Listermann Brewing Company | Call To Farms
In the late 1930s, much of the world was at war. As time marched on, and the turmoil of afar reached over the ocean to impact American society, men volunteered to serve in the military. Great navies carried American men from both coasts to fight the ideologies of totalitarian regimes while patriarchal American society now found itself reliant on a female workforce to take up the slack. Call To Farms, by Listermann Brewing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a triumphant expression of collaboration and hard work.
Call to Farms tastes as feisty as those women who took to the tractors to keep the family farms working. It’s spicy and bold and as equally unafraid to get to work as the previously untapped female workforce of 1930s and 1940s America. With a 6.3% ABV, Call To Farms won’t knock you down, but it will lift you right up. It’s an easy drinker and immediately evokes feelings of work accomplished and toil rewarded.
The women taking up the mantle of leadership and the burden of farm work had a job to do. It wasn’t for glory or to further an agenda. It was life. It was food on the table. Uncomplicated. Simple. Just like this beer. Like any proper farmhouse ale, Call To Farms isn’t trying to be something it isn’t. It tastes as light and fresh as ingredients physically pulled from the earth can be. There’s no pretentiousness. No elaborate ingredients from faraway places. No rock-star, hops of the moment, gimmickry. Just beer thoughtfully brewed and artfully presented.
Call To Farms is part of a three beer release by Listermann Brewing to celebrate International Women’s Day.
The brewery hosted a festive event to celebrate beer and honor the hard work of generations of women who got their hands dirty and fought to keep them dirty. The proceeds from the evening were donated to Women Helping Women, a local organization providing evidence-based prevention and expert crisis intervention and support services for survivors of dating violence, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking in Hamilton and Butler, Ohio Counties. This is the second year Listermann Brewing has partnered with WHW for International Women’s Day.
Of the three brews released, Call To Farms is my favorite and brewed by two women who work for Listermann Brewing. At times it’s easy to overlook the importance of noticing a brew was created and brewed by women. Perhaps Kristen Ballinger, head of the Listermann marketing department, and the amateur brewer responsible for co-creating and brewing Call To Farms explains it best:
“It took me five years before I finally snagged a position at a local craft brewery. I felt that every position I would apply to I would get overlooked for the burly, bearded guy because he looked like your stereotypical craft beer drinker and brewer.”
Call To Farms is imbued with the essence of the spirit in which it was brewed. “This project has been important to me because I feel that women in the craft beer industry (or any industry) can get overlooked, and they deserve to be celebrated,” said Ballinger.
Call To Farms not only celebrates women of the present but it elevates the efforts of women from the past. We need no more evidence of how necessary this is, then by social media reactions to the photos of women brewing this beer. Nicole Freeman, Listermann’s taproom manager who brewed Call To Farms alongside Ballinger, noted, “One of the comments on a photo was, ‘I bet she needed help lifting the bags of grain.’ Seriously? They were heavy, yeah, but I lifted those damn bags myself!”
The gorgeous art on the Call To Farms bottle is as elegant as the beer is balanced. The colors are bright and evocative of the time they represent. Katie Jaeger, a local artist with graphic design firm Lemon Grenade, is responsible for the artwork. In a sea of overwrought and needlessly fussy beer labels, Jaeger’s period colors and powerful images properly represent the simplistic beauty of this beer. It works. It just all works.
Ideally, female brewers would be so ubiquitous that mentioning a woman had brewed beer would be extraneous; society would naturally assume that either a woman or a man could have brewed a delicious beer. Alas, this exemplary society has yet to materialize, but it’s good to know our future is trending towards a more inclusive culture and one that’s still cranking out terrific beer.
Brewers both professional and amateur are creatives satisfying their urge to create. American women during World War II answered their call just as the men responded to the daunting call to arms. Any fan of well-crafted beer with a great story should be equally eager to answer this Call To Farms.