When Natalie Baldwin started brewing, there weren’t many female brewers in Portland, OR. Thanks to the female pioneers at New Belgium Brewing and in Portland in general, Baldwin started making connections in the area and building up the female side of the brewing industry in the area.
Pink Boots’ Educational Value
“It’s not so much of a dude thing anymore,” Baldwin said. “Pink Boots is pretty interesting. Initially, when I started there were a couple of brewers that went to Pink Boots events for more sales and marketing outreach. I didn’t understand how accessible education was; I thought it was more of an avenue for social events and raising money.”
A couple of years ago, Baldwin’s outlook changed when she applied for a scholarship to further her brewing education abroad. She received the scholarship, and it opened her world up to access to free education in the brewing world.
“Everybody should understand how they can excel their career — it’s right at their fingertips,” she said. “If you raise money in your chapter, it stays in your chapter, so you can designate which scholarship that goes toward.”
Pink Boots’ and the National Honey Board’s Collaboration
Baldwin was approached by the National Honey Board to brew the latest Pink Boots beer, and money raised from that beer’s purchase will go toward new scholarships within the Portland chapter. The beer has been brewed in conjunction with Breakside Brewery, and since attending the Honey Summit in years’ past, Baldwin said they’ve brewed a lot more with honey beers, with more understanding.
“We chose to make a Honey Mate Lager with honey added toward the end of fermentation. As the research and development brewer at one of Breakside’s smaller breweries, I have worked to develop the honey and tea flavors before brewing it on a larger scale for the NHB and PBS collaboration.”
The aromatic quality of the honey in the beer is one of the main bonuses, since honey isn’t necessarily used to adjust to the dryness factor in this particular case. It’s the floral component, the pleasant and soft earthy notes while having a cool, tannic delicate structure, that draws Baldwin to the beer.
The beer is also special because it’s Breakside Brewery’s 10-year anniversary this year, and Baldwin has a database of all of the beer that has been brewed since the brewery’s inception. The brewery creates about 100 beers a year, so there are thousands of beer to scour through.
“If we want to use an ingredient like honey or revisit something, I can go to the archives. We have sensory evaluations on all beers, and I can look at the recipes and notes and see what we’ve learned since the last time we brewed it,” Baldwin said. “Then I adjust to move forward with a more conceptually sound beer than the first time we’ve brewed it and it just keeps getting better and better.”
What’s Next for Pink Boots
Baldwin is the scholarship liaison for the Portland chapter of Pink Boots, so she’s working on introducing people to information and telling them about the scholarship to give them more access to education, paying her hard work and good fortune forward. In 2020, look for the Portland chapter to host more education-related events, and, of course — the January release of #PinkBootsBlend 2020.