After bringing together more than 20 women from a dozen suburban microbreweries earlier this month in recognition of International Women’s Day, the resulting collaboration beer, “Hold My Crown,” is hitting taps at 10 breweries and one local bottle shop this week.
Each participating brewery is releasing its own variant of the beer during the first week in April, culminating in a tap takeover with all nine variants and the base beer at Iron&Glass bottle shop in Romeoville on Friday, April 5 at 5pm. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Pink Boots Society (PBS), a professional organization that assists, inspires and encourages women beer industry professionals to advance their careers through education.
The base beer, dubbed a Lithuanian Pale Ale, is most reminiscent of a Belgian IPA or hoppy saison. It is a refreshingly dry, citrusy pale ale with fruity saison character and pleasantly prominent bitterness (6.7% ABV / 45 IBU). The base beer will be available on tap at Skeleton Key Brewery in Woodridge (8102 Lemont Rd., #300), with small-batch variants on tap at the following breweries:
Chicago’s Omega Yeast Labs donated a pitch of its Jovaru TM Lithuanian Farmhouse yeast for the project, a strain that has been nurtured for decades by Aldona Udriene, the “queen of Lithuanian farmhouse beer,” at her brewery in Jovarai. The grain bill, which consists of 2-row, Idaho Pilsner, flaked rye and honey malt, was donated by Country Malt Group, Great Western Malting and Canada Malting. A blend of Loral, Glacier, Sabro, Mosaic and Simcoe hops from Yakima Chief was selected by PBS for the annual collaborative brew day, lending a tropical dankness to the brew.
The name “Hold My Crown” pays homage to the work of Ms. Udriene while conveying a message of strength, fearlessness and empowerment. It is essentially a mashup of a well-known meme (“hold my beer”) and a popular adage that encourages women to lift each other up: “Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked.”
The collaborative brew day took place on March 3 at Skeleton Key Brewery, where the taproom was open to the public so guests could get a full view of the day’s activities. Samples of malt, wort and hops from the brew were shared with patrons, and a video camera was set up over the mash tun and kettle to live-stream the goings-on inside the vessels. In addition to female owners, brewers and staff from suburban breweries, participants also included PBS-Chicago Chapter representatives and women who own or work at local bottle shops, craft beer bars and ingredient suppliers.

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