It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and now the holidays can be celebrated with the newest honey brew — Honey Holiday, courtesy of a partnership with the St. Louis Chapter of Pink Boots Society and the National Honey Board (NHB).
Established in 2007, Pink Boots Society is a nonprofit founded to empower, inspire, support and educate women in the beer industry. The society is meant to encourage more women to enter the brewing realm, a traditionally male-dominated area. The St. Louis Chapter, founded last year, is comprised, like many of its sister societies — of women in beer who do it all. They are owners, packagers, designers, servers, writers and more. Education is paramount with Pink Boots, which offers seminar programs, meetups and career advancement via educational scholarships. And, it’s a great way to network for women who share the same passion for beer and the brewing process.
The NHB has partnered with the St. Louis Chapter of Pink Boots Society to develop a made-with-honey beer for the holidays. Amanda Mikolay, lab specialist at Urban Chestnut Brewing, and Libby Crider, co-owner at 2nd Shift Brewing, came together to create Honey Holiday, which was canned this week for a mid-November release.
Mikolay’s journey with Pink Boots Society and Urban Chestnut has been a self-proclaimed “crazy ride.” She started at the St. Louis brewery as a sensory coordinator intern and has worked her way up to the lab specialist position, where she now spends her days setting up tasting panels, identifying certain flavors and quality control.
This analytical position has Mikolay using chemistry to check beer's quality during the fermentation process, similar to doing rounds at a hospital each day. She partnered up with Libby and Steve Crider, owners of 2nd Shift, to create Honey Holiday, an imperial stout that utilizes a melter honey’s dark, rich complex notes.
“We based Honey Holiday off of 2nd Shift’s popular beer, ‘Cat Spit Stout,’” Mikolay said. “However, this new beer’s honey addition has bumped up its ABV to about 7.9%.”
In regards to how it tastes, Mikolay said, “I sampled the finished product yesterday, and I got solid, dried cherry notes on the aroma and the flavor, so I’m really pleased with how it turned out.”
The targeted release date for Honey Holiday is mid-November.
“Libby and Steve are super down to do another batch, depending on how quickly it sells out,” Mikolay said. “We’re hoping to raise enough money for a scholarship here in St. Louis or for a local university. It’s a way for us to get more exposure in the city with women who are actively brewing and fund someone else’s experience in their brewing journey.”
A busy bee herself, Mikolay also serves as the beekeeper to the hives housed at Urban Chestnut’s Grove location. Mikolay was inspired to add beekeeping to her skillset after attending the NHB’s Honey Beer Summit, a three-day conference held in St. Louis.
“It’s crazy to think of all of the information surrounding bees in general. People are still learning, even beekeepers who have done it for years. They are like, ‘Oh, you won’t believe what my bees did!” Mikolay said.
Winterization of the hives and access to a food source for the bees is next on Mikolay’s list, and she’s developing a homemade idea to work with the established hives for better insulation for the upcoming winter season. And, of course, she’ll be meeting with the Pink Boots Society every other month.
“There is usually an educational portion, a clear focus on educating women in the industry, but we aren’t trying to exclude anyone. Men are welcome too,” she said. “I still encounter breweries that don’t have a lot of women who are interested in the brewing side, and that’s fine. It’s quite an interesting field, the process of fermentation, and it relies heavily on being able to do many things at once. It’s such a field of work that women are naturally inclined to do. Brewing is an art of multitasking, so if we get more women interested, our numbers could potentially grow.”
If you’re in the St. Louis area, be sure to check out Honey Holiday to get your holiday season started off right!
For more information on Pink Boots Society's St. Louis chapter, visit