Baxter Brewing is a space full of collaboration and flexibility. Very few employees, if any, wear one hat, and as a relatively small crew, we spend a lot of our days supporting one another and problem solving together, even if it isn’t our exact area of expertise. This type of cooperative culture makes exploring new facets of craft beer more accessible, and for us, often hands-on. In honor of International Women’s Day and the annual Pink Boots Society Collaboration Brew Day, the women of Baxter came together as non-brewers and decided… we’re making a beer.
Baxter has created some delicious Pink Boots Brews in years prior–like Muddy Boots, our trail mix Brown Ale, and Pink Fruits for Pink Boots, a guava and grapefruit IPA–so this idea of an International Women’s Day brew was not revolutionary, but we wanted to take this opportunity to gather the women that work here and create a new brew together. A handful of us have only been with Baxter for about a year and have shadowed brew days or been involved with recipe creation, but this was a chance for all of us to be involved, every step of the way.
The inception of our beer started with the 2022 Pink Boots Hop Blend by Yakima Chief; the floral, fruity notes of the blend would make some incredible IPAs, but we wanted to add a new style to our tap lineup–a Gose. If you’re not familiar, a Gose is a sour style German wheat beer, typically brewed with salt and coriander. Tart, slightly dry, and delicious. For our beer, we chose to highlight some of the herbaceous qualities of the hop blend with some flavors we love–ginger and pink peppercorn.
Since none of us are trained brewers, we worked closely with our Quality Director and our Brew team to create our benchmark targets for our Ginger + Pink Peppercorn Gose; these targets identify the final outcomes you want from your beer (ABV, mouthfeel, aroma, etc.), help you track your beer’s progress during fermentation, and give you a tool to assess the final product. After benchmarks, we chose the malts for our grain build, decided on the amount of hops, and when to add the fresh ingredients.
The recipe was created, ingredients ordered, and brew day was upon us! In reality, this brew was spread out over two days to account for the kettle souring aspect of our Gose, but three of us left our posts to join our first shift brewer, Geoff, on the brew deck of our 7BBL system for day one. We milled the grain, poured it into the mash tun, and raked the spent grain after sparging. For every step, Geoff gave us the why, the how, took running samples, and answered our never-ending questions. On day two, our second shift brewer Dan walked us through the kettle additions of the hops, salt, ginger, and pink peppercorn, and talked us through the journey our beer would take from there.
The whole process of planning, preparing, and brewing our beer took roughly four weeks, but the toughest part of creating this beer? NAMING IT. We could write a whole blog post about how we name beers (and maybe we will), but we struggled with the direction we wanted to take. Should it be punny? Should it speak to collaboration and equality? Should it be a niche reference from our childhoods? I’ll spare you every conversation we had, but after numerous discussions, Teams messages, and group texts, we finalized a name: FULL SEND.
I recently learned that “full send” is a phrase frequently related to skiing/snowboarding, but for us, “full send” is the phrase Jenn (President of Baxter) throws at you when you introduce an idea she loves. Of course, it’s used in other instances (here and everywhere), but the enthusiasm and trust that feels ingrained in that phrase just worked for this beer.
We released the finished product on International Women’s Day, March 8th, and we feel pretty spectacular about the outcome: Mildly tart, ginger forward, and a hint of pink peppercorn at the very end. It’s available on tap now at The Pub at Baxter and should be ordered with gusto and enthusiasm! A portion of proceeds from this beer are donated to Pink Boots Society + Pink Boots Maine Chapter to support educational opportunities for women and non-binary individuals in the fermented beverage industry.
As to not speak for everyone, I’ve included what FULL SEND means to women on our team. What does it mean to you?
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To me, Full Send is trusting your gut and taking that big leap, whether that means running a marathon, skiing a tough line, or brewing a new recipe. Full Send is a reminder to stop doubting myself and take on that big challenge regardless of what others might think. Should I ski that run? Should I sign up for that marathon? Absolutely. Full Send.
Full Send is that inkling that not taking the chance is just as risky as diving in; it’s the gut feeling that forces you to pull an audible at the very last second. Full send is the choice to not live in indecision–once you make that decision, you fully commit.
For me, Full Send is certainly inspired by skiing and memories of friends and me operating in a “full send” mentality, but when I say it off the mountain, it means I need no further communication, I’m inspired by what you’re saying, and I fully trust you.
Check out more pictures and videos from our brew day on Instagram!