Bend Brewing Co. announced last week that the company’s award-winning brewer, Tonya Cornett, has been invited to serve as an international guest brewer for U.K. pub company J.D. Wetherspoon’s annual International Real-Ale Festival.
Cornett is the first female brewer to be invited to participate, and will be the only representative from the United States. “J.D. Wetherspoon invites only five brewers from all over the world to guest-brew each year,” Cornett explained. “I am thrilled and honored to be included.”
Cornett has been with Bend Brewing Co. since 2002 and is a graduate of the World Brewing Academy of Germany, a partnership between Seibel Institute of Chicago and Doemens Academy of Munich. In recent years she has garnered several gold, bronze and silver medals for her beer and in 2008 was honored as the first woman to win the title of Brewmaster of the Year at the World Beer Cup.
Cornett will travel to the U.K. on March 14 with a beer recipe of her choosing, with which she will brew 325 barrels (over 10,000 gallons) of beer in two days. She intends to make an amber beer with American hops. The beer will be distributed at J.D. Wetherspoon’s over-700 pubs, where customers will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite of the guest-brewed international ales.
The festival, billed as the “World’s Biggest International Real-Ale Festival”, takes place each fall. Wetherspoon’s festival organizer, Jonathan Yates, said of last year’s event, “We brewed four overseas beers in the U.K. for the festival, and it was a fantastic opportunity for our customers to sample beers not previously available in the U.K.”