Dismiss the stereotype of the bearded brewer. It’s women, not men, who’ve brewed beer throughout most of human history. Their role as family and village brewer lasted for hundreds of thousands of years—through the earliest days of Mesopotamian civilization, the reign of Cleopatra, the witch trials of Medieval and Renaissance Europe, and the settling of colonial America.
As evidence, we point you to A Woman’s Place Is in the Brewhouse: A Forgotten History of Alewives, Brewsters, Witches, and CEOs. This book by fantastic beer scribe Tara Nurin came out last year, and as we enter autumn (and the book’s one-year anniversary), it felt like the time to re-hype it.
“Tara Nurin has written one of the more novel and, indeed, necessary beer books of the past few decades. It was an eye-opener to learn about a segment of the brewing past that’s often overlooked or simply outright ignored. I highly recommend this read to anyone serious, or even just curious, about beer,” says Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops
Coming at a time when women are speaking out about their stories of sexism, racism, and sexual harassment in the industry, this book celebrates the contributions and influence of female brewers and explores the political, economic, and religious forces that have erased them from the brewing world. Nurin digs deep to give a voice to history’s secret brew (her)stories.
“The adventure you’re about to embark on will open your eyes to the forgotten history of women and their role in the greatest civilizing event in history: beer,” says Teri Fahrendorf, Pink Boots Society Founder
The book contains interviews, quotes and endorsements from beer luminaries like Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada) and Kim Jordan (New Belgium), and touches on timely topics like White vs. Black feminism, traditional and modern witchcraft, DE&I strategies, and the myth of the White European brewer.
Tara Nurin is the beer and spirits contributor to Forbes and an adjunct Beer 101 instructor at Wilmington University. The former major-market TV news reporter has been the Libations columnist for New Jersey Monthly, the women-in-beer columnist for Ale Street News, and the cohost of the What’s on Tap weekly beer TV show. Her work has been published in more than fifty newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms such as Food + Wine, USA Today, and Wine Enthusiast.