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24th February 2023

Manchester Crafty Beers Girls & Strange Times Brewing Co’s Collaboration Brew Day for International Women’s Day

Photo credit: John Clarke

On Saturday 18th February almost 30 women came together to brew a special beer at Salford’s Strange Times Brewing Co which will be pouring at a celebratory event at Port Street Beer House on International Women’s Day.

Members of Manchester Crafty Beer Girls, women from across the city’s hospitality sector, and others from further afield all joined hosts Strange Times in getting hands-on to brew a Hazy Orange Pale Ale and enjoy a day of learning, sharing and companionship.

Educational And Fun-Filled

Participants were up bright and early to take part in the ‘mashing in’ at the start of the brew and learnt all about the water, malts, hops and yeast that were to go into the beer. There was a lot of zesting, chopping and juicing of fruits with over 25 kg of fresh oranges also going into the brew. Along with a beer-based Q&A, a tutored tasting of Strange Times’ beers, and a quiz with prizes, everyone was treated to delicious handmade pizzas generously provided by the Strange Times team. There was even the appetite to enjoy some well-earned post-brew pints at the local Bee Orchid pub.

Women And Beer

Manchester Crafty Beer Girls is a social group for beer-loving and beer-curious women who have monthly meet-ups in independent pubs, venues and taprooms across Greater Manchester. It was founded in 2022 by Francesca (Chess) Slattery after she moved to the city. As a Beer Sommelier, Certified Cicerone® and international beer judge, who has worked in the independent brewing industry for over 8 years, Chess says the aims of setting up the group are simple.

“We just want to encourage other women to enjoy beer and offer a welcoming space for those who are curious but don’t have any pals who share this interest. Manchester has so many fantastic venues that champion great beer and we want to support that as much as we can.”

This was their first collaboration brewing project, organised with Strange Times’ Head Brewer Lauren Guy and Sarah Hyde of Rambling Beer Co, as part of the annual International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day ‘Unite’ celebrations.

Lauren had already come to some of the group’s Meet-Ups and was excited to host the collaboration.

“We wanted it to be as informative and hands-on as possible but really it was all about enjoying the day and spending time together creating something that we can all be proud of. I was blown away by how many women came to join us and the curiosity and enthusiasm they showed.”

Representing Strength

The beer has been named ‘Boudica’s Chariot’ and is described as tasting refreshing and zesty with some pleasing biscuity notes and juicy sweetness.

Named in honour of the historic British heroine who is a symbol of justice and, in-keeping with Strange Times’ love of mythology and legend, the Chariot tarot card was an inspiration for its representation of willpower, determination and strength.

The beer also features the British hop Boadicea (an alternative spelling of Boudica) which Lauren was keen to use as part of supporting the local hop growing industry. The design has been created especially by artist Mina Mond who does all of Strange Times’ labels.


Sarah brought Corin Bell of the Open Kitchen into the project. They are Manchester’s leading sustainable catering company that utilise surplus ingredients to tackle food wastage. They kindly donated much of the fruit that went into ‘Boudica’s Chariot’.

“I’ve had fun working with Open Kitchen in the past, using surplus fruits to brew great beers with. It was wonderful to bring them into this project as we were able to save these unsold oranges and turn them into something delicious!”

Welcoming Women From All Walks Of Life

Claire Coster and Lorna-Jane Evans are keen home brewers with ambitions to open their own microbrewery one day. They read about the brew day in an online publication and travelled down from Cumbria especially to join.

“It was an amazing opportunity to network with new people and to get hands-on in the brewing process on a larger scale than we’re used to with our home brewing.

“We are still buzzing from the experience and we were made to feel so welcome by all.

“Networking with like-minded women who are passionate about beer allowed us to share ideas, knowledge and experience, empowering us further to plan our own microbrewery journey within our local area. A massive thanks to all involved!”

Ana Morimoto, who lives full-time in Brazil, was over visiting a Manchester-based friend and they couldn’t miss the opportunity to get involved.

“I felt very welcomed and inspired by the great women I met. It was the first time I had the opportunity to see the brewing process up close and get physically hands-on with it. I’ve never had such deep conversations about something that is normally taken as a “man’s subject”. I never saw anything like that in my country and I’ll definitely gather women to get our own Sao Paulo Crafty Beer Girls!”

Cath Potter is a cider expert and Chair of Central Manchester CAMRA branch. She’s been attending the Manchester Crafty Beer Girls Meet-Ups from the beginning but has never had a chance to do a brew day before.

“The Strange Times crew and everyone were so welcoming and I learned loads! To see so many young women engaged in the brewing process was inspiring and shows the future of the industry and in the consumption of quality beer.”

Devon McDevitt-Norman is the Deputy Manager of Northern Quarter beer destination, The Crown & Kettle. She’s already hosted a Crafty Beer Girls Meet-Up at the pub and she and three female members of her team joined on the day.

“I think it was a brilliant brew day, perfect for beginners, pros and everyone in between. It was refreshing to see so many women come together to brew a tasty craft ale, especially in a typically male-dominated sector.”

International Women’s Day Showcase @ Port Street Beer House

Wednesday 8th March 2023

Along with Lauren Soderburg and Fahmida Hussain at Port Street, Chess has organised a free entry International Women’s Day Beer Showcase that is open to all. Alongside ‘Boudica’s Chariot’ will be other female-brewed beers pouring on the bar from breweries including Neptune, Cloudwater, Squawk, Alphabet and Track.

Chess and Sarah will also be delivering an interactive beer and food pairing featuring the International Women’s Day beers and pizza and ice cream from Nell’s Pizza.

Entry to Port Street Beer House is free for all. If you’d like to join in the beer and food pairing, tickets are just £15 per person and include five beers plus three pizzas and one ice cream beer pairing.

The showcase is from 3pm and the Beer and Pizza Pairing takes place from 7-8pm. Tickets are available directly from Port Street Beer House or on Eventbrite:


Notes to editors:

More photos of the brew day can be viewed here. Photo Credit Sophie Munson:

For any trade businesses looking to purchase the beer, please contact Aaron at Strange Times Brewing Co:

Manchester Crafty Beer Girls can be contacted at

Twitter:@craftybeergirls / Instagram: @crafty_beer_girls

Francesca (Chess): Twitter @FCSlattery / Instagram @gingeraleenthusiast

Sarah at Rambling Beer Co: Instagram @theramblingbeerco / Facebook The RamblingBeerCo

Participants on the day: Izzy Morrell-Neal, Bethany Mae Allen, Devonshire McDevitt-Norman and Lilly Williamson (all from The Crown and Kettle), Caitlin O’Shea (from The City Arms), Nicky Kong (from Cat In The Glass), Sophie Munson (from Buxton Brewery), Lianne Williams, Claire Coster, Krysten Blackstone, Lisa Hey, Cath Potter, Katy Holliday, Lorna Evans, Emma Coupland, Sarah Hopes, Hannah Davidson, Carlin Dixon, Claire Gray-Paetkau, Ellen Harris, Ana Morimoto, Rachel Horsfield, Caz O’Donnell, Saoirse Bryar, Roisin Wherry, Sarah Hyde (Rambling Beer Co), Francesca Slattery (Crafty Beer Girls) and Lauren Guy (Strange Times Brewing Co).

About Strange Times Brewing Co

Strange Times Brewing Co. was created in Salford, Greater Manchester by founder, Alex and head brewer, Lauren at the start of 2021. Having 25 years in the industry between us, we wanted to build a business that represented who we are and what we want to do more than anything we’d been involved with before. Since then we have built up a loyal customer base and hired Aaron as assistant brewer.

From the name and imagery to the range and recipes, we wanted to celebrate creativity and storytelling. Our research always worm-holed from the places the ingredients originate from into myths and legends from that region. We found artist, Mina Mond (@minamondart) and knew instantly her incredible work would fit in with exactly what we were trying to do and setting each image to a tarot card tied the stories and the imagery together. We decided on a core range of 5 beers and made plans for speciality brews throughout the year.

Twitter @Str4ngeTimes / Instagram @str4ngetimes


Press release from Manchester Crafty Beer Girls.

Manchester Crafty Beer Girls can be contacted at