The newest batch of young guns in Colorado's brewing industry wear pink boots
Westword: What is your brewing experience?
Sydney Skilken: TRVE is my first job in the brewing industry. [TRVE owner] Nick Nunns was crazy and generous enough to take a chance on me based on my enthusiasm and not my brewing experience (or lack thereof). I've homebrewed for a couple years and spent time studying and drinking and reading on my own.
What is your brewing education and regular education?
BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Tufts University. I have no formal brewing education. Again, reading, homebrewing and drinking as many different beers as I could.
What do you like about brewing?
The intricacies and the possibilities. Learning the ins and outs of the processes and all of the ways that slight changes interact and alter the final outcome is really fun. Also, the physicality of the process. I've found few things as satisfying recently as when I sit down after a day of brewing or kegging and can have a beer that I've helped make. I always feel exhausted, but it tastes so good.
What's the most challenging/rewarding parts of being a woman in the brewhouse?
I'm fortunate to work in a place where being a woman doesn't really affect how I'm treated. I've occasionally encountered a few individuals who have scoffed or seemed skeptical of my position in the industry, but it is extremely rare. What's rewarding is doing something I really enjoy and hopefully helping other women to get into beer if they feel so inclined, but maybe had felt intimidated or excluded. The support I've experienced from women I don't know coming into the brewery far outweighs anyone who has had any skepticism or criticism.
Favorite beer styles to drink and brew?
To drink? Right now, session beers. Historically they are 4.5 percent ABV or lower (this number is debated), and there is a resurgence in craft breweries across the country in the popularity of low alcohol and full flavored and interesting beers. I love the idea of it. It focuses on community and interaction and enjoying delicious beer. To brew? I guess it changes. It's always fun to brew something I've never brewed before, so when we have a new beer scheduled I'm always looking forward to that.
What is your ultimate goal in the industry?
Right now, I'm really enjoying just learning and being a part of this industry. It's all very new to me, so I'm having an awesome time with what I've got on my plate. Down the road, we'll see. I'd like to keep making beer and drinking beer too, and hanging out with some really great people in the process.