According to Bruce Aidells and Dennis Kelley in the book "Real Beer and Good Eats," beer was brewed by women as part of their kitchen responsibilities. It is said that the image of a witch stirring a bubbling cauldron came from this very activity as her trusty cat kept rodents away from the grain. In colonial America ale was drunk with every meal, and our forefathers, who considered the beverage liquid bread, declined to tax it.
Fast forward to 2010, when the women brewers at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing invited other females to make an organic Belgian-style Wit beer, or "white beer." Owner Emily Thomas along with brewers Kelly Vaillancourt and Nicole Beatie were joined by two community members. The ladies used traditional ingredients coriander and orange peels, although theirs were from fresh blood oranges. Just 155 gallons were brewed.
This opaque grapefruit-juice-colored beer is served in a 12 ounce wine glass with a wedge of orange. I found it tart, sparkly on the tongue, light and refreshing.
The brewery is also excited about the upcoming release of a barley wine after aging eight months. This beer is the result of the Homebrew to Probrew program, in which the homebrewed recipe judged best is made by SCMB on a big scale.
Current special events include Thank You Thursdays where $1 from each pint sold is donated to a local charity. On Der Weenie Wednesdays a liter of beer is just six dollars. Become a facebook fan to remain informed.
Recently, brewery staff planted 120 hop plants in Prunedale at the sheep ranch of Garden Variety Cheese. Six different varieties were planted to determine what will grow best, and hopefully in a few years SCMB will be self-sufficient with certified organic, biodynamic hops.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, 402 Ingalls Street, Suite 27, Santa Cruz, 425-4900. Open daily noon to 10 p.m. Visit santacruzmountainbrewing.com.
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