This year's Beers With(out) Beards — Hop Culture's annual celebration of women-brewed beers and women brewers — will live online for the first time in its history this week, available to stream on Youtube from October 8 to October 10 with a $5 admission.
"The mission of Beers With(out) Beards is twofold," Grace Weitz, Hop Culture's Head of Partnership, says. "One, to celebrate the achievements of all womxn in craft beer. And two, to cultivate conversations around how to break through barriers in our industry."
(Editor's Note: Weitz's quotes were gathered through email interview, where she employed the "womxn" spelling instead of the traditional "women." This spelling of the word was popularized by the intersectional feminism movement, and aims to encompass a broader range of gender identities than the standard English language spelling.)
At a standard Beers With(out) Beards event, attendees attend brewing and tasting workshops with experts and sample dozens of beers. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year's festivities are a little different. Hop Culture partnered with Bumble, a dating app, because of their "similar missions to create programming that promotes inclusivity, equity, justice, and empowerment," Weitz says. And thanks to Bumble's experience with the digital space, Beers With(out) Beards's workshops are also headed online.
In addition to streaming sessions and workshops, Hop Culture crafted a VIP Beer Box with 11 beers from women-led breweries. (As of publishing, all beer shipments have sold out.)
In 2018, at the inaugural festival heavy downpour threatened to send everyone home. Weitz pushed on and the event was a huge success. This year it faced a bigger storm in the COVID-19 pandemic, which effectively cancelled all large in-person gatherings for the remainder of the year.
With the world still unsure of what to expect in the coming months, and even years, everything is still up in the air, including Beers With(out) Beards 2021. Of course an in-person event is the goal, but with one digital event soon to be in the history books, another (or two) next year may not be as far fetched.
"Taking steps to break down barriers in our predominantly white-male industry needs to happen every day," Weitz says. "Whether we host Beers With(out) Beards in-person or online in 2021 we will make sure that our festival continues to motivate conversation and initiate actions to highlight all the womxn of craft beer."