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International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day at Double-Barrelled

It brings us immense pride to be able to launch REACH, our brand new, 12% Imperial Stout, now available on our webshop and heading to independent beer shops across the country.

Hello, Reach

Reach is a 12% Espresso Martini inspired Imperial Stout.

It’s thick, luxurious, and really rather naughty. A real treat of a beer!

Why did we brew an imperial stout!?

The idea for Reach came from combining two of the things we love to drink – Espresso Martinis and Imperial Stouts.

It was a very quick winner of an idea!

The last year has been pretty rough for everyone in the beer industry, and this felt like the right time to blow sensibility out of the water and brew something a little bit silly.

The recipe 

We layered dark malt profiles in this complex grain bill to promote the roasty characteristics that transfer from espresso to martini. It’s smooth and sweet, as you’d expect from the classic cocktail style, and the coffee notes aren’t overpowering, but are enough to wonder if you’ll be able to get to sleep tonight.

We steeped Reach overnight with whole coffee beans from the all female roastery, Girls Who Grind Coffee, to impart those rich and roasty coffee notes.

After trying a range of their coffee varieties, we settled on coffee from the AMACA Association in Columbia, also produced by an all women team, which brings sweet black cherry and dark chocolate notes to the roast.

Read up more about the coffee we used here.

And happily, there’s no lactose in it – so it’s suitable for vegans too!

Brewed by

Chelsea, Becky, Liv, Em, Emma, Lydia, Kirsty, Luz and Luci

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sadly the brew day had to be restricted to Double-Barrelled team members only, so we enlisted the help of some of the women in our taproom and office teams, to get the job done.

It was a beast of a 13 hour brew day, but every woman in the team played their part – from mashing in our highest gravity wort to date, to digging out the malt before it made it’s way to a very happy farmer.

It was the best of days – this was a team effort through and through, all lead by our Assistant Brewer Chelsea.

What is IWCBD?

International Women’s Collaborative Brew Day is a worldwide event, held on International Women’s Day each year. It encourages all women working in, or interested in, beer to be involved with a brew, and engages them in the brewing process, or just finding out more about the beer they love drinking.

As an outsider to the industry, you may not think much about the concept of sexism or gender stereotyping with the beer industry, but sadly, in many cases, it’s like taking a step back into the ’50s.

We are really lucky in Reading – we have the Grumpy Goat bottle shop, owned by two wonderful women, great craft beer pubs with women at the helm like the Castle Tap & Fox in Caversham, and a local CAMRA brand that has numerous women members who also hold roles within the committees, as well as some incredible breweries that welcome everyone at their taprooms and within their teams.

However, sadly, this is not the picture across the industry as a whole and it’s damaging both to the women themselves, and the industry that finds itself suffering from their absence, and the lack of diversity.

From demeaning comments to women bartenders, to women being overlooked for job opportunities due to their gender, to the overall lack of female representation in pretty much every aspect of the industry, this isn’t just a board-level issue. It’s deep rooted, with the UK having one of the lowest numbers of female beer drinkers in the world, thanks to gender stereotyping, outdated advertising and misinformation. The whole industry has struggled to get away from the stereotypes that women don’t drink pints, that beer is for men and wine is for women, and women certainly have no place in a brewery. Tut!

From our perspective as a brewery, we are relatively new. We haven’t been in the industry very long, compared to the brewers, writers, bottle shop and brewery owners like Melissa Cole, Jaega Wise and Jan Rogers (to name a few) who’ve led the campaign for fairer representation across the industry for the many years before us. They’ve suffered the discrimination for far longer, and fought to make changes to ensure that new comers to the industry don’t have to. Things are changing, but there’s still a long way to go.

IWCBD was founded by Burnt Mill’s Head Brewer Sophie De Ronde, and encourages women to see that there is a role for them in breweries, in whatever capacity they may like. It helps them engage with the industry as a whole, providing a network of voices, companions, friends.

Women have a place in all brewing spaces, and should not feel self conscious at beer festivals as one of the isolated few women in the room, or enjoying a pint on their own in their local.

It’s a great event and hopefully next year, or at least in a post-COVID world, we’ll be able to invite anyone who identifies as a woman, to join the brew day fun at Double-Barrelled. (So if you are interested, keep your eyes peeled on our socials next year!!)

The artwork

As well as having the know how to lead the biggest beer that Double-Barrelled has ever done, our Assistant Brewer Chelsea also created the artwork behind the can.

(Talk about multi-talented)

After the brew day, Chelsea sketched up some life drawings from photos she had taken of the team brewing the beer of the day. The result was a range of awesome sketches which we have since translated onto the can, thanks to help of the team at Kingdom and Sparrow.


We worked with our resident and local photographer Cat to record photos of the day.  Cat kindly also wrote a blog about her experience of photographing the day 

Unite Compassion

Each year, IWCBD has a theme – and, after the tumultuous year we have all had, the theme for 2021 was Unite Compassion.

We had a discussion about what we’d like to do to reflect the theme in this beer, and decided to utilise it to support the women’s education charity – The Wonder Foundation.   

We know that women both in the UK and around the world don’t get the same chances in life as men do, due to artificial barriers being put into place from when they are girls.

Wonder are working to help make changes to that – working with women-led local partners in communities around the world to bring education projects to women and girls.

We are really proud to be making a donation to Wonder for every can of Reach purchased, helping girls all around the world, Reach for the Stars.



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