International Women’s Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, may have past, but it’s always a great time to celebrate and support the incredible ladies in our midst. To that end, we want to raise a glass to women in beer, like Rachel Young, assistant brewer at Stanley Park Brewing in Vancouver. We chatted with Rachel about her work, and got her recommendation for the ideal beer to cheers women with! —Vita Daily
Hi Rachel! Why and how did you become a brewer, and when did you join Stanley Park Brewing?
I had started working in a tasting room at a microbrewery in East Vancouver. Curiosity got the better of me as I was interested in learning more about the processes involved. I was encouraged by my former manager who had, herself, also moved through the ranks to brewer and eventually a director of brewery operations. I started in packaging and eventually worked all levels of cellar operations and after a few years became lead brewer. I moved to Stanley Park Brewing at the beginning of 2019 when given the opportunity to help start up the Stanley Park Brewpub by the brewmaster, Thom Riley.
What does your day-to-day as an assistant brewer look like?
My head brewer Bennie and I generally start our day with a quick chat about what needs to be done re brewing, transferring, cleaning, etc., to ensure nothing gets missed. As it’s just the two of us its pretty much a hit-the-ground-running process to get it all done. Early mornings are my thing so I’m generally in the brewery by 7:30 a.m. at the latest. The day ends when … everything is done.
Is there any particular beer you love to brew best? Or, what is your favourite part of the brewing process?
I love to brew new beers, either something I’ve never made before or something I’ve never drank or heard of before. There’s so much variety out there, the possibilities are endless. The entire team Stanley Park has been amazing at supporting me in my development as a brewer and our ability to try new ideas really challenges my creative muscles.
Monday, March 8th, was International Women’s Day—a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In this context, when you hear the term “women in beer/brewing” what does it mean to you?
Representation. Visibility and recognition. Women should be encouraged at all levels in the industry. We work just as hard, if not harder in some areas, to be seen and heard. We account for a growing percentage of the consumer base. Recognizing that is a step toward ensuring diversity in the workplace and ultimately diversity in the fridge.
Are there any special challenges, or benefits, to being a female brewer?
The challenges are in trying to break through what has traditionally been a very misogynistic industry. There is always a degree of mansplaining we have to put up with. Our secret weapon is that we know this, and we’ll prove them wrong any chance we get. That’s why you’re seeing more and more women starting their own breweries and winning more and more awards. That’s not to say that I haven’t worked with some amazing men in the industry. I have, it’s just about recognizing that it takes more than one idea. Never underestimate the power of women to change the world.
In your opinion, what is the perfect beer with which to raise a glass to women?
The perfect beer is the one she wants to drink, so really it’s probably going to be the next beer on tap from Stanley Park Brewing!