Women in Brewing: A Few Fun Facts
What images come to mind when you hear the word "Brewster"? If you're like most of the population, the immediate response has something to do with a beard and overalls. This couldn't be further from the truth! "Brewster" is the technical term for a woman brewer! In fact, making beer, until recent history was always done my women, never by men. Need to know more? Me too! So, I did a little research, and here are five fun facts that I can't keep to myself:
5. The history of women making beer goes back as far as the first written records! Yes, really! Cuniform tablets discovered in Sumeria that contain the story of Gilgamesh also contain stories of women brewers, recipes for various styles of beers, and prayers of thanks for the miracle of fermentation.
4. Women have more taste buds than men, giving us an unfair advantage when it comes to detecting the subtle characters of a finely crafted beverage or picking up on off flavors. Any brewery would be lucky to have (and many do have) at least one woman in their quality control department.
3. Beer is probably the reason civilization began, and women did the brewing! The cultivation of grains for baking and brewing was the catalyst for ancient people to settle down in one spot. Women took sole responsibility for making sure there was enough sweet elixir for everyone.
2. Even in today in remote areas of Africa and some parts of the Amazon, a brow would be raised if men even attempted to brew. Making beer is still very much a woman's job in these regions. So if you're a guy, the best advice is to sit back, relax, and enjoy a homebrew.
1. During the historical witch hunts, many Brewsters were accused of being a witch. Picture it, a boiling kettle, a broom, a cat, a pointed hat – all were used in the making of beer, and all are used in our cartoon representations of witches! The cat protected the grains from would-be attackers like mice and beetles. The ale stake, which doubled as a broom, was a marker of a brewery before reading and writing were common place. When beer was ready to be sold, the Brewster would hang foliage on the ale stake. It was the predecessor of Krispy Kreme's Hot Now neon light. But what about the pointy hats? Those were used in the market to stand out in the crowd! Amazing, right?! Who knew?!