During the summer of 2020, Stacia Sharp asked the folks on the Facebook page “Oklahoma Craft Brewers Society” if there was any interest in starting a women’s craft beer division. The response was overwhelming, and the Oklahoma Women’s Craft Beer Society was born.
Once a month, the group explores territory that was male-dominated for many decades. The members, with their distinguished pallets, are passionate about brewing and familiar with the incredible beers this state can produce, from peanut butter Porters and stout IPAs to Kolsch, Helle and everything in between.
Despite the last few decades, women led the art of brewing through history. In Europe, it is common to see breweries connected to convents or monasteries, where women were traditionally in charge of the business until around the 15th century. Since then, men have taken over … but people like Stacia are out to change that.
On top of learning about the beers they enjoy, the members of the OWCBS recently partnered with Period OKC, an organization that gives back to the community by providing menstrual products to people in need.
The society created a brew with Core4 Brewing in Oklahoma City called “11 O’Clock Kickoff,” a coffee cream ale; proceeds from that batch went to the organization.
In addition to events and meetings, the society gets together with other beer enthusiasts all over the state for tastings, community events and other celebrations, like International Stout Day on Nov. 4, which consisted of a gathering at Angry Scotsman in Oklahoma City. It is simple events like these that keep the group chugging along … paired with the quality of the members. In addition, the quantity of members is steadily growing due to an abundance of passion.
Kayla Stewart, lead brewer at Anthem Brewing Company, loves seeing women showing up with enthusiasm. She is energized by the growing numbers of female brewers she’s met throughout the state and at national conferences, and acknowledges that while the industry is primarily male-centric, the growing number of women is refreshing.
“I was lucky to get my start at Angry Scotsman and through them, I was able to make the connections that led me to my brewing home at Anthem,” says Stewart.
She encourages any woman who is interested in brewing to follow that drive. Education, along with visiting breweries, talking to brewers, home brewing and even taking some online classes can help one create an edge in the beer world.
“OWCBS has been great for connecting with other beer advocates,” says Stewart. “I just love the things the group does to further education and advocacy.”
For group information, meeting times, or to join a community of like-minded beer aficionados, check out Oklahoma Women’s Craft Beer Society on Facebook, or just stop by one of the many hidden gems Oklahoma has when it comes to craft breweries.
Tours can often be arranged and brewers are a passionate group, usually willing to show off their craft. Whatever route one chooses, this is a hobby with no limits for the imagination.