned that the process was also a workout.
“I’ve been here lots, but I never realized how much work goes into it,” Marilyn Gallagher, Julie Pendleton’s mom, said.
Julie Pendleton’s father, the late Dick Young, founder of Dick’s Brewing, brewed beer for years, beginning at home and eventually growing the hobby into a business. However, Saturday was her first time, and the other women’s first time, making beer. Head brewer and Julie Pendleton’s husband, Dave Pendleton, guided the women through the process.
The group was joined by women brewers from throughout the world participating in International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day put on by the Pink Boots Society, which works to empower women in the beer business.
“I’ve never brewed before. I probably should brew, ya know, at least have done it,” Julie Pendleton said with a laugh when talking about why she wanted to partake in the global event.
The brewers all followed the same guidelines for the Brew Day’s 2015 Unite Red Ale, but modified the recipe according to what ingredients were available to the brewers. Pendleton said about 90 breweries participated. During downtime, the women posted photos and updates to social media to share with the other participants.
Echo Quarnstrom and Christine Chamberlain, who both work in the tasting room, said they were glad for the opportunity to learn how to brew to be more knowledgeable when customers ask.
Getting the brew ready for fermentation is a seven- to eight-hour process, which starts with measuring out the malts and pouring them into the mill, where they are crushed.
The crushed malt is mixed with hot water in the mash tun, a large metal container. The women took turns stirring the mash with a plastic paddle. Stirring wet, heavy malt takes some strength.
“That is a total workout,” Sunny Gaut, a loyal customer, said after taking a turn stirring the mash.
The liquid, or wort, from the mash was drained into the kettle, where it boiled for 75 minutes. The leftover mash was shoveled out into a bin on a forklift, which, the women learned is also a bit of a workout.
Dick’s Northwest Sausage & Deli employee Rachel Schryver, who joined the group just before the shoveling, enjoyed the job.
“This is fun. I want to work at the brewery,” she said
While boiling in the kettle, hops were added to the wort. The wort was then pumped to the whirlpool, where, for this particular beer, another type of hop was added. The wort was then pumped out and cooled down, before being moved to the fermentor, where the yeast was pitched. It will ferment for a few days and then be carbonated.
By the end of the day, the women had prepared enough brew for about 26 kegs.
Following the fermentation and carbonation process, The Better Half Unite red ale will be released at Dick’s Northwest Sausage & Deli and the Tasting Room at the brewery on Galvin Road on March 27. A portion of the proceeds from pint and growler sales will be donated to the Pink Boots Society, which grants scholarships to women brewers.