Beer, a beverage most definitely made for women AND men alike…
Beer has been brewed for over 10,000 years and women have almost always been the brewers. Originally made at home as a safe source of water, beer has contained soluble nutrients that the whole family (even the children!) enjoyed, and as it was made at home it was a woman’s duty to make it.
During the medieval era women remained in charge of brewing. In fact, many of the motifs associated with witchcraft were also associated with brewing – the black cat (which would stop mice and other vermin from eating the malted barley) and the bubbling cauldron (which was used of course to boil all the ingredients for the beer). As a result, many female medieval brewers were accused of witchcraft and executed.
During the Hundred Years War (1337-1453) all soldiers were promised by the military 8 pints per day! The sheer volume of beer needed for this could not be made at home brewers, and so the first commercial, factory sized breweries were formed. Women at the time were not allowed to work outside the home and so brewing then became inherently a ‘man’s job’.
But not for us at Butcombe! As a salute to International Women’s Day 2018, we’re shining the spotlight on our wonderful brewer Jayne, a woman of great character, great mind and great brewing skills!
So, how did you get into brewing?
I studied Biochemistry at uni, but needed a more creative outlet. I went on to do a Brewing Masters degree, which combined a long-time love of beer with a passion for science – now I can’t imagine doing anything else!
How long have you been a Brewmaster?
There are specific exams you have to take to become a Brewmaster which I haven’t done just yet, but I’ve been a brewer for nearly 3 years.
What’s a day in the life of a brewer like?
Hectic! There’s always something going on in the brewery and you have to be prepared to muck in and work as a team. It’s all go from first thing in the morning until all the work is finished.
What was the first beer you brewed/helped to brew?
My first job was at Molson Coors, so the first beer I brewed on my own was Carling. Rare Breed was my first solo brew at Butcombe, although I’ve just designed and brewed a brand new beer for Butcombe… watch this space!
Is working at a brewery different than what you thought it would be?
I never thought I would spend so much time in wellie boots! It is a crazy life with early starts and a packed-out schedule, but the camaraderie in the team is second to none.
If you were to describe yourself as a beer, what type of beer would you be?
A good session beer – I’m pretty relaxed, easy-going and down to earth.
What beer style is most fun to brew?
I always enjoy brewing our Bohemia Pilsner – the process is different to our other beers and it’s fun to push the brewery to its limits.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
Probably a teacher. Or a scientist. I loved science as a kid (and as a grown-up!)
What’s your favourite Butcombe Beer?
Goram – it’s loaded with new world hops, making it juicy and refreshing.
What’s your favourite beer and food pairing?
A good Bavarian wheat beer paired with nachos – loads of chilli, loads of cheese – yum!
What’s the weirdest/most random ingredient you’ve thought about adding to a beer?
Nothing’s really weird with beer anymore is it? I have 2 cats and did briefly consider putting catnip in beer (not for kitty consumption though!), but I researched it and it’s already been done!