It started as a simple question posted by Brienne Allan on Instagram: “Have you ever experienced sexism in the beer industry?” What followed was a flood of responses, as hundreds of women shared personal stories of discrimination, misogyny, abuse, and assault.
For the beer industry, it’s been a reckoning. Besides compelling many breweries to take a good, hard look at their own cultures and policies for preventing and reporting discrimination, the accounts have led to multiple investigations and resignations. The pervasive nature of the responses also raises the troubling question of whether women can feel both safe and welcome at breweries, taprooms, festivals, and other beer-related events—such as homebrew-club meetings—where men tend to outnumber them.
While social media “moments” come and go, some issues deserve longer-lasting conversations and more enduring change. That’s one reason behind the Brave Noise collaboration. Dozens of breweries across the country are brewing a Brave Noise pale ale while committing to publish their codes of conduct for staff and customers as well as donate proceeds to a relevant cause.
Hobbyists can get involved, too. Allan and the other organizers also have shared a homebrew-scale version of the Brave Noise recipe, developed in cooperation with Advanced Cicerone Jen Blair of Orpheus Brewing in Atlanta and the SoCal Cerveceros Homebrew Club in Los Angeles. We share that recipe below.
“Hello to all of you DIYers brewing at home,” the organizers say on the Brave Noise website. “We need your help to spread the word! We ask you to join us in this beer collaboration and stand with us in solidarity to advocate for change in the beer industry. Help us communicate to the beer community and beyond that we need to create inclusive and safe environments for staff and customers.
“We need the beer community to come together now and look out for one another. We hope you’ll join us in our effort.”
Recipe: Brave Noise Pale Ale
Based on a beer originally produced by Notch Brewing in Salem, Massachusetts, this recipe should produce a soft, hazy pale ale with a tropical-fruit profile and easygoing strength.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 70%
5.5 lb (2.5 kg) Weyermann Pilsner
1.75 lb (794 g) Rahr White Wheat
1 lb (454 g) Briess Brewers Oat Flakes
14 oz (397 g) Briess Caramel 20L
0.5 oz (14 g) Mosaic at whirlpool [3 IBUs]
0.5 oz (14 g) Sabro at whirlpool [4 IBUs]
2 oz (57 g) Mosaic at dry hop
2 oz (57 g) Sabro at dry hop
Wyeast 1318 London Ale III
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 60 minutes, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6.5 gallons (25 liters) of wort—or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes then conduct a whirlpool step; once the wort has cooled to 180°F (82°C), add the whirlpool hops and steep for 15 minutes. Chill to 67°F (19°C), aerate, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at about 69°F (21°C). Once fermentation is complete and gravity has stabilized, add the dry hops for two days, then crash, package, and carbonate to about 2.3 volumes.
Replace the pilsner and wheat malts with 4 lb (1.8 kg) extra-light dry malt extract (DME) and 1 lb (454 g) Briess Bavarian Wheat DME. Bring 6.5 gallons (25 liters) of water to about 162°F (72°C) and hold. Using a mesh grain bag, steep the flaked oats and milled caramel malt for 30 minutes, then remove the bag and allow it to drain into the wort. Add the DME while stirring and stir until completely dissolved. Boil for 60 minutes, following the remaining directions above.