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Rock Solid Brewing Co. honors industry women, raises funds for Pink Boots Society
Rock Solid
From left to right, Kate Gillum, Denise Alberga, Antonia Alberga-Parisi and Chris Nelson own Rock Solid Brewing Co. along with their families. They all pulled on their pink boots Monday and invited women in the community to the brewery for an afternoon of learning, networking and fun. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Rock Solid Brewing Co. held its inaugural Pink Boots Collaboration Brew Day on Monday, March 8, to honor women in the alcoholic beverage industry and teach guests about the brewing process while celebrating International Women’s Day.

Four couples, mostly from Forsyth County — Jim and Kate Gillum, Nick and Denise Alberga, Chris and Doug Nelson, Carmine Parisi and Antonia Alberga-Parisi — own the brewery at 345 Gilmer Ferry Road in downtown Ball Ground, which they opened in December.

They invited women in the industry, friends and family on Monday to come enjoy a lunch, network with other women and take a peek inside the brew house as Head Brewer Bryan Crass began making their newest beer, the 2021 Pink Boots IPA.

Kate Gillum said a portion of proceeds from the event and the sale of the beer will go to the Pink Boots Society, an international nonprofit that aims to support women in the fermentation and alcoholic beverage industry.

“We’re going to be sending [proceeds] to the U.S. national chapter, which is responsible for tons of scholarship opportunities for women,” Gillum said.

Women from all over the globe take part in the Pink Boot Society’s annual brewing day, which began as a way to celebrate International Women’s Day and raise “the profile of women’s roles in the beer industry,” according to the nonprofit’s website.

Rock Solid
Head Brewer Bryan Crass talks to guests in the brew house about the brewing process and the 2021 Pink Boots IPA. - photo by Sabrina Kerns
Crass explained that members of the organization also, beginning four years ago, created an annual hops blend, which is used to make beer on brewing day.

“They’ll send a group of women up to Yakima Valley, they pair with one of our hops suppliers and they go through a bunch of different lots and smell hops, taste hops and come up with a blend every year,” Crass said.

This year, the organization voted on a blend of six different hops: Ahtanum, Cashmere, Citra, Loral and Sabro. Crass left glasses with each of the hops in them on the front counter during the event to let anyone interested come up and smell each one.

Crass and the owners decided on an IPA for the 2021 Pink Boots beer to highlight the hops blend, and they added a grapefruit puree to the beer to add a unique flavor.

During the event, women working with Reformation Brewery in Canton and Woodstock and Emily Carr, a brewer

Rock Solid
NoFo Brew Co. Brewer Emily Carr and Rock Solid Brewing Co. Head Brewer Bryan Crass talk about the brewing process and equipment at the event Monday. - photo by Sabrina Kerns
with NoFo Brewing Co. in north Forsyth, went back into the brew house along with other guests to talk with Crass and Brewer’s Assistant John Garner as they continued to make the beer and explain the brewing process.

The owners also asked guests to write down suggestions for what they think the name of the Pink Boots beer should be. When the beer is finished in the next two weeks, they plan to choose a winner who will receive a gift certificate and bragging rights as they later see the name they came up with on the brewery’s menu.

As the event finished up, the women left with gift bags and, more importantly, new connections within the community. Many of the women in attendance loved the opportunity to meet other local women in the industry and learn more about the brewing process, and the owners felt the event was a great success.

“We’re so excited,” Gillum said. “It’s our first annual [event], but we definitely intend to be doing this every year.”

Rock Solid
The owners all wore pink boots the day of the event to honor the Pink Boots Society and women in the industry. - photo by Sabrina Kerns