7th Annual Pink Boots Blend

Yakima Chief Hops is proud to support women and non-binary individuals in partnership with the Pink Boots Society, as we announce the 7th Annual Pink Boots Blend!

The pre-order for the Annual Pink Boots Blend is live!

Yakima Chief Hops (YCH) creates the blend each year and donates a portion of the proceeds to the Pink Boots Society, a non-profit organization whose mission is to assist, inspire, and encourage women and non-binary individuals in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry to advance their careers through education. The blend profile is selected each year in a collaborative process by members of the Pink Boots Society through a combination of mailed sensory kits to chapters worldwide, and in-person voting during the final selection process at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Colorado. This year’s distinctive combination features a harmonious melody of hops!

7th Annual Pink Boots Blend Varieties:

  • HBC 638
  • El Dorado®
  • Ahtanum®
  • Idaho 7®

We look forward to the rich qualities of each individual hop variety to create a sensory experience that is both fruity and herbal, making it an exciting choice for brewing creative and flavorful recipes! The sensory team at YCH expects berry and citrus punctuated with peppery earthiness and floral notes. “We are anticipating strong berry, orange, and stone fruit notes accompanied by herbal undertones,” says Yakima Chief Hops’ Senior Sensory Manager, Tiffany Pitra. “We’re all excited to see this complex blend expressed across a wide range of styles.” The Pink Boots Blend will be produced in a limited quantity, and commercial brewers will be able to place pre-orders from October 17th through December 15th. Small packs will be available for homebrewers in January 2024. YCH will donate $3 of each pound sold to the Pink Boots Society, join us in brewing up support for gender diversity in the industry!

The Blend Selection Process

In the months leading up to the in-person selection event, hop evaluation kits were sent to Pink Boots Chapters across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Each chapter evaluated 14 different samples and ranked them by preference, with YCH shipping the top 10 overall varieties to Denver for the membership blending event at Blue Moon’s Research and Development Brewery. Here, PBS members assessed the sensory characteristics of various hop varieties before collaboratively shaping a unique blend that will be mixed, pelletized, and made available to brewers worldwide. “Hosting the Pink Boots Society's annual hop rub event in our brewery is not just a privilege, but a source of genuine inspiration. It's a gathering of remarkable women and non-binary individuals who are passionate about their industry,” says Emilie Stewart Maskwa, the Sr. Product Development Brewer at Blue Moon. “The camaraderie built during this event is nothing short of remarkable. It’s an environment of support and networking that extends far beyond the event itself. It's a celebration of the industry's diversity and a testament to the power of collaboration for a meaningful cause.”

Given the level of enthusiasm and participation, voting this year was tough! The results ended in a two-way tie – a first for this event. Pink Boots Society founder, retired Brewmaster, and Great American Beer Festival judge, Teri Fahrendorf was onsite and agreed to cast the tie-breaking vote. “I know that typically the blend lends to an IPA-centric sensory profile, and I wanted to select the blend that had the most universal application,” says Teri. After sitting with both blends, giving each thoughtful consideration, she had made the selection. “Blend #13 really hit the target. It carried citrus, was mildly spicey, and had a subtle noble floral character. I knew it would be a successful addition, not only to big ales but also to lagers which are really on the upswing in popularity here in the United States.”

Leah Dienes, Head Brewer and Partner at Apocalypse Brew Works in Louisville, Kentucky was able to attend the Blend Selection for the first time this year. “I’m a BJCP [Beer Judge Certification Program] and GABF [Great American Beer Festival] beer judge, and every year I’m in Denver it just never works out for me to make my way to this event, I am so happy to finally be here.” It worked out very well, as she was the creator of the blend selected for production! “The spider charts for each variety helped quite a bit,” says Dienes, “Hops can all seem very ‘green,’ and I was looking for berry and citrus, and liked the way cedar notes brought it together.”

“This blend offers a rich and layered aroma with a delightful mix of tropical fruit, citrus, and herbal notes,” says Stewart of the final creation. “It starts with a burst of tropical and citrus fruits, then Ahtanum's cedar and herbal qualities add a unique dimension.” She credits Idaho 7® for bringing in the berry and bubblegum.

Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day

The Pink Boots Blend is for everyone but tends to see the greatest use as a common thread for collaborations taking place around Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day, a worldwide celebration of collaboration and camaraderie centered around International Women’s Day, March 8th. Brewers everywhere are encouraged to brew their support, regardless of gender identity, and donate a portion of the beer proceeds to the Pink Boots Society. Register your brewery as an official participant, and learn more about Collaboration Brew Day here.

The Pink Boots Blend directly supports gender diversity within the industry. “The Pink Boots Society has evolved over time, adapting to its growing and changing membership. Donations from this blend have directly impacted our ability to broaden our scholarship offerings and provide needed resources for our membership,” says Blanca Quintero, who works as the Taproom and Education Program Manager for Highland Park Brewing Company and currently serves as the Pink Boots Society’s President.

Visit pinkbootssociety.org to learn more about the mission and values of this grassroots non-profit organization.