Sunday, July 14, 2024

Photo essay: Waterline’s “chick brewer” goes against the grain

Waterline head brewer Dani Bearss discusses her quick rise from bartender to head brewer, and her notion that being a female brewer warrants no special attention.

Waterline Brewing Company head brewer Dani Bearss. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Waterline Brewing Company head brewer Dani Bearss. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

WILMINGTON — Surrounded by a male-dominated industry, Waterline Brewing Company head brewer Dani Bearss — yes, with two “s” — said she recognizes the importance of women brewers defeating stereotypes, but she doesn’t feel the need to make a point by saying, “Hey look at me, I’m a girl doing it!”

“It’s at a point of contention among female brewers, where we should be lifting each other up. Yes I agree, but I think the best way to be a feminist or an equal rights [proponent] is to do equal work,” Bearrs said. “If you’re doing the same job but expecting special attention for it, it defeats the purpose. I am a chick brewer but I just love doing what I do. I love making beer.”

Bearss was sitting on an elevated brew stand overlooking the brewhouse. Running a modern brewhouse is a prime test of one’s ability to multi-task, and as she discussed her story she kept an eye on the temperature of the mash tank, the temperature of the cellar tanks, and the wort level of the brew kettle while calling out updates to the other brewers.

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From her first days as a bartender in 2016 to helping run a brewery in New Zealand for six months, Bearss’ accelerated rise to head brewer at Waterline comes from her firm appreciation of the art, science, and manual labor required in the brewhouse — and her ability to go beyond the rules that have guided brewers for centuries.

Read the story below:

Wilmington's "chick brewer"

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