Sometime in 2020 (time has admittedly turned a bit mushy for the last 2 years), I hopped on a beer tasting zoom call with the Chicago Beer Society. This is not something I do often but I heard a new brewer was going to be there, a woman renowned for her craft and of Jester King fame. A brewer doing new things with new ingredients. And I needed to know more.
Have you ever been on a zoom call with a 10 - 20 humans and everyone is supposed to be talking and engaging but it slowly becomes only two humans nerding out over gentian root? I have. That's the night I met Averie Swanson and knew my life was better for it.
Averie is the brewer and creator of all the amazing magicness at Keeping Together. Her goal with Keeping Together was to, "...attempt to produce thoughtful beers that reconnect us to each other." My friends, she has attempted and she has succeeded. Using Saison as her base she adds things like Michigan pears, wildflower honey, angelica root, and roasted rhubarb to create unique and nuanced beers. Reading her descriptions of them alone is a soothing and enjoyable pastime. As a founder, maker and brewer she is inspiring in so many ways and just a very lovely human to have around. The beer is delicious too!
A year and a half would go by before we could actually meet in person. That led to meeting again, and again, and again, and planning and collaborating on a new soap we'll release later this month! Inspired by my favorite beer, The Art of Holding Space, this soap is a little bit citrus, bright, floral, and angular, all smoothed out and balanced with the sweetness of the honey and pear that comes through from the beer swirled in the soap.
So much time and care and intention went into these bars, we cannot wait to share them with you! There's so much more to say, about the hops and grain and visiting the farm where the grain for the beer was grown and malted. But we'll save that for another day. Stay tuned for more in the weeks ahead.