Raising a glass: 10 women in beer

Claire Monk

team1Role: Head brewer, Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire, UK

Claire is one of the UK’s youngest head brewers, having founded Wellbeck Abbey Brewery in a listed barn on the Welbeck Estate in 2011 at the age of 23. Having studied microbiology and bio-chemistry at Sheffield University, she was unsure about which career path to follow when a lecturer friend suggested the food and drinks industry. She soon found herself at Kelham Island Brewery in Sheffield training as a brewer, later taking up the position of head brewer at Welbeck.

Together with a small team she manages the production of 15,000 pints of beer a week using malted barley, finest hops, the estate’s own natural spring water and a unique strain of nurtured yeast.

“It’s very demanding, but great fun”, she says of the role. “Brewing is a scientific process which is where my degree comes in. You have to consider what you want the ABV to be and work out how much sugar is needed for the yeast to ferment into alcohol, as well as deciding on what style you want. It’s a bit like following a cooking recipe, although the flavour can vary depending on the water used and how the hops affect aroma and bitterness.”

2 Responses to “Raising a glass: 10 women in beer”

  1. Jaco Hamilton-Attwell says:

    I think you missed an important one: Frieda Dehrmann from SAB/Inbev. She was SAB’s Consumer Science and Sensory Manager, but has since moved up the ladder to a position in SABMiller UK, but I am not sure what her new title is.

  2. “it was a German nun in the early 17th century that was the first to discover that adding hops to beer radically increased its shelf life” Even ignoring “early in the 17th century” when you mean “some time in the 12th century” this is total nonsense: there is no evidence whatsoever that Hildegarde was the first person to discover this. She was the first person known to have written about it: but that’s a very different matter. And in any case, you don’t increase the shelf life of beer merely by adding hops to it: you have to boil the hops in the wort for it to work.

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