Life is a crazy, beautiful mess of love, passion, and good beer for brewer Kristen Ewer of Historic Brewing. New Jersey bred but Flagstaff living, Kristen is sassy, strong and radiates passion like no one else. From surfing, to knitting, to sipping on her newest brew, Kristen is a woman who is not just strong, but she is empowering and a vision to women everywhere. Kristen inspires us to lead a life of shattering standards, "kicking-ass to just kick-ass," and to be strong in following our passions. Get to know Kristen more in our exclusive interview.
What does it mean to be inspired?
Kristen: To be inspired to me, is to feel passionate and driven in something, whether that be work, hobbies, home life, old or new ideas. Inspiration usually causes me to become incredibly productive and active, sometimes to the point of obsession where it is all i can think about, or actively work on. I usually can't stop working on something I feel inspired about until it's done! I love crafting in my free time at home, and once i start a project, usually knitting or crochet, I cannot work on anything else in my spare time until that project is finished. In the past I’ve even pulled all-nighters to bring a project to completion, even though it's for personal satisfaction! Those were in my younger days, now sleep finds me well before that usually happens. Overall, inspiration tends to start as a spark that morphs into an idea, that i turn into reality through hard work and dedication. It is a feeling that once it grabs hold of me, I succumb to it completely. Not always the most balanced way to live when inspired, but with the drive (and now many cups of coffee!) I know I can accomplish whatever I set out to do.
Where is your dream vacation and what would you do there?
Kristen: Dream vacation at this very moment, because it changes depending on mood and what I’m obsessing about travel-wise, would be surf camp. Either in Hawaii, or Costa Rica, or Australia, basically anywhere with amazing waves where my soul-purpose would be to get better and learn more about surfing, and outside of that, relax!
What was the best advice you were given?
Kristen: I was always brought up to strive, not for perfection, but for my best. I would bring home a test score of say 94%, and my mom would say “why isn't it 98%?” This was to always make me think “did i really try my hardest, did i do everything i could do to ensure my full effort and attention was given to the task at hand?” While that was instilled in me from a young age, one of my grandmothers always gave me this advice that has pretty well shaped my life, albeit slightly cliche: “work hard, but never forget to enjoy and have fun.” She was a big supporter of the idea that “what good is money if you never use it”, or “go ahead treat yourself, you won't be able to when you're dead,” and a lot of other similar concepts of work hard/play hard. One other piece of advice my first real adult job-boss gave me was "it is what it is.” There were many times when the outcomes of experiments at work (I used to be a chemist) were not what I was hoping for, or expected, and when I brought them to him with dismay, he would say, "it is what it is. You can't change it." So a combo of those three ideals have really shaped who I am, how I act, and how I conduct myself.
What is one message you want to convey to women?
Kristen: I’ve never felt like the strong feminist type who needs to assert herself in a world of men, but I've oddly enough always worked in male dominated fields. luckily, I've had very few experiences in which i've felt uncomfortable or belittled or discriminated against, and have usually been accepted and/or embraced by my colleagues and peers. I know this is not the norm, or every other woman's experience and I do consider myself lucky. I am a firm believer and supporter of strong women in male worlds, and kicking ass for the sake of all women and creating equal opportunities for women, and while we've come a long way, there is still a ways to go... I’m mainly a believer of be a strong woman to be a strong person. Kick ass for the sake of ass-kicking! Not because you're a woman, but because you're a KICKASS PERSON. Create a world where we don't have to be seen as strong women in male-dominated fields, and we don't have to worry about appearing "bitchy" when we're assertive, or submissive when we're content or agree. I have never and will never downplay women being strong women and making that known, but I do think it's time to focus on being strong for the sake of being strong, whether you're a man, woman, or any of the in between. Maybe we're not there yet, but I’m a huge fan of kicking ass for the sake of kicking some ass, no matter who you are.
Also, it's ok to be passionate about courageous, impactful things, and also really enjoy things like cooking, or crafting, or anything that makes you think of the 50's housewife. People always talk about men needing to be balanced between being dudes and getting in touch with their feelings, etc.... but we hardly tell the same thing to women! Personally, there is nothing I love more after a hard day of physical work, than plopping on the couch with my knitting and a beer. We can be feminine and get in touch with our inner "dude" for lack of a better term, without losing our identity to either "side.” Balance. Or, lets drop the adjectives and just DO THINGS! All the things!
What do you hope to see in the future?
Kristen: I hope to see and live in a world where men don't give women permission to be equal, but we make it so by rising to the occasion. I think this has already been done, it’s always happening, and will continue to happen. I would of course, love to see this happen in countries where it is much more of an extreme issue, where women are still being mentally and physically oppressed. Any way we can help to make this happen and help pave their way as the way has been paved for us, would be a noble cause.
I also would love to see the take over of big business by local! I am a huge fan of the local movement already underway, but let's figure out ways to make the local life even more affordable and sustainable, and not need the Walmarts and Targets and mass-production food stores and the like. The more small steps we can all take to achieve a simpler more local driven life I think the better.
What does your average day look like?
Kristen: I love working out in the morning before work. So, if I've planned ahead and gone to bed on time, I love waking up around 5:30 to work out. Then eat, shower, go to work, come home (depending on the day) anywhere between 4-7, make dinner or have leftovers (because who has the time to cook every dang day) and relax. I relax mostly on the couch with my husband and watch a movie or documentary. I love crafting or staying busy somehow while watching tv, so the time feels a bit less wasted. Or reading in bed. That's the ideal day. It doesn't always work out that way, but a girl can try! Weekends swing between wildly productive or incredibly relaxing (with some socializing sprinkled in). Or lots of hiking! Since moving out west, I have wanted to be an experienced hiker. Gotta get that summer hiking in before I have to start driving south to escape the cold and snow.
How do you inspire yourself?
Kristen: I inspire myself by surrounding myself with things/hobbies/activities/people that severely interest me. The older I've gotten the easier it is to say no to people and things that I either don't care or feel passionate about. It sounds harsh, but why waste your precious time? Focus on people and things that make you happy, and get rid of the rest. Hobbies and activities can do the trick, but so much of what helps me feel inspired and light a fire under my ass for whatever reason, depends on who I surround myself with; people who have done or are doing or want to do kickass things! There's nothing more invigorating than getting excited over new ideas or passions with friends or colleagues, or family.
What is your favorite thing about your profession?
Kristen: Working with my hands and creating something for others to enjoy! I knew desk jobs weren't for me, or rather, sedentary jobs. I love moving and being active all day, coming home and knowing that I put in a hard day's work. The best part for me is interacting with people who are drinking the beer that I, or we (as a team), made. Brewing beer is a labor of love so much of the time, you can exhaust yourself, push yourself to certain limits, and look back at the hours and hours spent to create this consumable product, and for me, the sometimes quite literal blood, sweat and tears is worth it when you can interact with someone who enjoys it. Or maybe doesn't understand it, and you can educate them, and maybe change their mind or maybe not, but interact and create an experience together. I love watching someone take a sip and see their eyes brighten as the glass comes down, they savor the beer, analyze what they're tasting/smelling/experiencing, and then exhale.
What’s your favorite quote?
Kristen: There are too many, but the one that literally popped into my mind right now as I type is "It's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all,” which I’m sure is from so many things, but I think from the movie, Moulin Rouge. Loving someone or something is to have passion or to be inspired (which seems to be a theme here), to throw yourself whole-heartedly towards that thing or person(s). For if we live life without passion, or love, is that the kind of life worth living?
Whats your favorite way to “move?”
Kristen: I used to run, but can't any more.I miss that daily. Not that I was good, or fast, but I loved creating my own wind (even if it was more like a breeze!). My all time favorite way of "moving" is surfing. It's what I imagine flying feels like. When you can match the speed of a wave, the wave grabs you and pulls you along, you drop in and just ride. I’m not much of a speed junky or anything like that, but that brief rush of velocity that settles into more of a glide, can't be beat in my book.
Describe yourself in three words
Kristen: determined, integrity, proud
BELLE FLEUR X Local Juicery