After joining 200,000 people for the Women’s March on Denver Saturday morning, a celebratory drink sounded good for the soul. Fortunately, a few breweries in Denver had the perfect beer for the occasion, Makin’ Noise: Pussy Riot, a pro-civil rights, anti-hate imperial saison. Named after a Russian feminist protest band, Pussy Riot was a collaborative effort among several female brewers and brewed at five different breweries: 3 Freaks Brewing, Black Sky Brewing, Brewability Lab, Goldspot Brewing and Lady Justice Brewing.
While I would have loved to visit each brewery, we planned to meet a few friends who also marched, so we needed a central meet-up location and decided on Goldspot Brewing. Coming in at 9 percent, Pussy Riot was a sneakily strong saison. This was the kind of beer that you could swig down glass after glass on the patio, but you might live to regret it. Each brewery created its own variant, and Goldspot’s version included 90 pounds of strawberry puree, which added a subtle fruitiness. Overall, it was a tasty beer, but Pussy Riot was also more than that.
Marching with all those women, men and children was one of my proudest moments, and I’m thankful that many local breweries were willing to make a stand for humanity at a time when we’re so divided. Of course, given the high tensions in today’s political climate, this beer wasn’t met with the universal praise that it deserves.
I first heard about this collaboration on a Colorado craft beer Facebook group, and while I should have expected opposition, I was taken back by the intense hate some people spewed. For the most part, I find the craft beer community to be a welcoming, open group. Some people allow their elitism to get the best of them, and sexism remains a major problem. We still have room to grow, but as a whole, I believe a lot of incredible people make up the craft beer community, which is why this reaction was so surprising.
The debate quickly turned personal and bitter, creating an us-versus-them mentality. Eventually, the moderators locked down the thread, but I still struggle to understand the hateful opposition. After all, the brewers published this mission statement regarding the beer.
“We felt it necessary to take action and decided to use our art to make our voices heard. We are coming out in support of those most at risk in our community and doing what we can to stand together as a united voice against hate and intolerance. This beer works to combat the hate and oppression while also lending support and solidarity to the fight for equality.
“We believe in this beautiful community, and we feel it is necessary to work together to protect it.We believe in an America that celebrates its diversity, an America that protects and supports anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, identity, race, religious views or immigration status. We condemn the hate that has always existed against marginalized groups, and we will not stand for the new strong wave hitting our country.”
Now, I don’t understand how anyone can read that mission statement and have a problem with this beer. Let’s be blunt: If you have a shred of compassion, empathy or humanity, these values should resonate with you. No matter who you supported in the election or what political party represents your beliefs, why would you be against a beer that stands for such a positive message of equal rights in 2017?
I’ve heard plenty of people say that they don’t want politics in their beer, but these shouldn’t be partisan issues. Shaming a brewery for celebrating equality feels like a new low. We’re better than that. If we can’t come together over something as simple as a beer that represents equality, I truly worry about our future.
I’ll gladly raise a glass to these breweries. You can bet this lady will continue to support breweries that unapologetically promote equality, unity and human rights. Cheers to that.