While visiting Denver for the Great American Beer Festival last October, we had the pleasure of stopping by Renegade Brewing Company, a small neighborhood brewery that prides itself on serving up offensively delicious beers.
The atmosphere was great and the beers were tasty, so we’ve kept them on our radar.
As a result, we were very excited to see some big news come from Renegade recently–they now have the youngest female brewmaster in Colorado, which simultaneously makes her amongst the youngest in the country as well.
Ali Benetka, age 24, is a Denver native who started as Renegade’s assistant brewer in January of 2013. Benetka quickly moved up the ranks and was promoted to the top slot after Renegade’s former head brewer left in May.
Before joining the Renegade team, Benetka worked for a year at Finch’s Beer Company in Chicago and took the Concise Course in Brewing Technology at the Siebel Institute.
Now that she’s Chairlady of the Brew, Benetka has big plans for the Renegade tap room lineup.
“I brewed a hoppy American wheat called Alpha Maiden that is being released in the taproom this next week,” Benetka said. “It’s a wheat beer without the bananas. It has a lot of floral, grapefruit aroma and a nice hop bitterness. I also brewed a pilot batch of Beet Saison for our anniversary… I’m hoping to brew that on the large system late this summer.”
Ali isn’t the only beer loving lady on the Renegade team. At this time, 60 percent of the Renegade staff is female, including Co-Founder Khara O’Connell and Taproom Manager Laura Vande Zande.
“I feel like the beer industry is filled with like minded people, both men and women, Benetka said. “That said, I really enjoy working at Renegade. It’s great to be part of a company that has such passionate and knowledgeable employees.”
As for Benetka’s advice for other young women who may be looking to get into the brewing game–in her mind, hard work knows no gender.
“A strong work ethic is what got me to where I’m at now,” Benetka said.”When I got into the industry, I didn’t really think a lot about women being the minority. I knew I wanted to brew, so I worked hard and made that happen.”