Women brewers in Saint John create new beer for International Women’s Day

Three microbreweries in the Saint John area have teamed up to create a refreshing way to mark International Women’s Day this Sunday. They’ve launched a limited run of a new beer called ‘Sparkölsch.’

It’s a traditional, German-style beer, light in colour, according to Alyssa Donaldson, the head brewer at Loyalist City Brewing in Saint John.

But it’s got a unique ingredient, which she believes signifies “strong and independent women” – glitter.

“So the glitter is food-grade,” Donaldson said. “It’s completely safe. It’s tasteless and it just looks really cool.”

Donaldson said the idea for a new beer came from brewers at Foghorn Brewing in Rothesay. Together, with friends at Saint John’s Big Tide Brewing Co., a concept was born. She said she perfected the recipe over a two-week period with Wendy Papadopoulos from Big Tide.

“The concept of glitter cocktails is something that’s out there, and that we really hadn’t seen in a beer,” Papadopoulos said. “And so we thought wouldn’t it be neat if we could try it with a beer. And that’s really where the idea was born one early morning in the brew house. And from there, we took it to Foghorn and here we are.”

Sparkölsch was brewed at Foghorn Brewing on Valentine’s Day – on purpose – to be ready in time for International Women’s Day March 8th, and it has proven to be very popular.

Donaldson said the batch totaled about 800L, including forty kegs and sixty 750 ml bottles. The majority of it is spoken for or already gone.

“I’m just trying to reinforce that (women) really are (strong and independent), and we can really do whatever we want, you know?” said Davidson. “We’re not really trying to make a manly, bold beer. We’re really just doing something that we wanted to do and I think we’ve been really successful in doing that.”

Donaldson said they wanted to create a unique beer, but also, one with a purpose. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Sparkölsch will be donated to support women in the Greater Saint John area.

“I have personal experience with being in a situation where I felt like I had nowhere to go,” Donaldson began. “And if I can do anything to help some other woman, then I’d be very, very, very proud of that.”

“It’s really nice to be able to make a contribution to the local community,” Papadopoulos began. “Whether it’s scholarships for women in no-traditional roles, last year we supported a program for survivors of domestic abuse through Outward Bound, which is a locally-run program here. And then again this year, here, with the United Way.”

Donaldson said the popularity of the beer may prompt another batch, but Papadopoulos isn’t so sure.

“Sometimes the really special ones have to stay really special,” Papadopoulos said. “That’s not to say that it won’t ever happen again, but I think that if it becomes a regular, it’s not quite as special as it was the very first time.

“So, we’ll see.”


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