Sisters are brewing it for themselves

The hop girls - Venus Jade launchBorough Market’s titchiest hostelry The Rake is used to launching fine ales onto an appreciative audience, but this was a brew with a difference: the enchantingly aromatic Venus Jade has been produced by five brewsters from the UK and Ireland.

Emulating similar initiatives by the Pink Boots Society in the US, the five got together in mid-March at Brewsters in Grantham, home of the inspiring Sara Barton, for the deed itself.

Ranging from the experienced Sara – she founded Brewsters in 1998 following a spell with Courage – to new kid on the block, Gráinne Walsh, from Metalman Brewing Co in Waterford – her first beer is due to be launched next month – the quintet hope this will be the first of many such collaborations.

What did the packed bar think of the liquid itself? Marverine Cole – aka the Beer Beauty – was impressed – “it was totally fabulous” – as was their host,The Rake’s ever-genial Glyn Roberts – “Such a great beer – you ladies truly rock!”.

The hop girls

The very hoppiness is excitingly enticing, and likely to perk up even the most dull of days. Added to a stash of hop du jour, Citra, is the delightfully named Pacific Jade – “for pepperiness”, explains Sara B (there’s also a Sara C!). Golden in colour, it’s lively and aromatic, with more flavour than you think its 4% status would warrant. Great on its own, we reckonedour dream food match would be seafood with a tarragon sauce.

Designed “to raise the profile of women in brewing through collaborative brewing”, Sara hopes this will be the first of many such joint ventures." With other brewsters interested in the possibility, “we could take the recipe and develop it, or create something different,” says Sara. “I believe we can show that brewers can collaborate and not just be competitive”.

Unfortunately the fifth member – Michelle Kelsall from Off Beat brewery couldn’t make it – great excuse though: her new brewkit was going in that very day. To make up for that, there'll be another "launch" in her local Lion Tavern in a few weeks.

With just 40 firkins produced, Venus Jade won’t hang around for long. Visit facebook to see where you can try it, and follow the group on twitter for news of their next creation. Rumours are that that the aromatics could be supplied by “Citra plus A N Other lush hop; still plenty to choose from!” Can’t wait.

Pictured from left:

Sara Carter, Triple fff, Gráinne Walsh, Metalman Brewing Co, Sara Barton, Brewster’s Brewery, Kathy Britton, Oldershaw Brewery