Written by Jessica Shadlock

International Women’s Day is always a celebration with our SOBDL crew and though this year looked quite a bit different, some things never change. So of course we toasted the day with a few delicious beers!

We love seeing our favourite breweries put their support behind International Women’s Day by recognizing the contributions of women on their staff, featuring female artists and supporting women focused charities. The theme of IWD this year was “Choose to Challenge,” calling on all of us to do what we can to challenge the status quo and call out inequality when we see it.  

We’ll drink to that!  

Read on for a roundup of five beers brewed by some of our favourite Ontario spots.

Huntress – Amsterdam Brewing 

Blackberry Gose (4.3% ABV)

A bottle of 'Huntress,' a beer from Amsterdam Brewing featuring a dark blue label with a woman with half her face made up like a skull and long flowing pink and purple hair.  The style 'Blackberry Gose' is listed below the image.

Brewed by the women of Amsterdam in honour of International Women’s Day, this fruited German-style Gose is made with pink himilayan sea salt, freshly crushed coriander and blackberry. 

The first thing I loved about this beer was the funky label art. The illustration is really gorgeous and detailed featuring a badass illustration of the titular huntress sporting some serious hair goals.  The beer poured a beautiful pink grapefruit colour.   I am not much of a Gose fan personally, but the sweetness of the blackberry cut through the saltiness and really balanced it out.  Super smooth and refreshing, at a crushable 4.3% this was a perfect one for drinking in the sunshine!  Unfortunately this limited brew sold out pretty quickly, but can’t wait to see what they whip up next year. 

Pink Boots – Nickel Brook Brewing 

Farmhouse Ale (3.6% ABV)

A can of 'Pink Boots,' a beer from Nickel Brook Brewing.  The label is light pink with a turquoise border featuring a cute cartoony design of a pair of legs in blue jeans and pink cowboy boots up in the air in front of an orange cactus and sun.  The name of the beer is written in western style font at the bottom of the label.

Brewed in celebration of International Women’s Day, Pink Boots is a deliciously funky Saison with captivating herbal, citrus, and earthy aromas. A collaboration beer to the core, Pink Boots was hopped with the official 2021 Pink Boots Hop Blend, and brewed by women of Nickel Brook. Plus, they’re drinking for a cause!  Nickel Brook are donating twenty-five cents from every can to a local women’s shelter and crisis centre, Halton Women’s Place. 

This is another label I immediately loved!  Nickel Brook teamed up with local artist Laura Forbes for the design, which was inspired by the queen Dolly Parton.  It’s cute, light and fun which felt like it fit the beer to a T.  Nickel Brook brewed this with the official Pink Boots hop blend, created by the Pink Boots Society, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to women in the brewing profession. It consists of Cashmere, Ahtanum®, Citra®, Loral® & Sabro® hops, creating a blend with tropical, herbal, citrus & woody aromatic qualities. A portion of the proceeds from the blend benefit the Pink Boots Scholarship funds.  The beer poured a hazy pale yellow with a fluffy white head. It had a lot of complexity while being super light on the ABV. The funky character came through but wasn’t overpowering making it a great little sipper.     

Order Pink Boots from Nickel Brook here!

IPA No 16 – Collective Arts Brewing

Elderflower & Grapefruit IPA (6.3% ABV)

A can of IPA No. 16.  The artwork is an abstract rainbow of dark greens, blues, white and pinks on a white backgroun, with small black line details on the top and bottom.

Brewed in honour of International Women’s day, IPA No.16 is a refreshing blend of juicy and floral.  The complex hop blend was designed by the Pink Boots Society and lends a subtle floral sweetness. The beer finishes with an effervescent pop of pithy grapefruit. 

Collective Arts is known for their unique labels featuring a rotation of talented artists.  This brew features artwork by Amber Vittoria, a Forbes 30 Under 30 artist working in New York City whose work focuses on the portrayal of women within art.  The pinks, turquoise blues and greens really pop on the white background, and I love that the design varies from can to can, but all within this colour palette.  Collective Arts used the Pink Boots hop blend, so it was cool to see it featured in a very different style from Nickel Brook’s.  The beer poured nice and hazy with lots of floral and hoppy aromatics.  Juicy but balanced with a bit of a bite from the grapefruit, this is another in a long line of tasty IPAs from Collective.   

Order IPA No 16 from Collective Arts here!

Queen of Craft – Queen of Craft x Wellington Brewery

Witbier with Chamomile, Rosehips, Lavender & Jasmine Green Tea (4.2% ABV)

A can of 'Queen of Craft' from Wellington brewery.  The background of the label is light beige and features a simple drawing of a woman with light bronze skin and long dark hair wearing a gold crown in front of a sky with stars and the moon and sun.  Around the image of the women are various leaves, flowers and botanicals

While not officially an IWD beer, I had to include this beer brewed especially for the Queen of Craft online programming that took place this month. It’s a fresh, delicate witbier with flowers to celebrate the season of renewal – Spring!  Queen of Craft is a group of passionate women who use their diverse talents to teach others about beer.  They hold bold, fun and informative events annually that keep beer education approachable, build and support community, empower and celebrate women on their beer journeys, and create lasting impressions and friendships! Profit’s from this year’s events supported Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.  

The stunning label for this brew (and their merch) is by Alanah Astehtsi Otsistohkwa (Morningstar) Jewell, a mixed French and bear clan artist from Oneida Nation of the Thames, currently residing in Kitchener, ON. Her passion is promoting Indigenous art and culture in urban spaces.  The art is simple but so evocative and the florals echo all of the floral additions in the brew.   This brew poured pale and hazy, and went down really smoothly.   The herbal, floral notes were prominent and balanced out some of the astringent character from the tea.  Lovely and definitely a beer that evokes Spring.   Big thanks to the Queen of Craft folks for sending this beer our way! 

Learn more about Queen of Craft here!

Queen of the Quarry – Queen of Craft x Elora Brewing Company 

Green Tea Latte Pale Ale (4.2% ABV)

A can of 'Queen of the Quarry' from Elora Brewing.  The label is light green with the silhouette of a woman with a topknot and big rubber boots holding a traditional mash paddle over her shoulder.  She's standing between two large rocks overlooking a landscape in the distance.  The name and style of the beer as well as the Elora and Queen of craft logos are below the image.

Elora Brewing Company also got in on the Queen of Craft fun and brewed up this Pale Ale!  A green tea latte pale ale, it’s brewed with lactose, and a high-percentage of oats round out its sweet, creamy texture.   Elora are also supporting Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis with $0.10 of every can purchase going towards this great cause. 

This label is a bit simpler, but I loved the brewer references with the boots and mash paddle!    The beer pours golden and hazy and has a bit of sweetness to it.    While the green tea character was subtle, the lactose really brought the creamy ‘latte’ vibes.    As a huge fan of Elora’s Citra Pale Ale Elora Borealis it was fun to try a different take on the style from them.

Order Queen of the Quarry from Elora Brewing Company here!