I'll have a piece of fruit with that beer!

AZ Girls Pint Out had a great time in August with our generous hosts, Beer Research Institute.  We did a fun fruit and beer combination tasting.  It was great to get out to the “east side” to visit this kicked back, relaxing brewery.  Mesa is a bit low on the number of breweries that it has, so it was a welcome bright spot for Mesa craft beer lovers when BRI opened in November 2014.  This brewery does a fantastic job with West Coast-style IPA’s and Belgian-style beers.  They have awesome food made from scratch that has never disappointed me on multiple visits.

We had about 30 ladies in attendance on this lovely Wednesday evening.  Our pairings were as follows:

·        Peach Lolli with peaches

·        Professor Plum in the Brewery with the Mash Paddle (plum Saison) with plums

·        Anniversary Ale (Chardonnay barrel-aged Lolli) with chardonnay grapes

·        Mjango Unchained IPA with mango

The pairing of fruit and beer was really fun.  It was neat to taste the fruit and then take a sip to see if you could really pick up that flavor in the beer.  This was definitely a unique experience that no one at our table had every done before.  I think we’d all be game to do it again with different beers and different fruits because it was so fun.  Alongside the fruit and beer, we had their nachos, poutine, pretzel nuggets and chips with salsa and guacamole.  We got to share the appetizers at each table.  After some drinking and noshing, Matt Trethewey, one of the brains behind the brews at BRI, gave the AZ Girls Pint Out a great tour of the brewery so we could get up close to where all the magic happens.  Overall, it was a great time.  I’m looking forward to returning to BRI on my own in the near future.  Here’s to more fun AZGPO events the rest of the year!

McFate + Coloring = Amazing Girls Pint Out Evening

On July 27, the ladies experienced a busy and full event at McFate Brewing in south Scottsdale. The newer location featured an on-sight brewery, which we all got to tour. Our fabulous tour-guide, Gabe, helped us understand the history of McFate (once known as Fate brewing) and how it started, how it has grown, and where it plans to go in the future. The coolest feature of the tour included seeing how the brewery developed their own system to gauge how much beer is remaining in their vats. 

Besides the tour, we got to sample some excellent beers. They had a lot to choose from, and our flight included their Porch Pilz, Get Wit It, and On Deck Session IPA. We each got to choose our own pints as well. We feasted on their soft pretzels with cheese, hummus, and spinach dip. We were also given a heads up that McFate's famous candy bar stout will be releasing a few varieties this coming fall.

The best part of the evening was our coloring activity. The page was hand drawn by Sheryl Hugill, one of our fellow GPO members! Not only did it provide the stress relief that so many of us females could use from time to time, it also allowed for us to donate school supplies to Treasures for Teachers. In addition, we raised $150.50 to donate to them.

 

Doughnuts and Beer. Ummm, yes please.

Have you ever had one of those super awful, difficult, exhausting days where all you want to do is comfort yourself with doughnuts and beer? If not, you’re a damn liar.

Luckily, the ladies of Arizona Girls Pint Out know exactly what I’m talking about, and last month they organized an epic event pairing doughnuts with beer. I know, right?? I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself.

Our friends at The Wren House were cool enough to host us for the evening of June 15 for some mingling, chatting, laughing, hot dog eating and good times. As always, raffle tickets could be purchased for some pretty cool AZGPO swag, with proceeds going to Power Paws, an awesome organization that provides highly skilled assistance dogs to kids and adults with disabilities.

If you haven’t been to the Wren House yet, I HIGHLY recommend it. Just south of Thomas on 24th Street, they converted a 1922 house into a cozy tap room with a funky retro vibe. AZGPO ladies (and a few gents, as this was a rare co-ed event) bellied up to the subway tiled bar or gathered around the huge community table in the middle of the room, and enjoyed a flight of four carefully chosen beers paired with four delicious mini doughnuts from Rollover Doughnuts.

I’ve got three words for ya: A Maze Balls.

MMMM DONUTS. MMMM BEER.

MMMM DONUTS. MMMM BEER.

i started with the Jolene and the spicy thai coconut doughnut. The Jolene is a delicious ginger pale ale and perfectly complimented the subtle spiciness of this glorious frosted, cream filled confection. It was almost a religious experience.

Next I moved on to the Black Caddis with Strawberry Cheesecake doughnut. I’m a HUGE fan of porters, so the hint of chocolate and coffee in this delicious roasty (is roasty a word?) beer was right up my alley. And I’m a fluffy girl so the Strawberry Cheesecake was a no brainer. I think this was the best pair of the night.

One of my FAVORITE Wren House beers is the Jomax, a gorgeous, dark and flavorful oatmeal stout. It’s a MUST TRY for everyone. And to my delight, paired with this chocolate donut with spiced walnuts, it was pretty much a party in my mouth.

The final pair of the night was the Globe-Miami Weisse with a delicate, adorable Rose Sugar doughnut. Now I have to be honest here. . . I am not a fan of Berliner weisse beers. I have tried many, but I just can’t do it. It’s the tartness? The after taste? I don’t know. But they are totally not my thing.  And there’s nothing more annoying than someone knocking a brewery’s beer when they aren’t a fan of that style anyway. So I went rogue and asked for the IPA instead. Regardless of me straying off course, it was still a successful pairing if I do say so myself. The floral and citrus in this IPA complimented the hints of rose in the doughnut.

And if all that beer and doughnuts wasn’t enough, Short Leash Hot Dogs was parked right outside serving their unconventional, flatbread embraced dogs and brats, giving me that final little push into a full on food coma. Needless to say, I ended the evening in a satisfied, sugar induced euphoria, wishing I had worn stretchy pants. It was like, the best night EVER.

So what did we learn from all of this?

Wren House = Awesome.

Rollover Doughnuts = Fabulous.

Short Leash Hot Dogs = Scrumptious.

AZGPO = A super fun group of girls who love beer, help their community and throw one hell of a party.

If you haven’t been to an AZGPO event, come join us! Next event is July 27th at McFate South at 6:00, details are on the AZGPO Facebook page. And if you haven’t been to The Wren House, stop wasting time reading this and get on over there!

Yoga and beer: A perfect combination!

About two dozen AZGPO members got together February 21 for a little vinyasa and downward dogs -- followed by tasty breakfast bites and delicious craft beer at Huss Brewing Company in Tempe.  What a perfect way to start a Sunday and cap off a fabulous Arizona Beer Week!

Here are the details:

YOGA AT A BREWERY...WHAAAAT???
Yep, that’s right. Yoga teacher Maggie Ryan leads a wonderful vinyasa class in the heart of Huss Brewery every Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. We joined for the 11 a.m. class and were treated to a wonderful class full of invigorating asanas. For those new to yoga, Downward Drafts (which BTW is a fabulous name!) is a great way to get an introduction to yoga in a relaxed setting. For those who have been practicing for a while, the class is so much fun and an opportunity to explore yoga amid beer tanks and the sweet smell of fresh hops. And bonus: Following shavasana (the final resting pose), you can head right over to the tap room for a fresh pint!

DON’T FORGET THE BEER!
Huss Brewing has the most welcoming tap room and its beers are top notch. Several AZGPO members hung out afterward sipping on a That’ll Do IPA (7.1 % ABV), or Sunday Funday, a pale wheat ale (5.4% ABV) or Koffee Kolsch, a German kolsch with coffee (4.75%).  http://www.hussbrewing.com/

A SENSE OF COMMUNITY
In addition to sipping on some craft beers, we had a full spread of breakfast foods including yogurt, oranges, bananas, coffee cake and other treats. Yum!

IF YOU MISSED IT ...
No worries. Maggie holds her class each Sunday at Huss, so you can drop by any time for Downward Drafts: http://on.fb.me/1SgRE3v

Pedal Haus: Kicking off AZ Beer Week in style!

AZGPO kicked off Arizona Beer Week with a little bit of Dortmunder, WItbier and Dubbel under a beautiful Arizona night sky. Plus, we helped out an animal rescue group that finds homes for abandoned pets.

Here’s a few things to know about our trip to the Pedal Haus in Tempe on February 11:

WHAT IS PEDAL HAUS?
PedalHaus opened in fall in downtown Tempe and features a wide selection its own craft brews as well as a variety of other delicious beers. The space is absolutely enticing--with a huge outdoor beer garden that includes not only fire pits for chilly nights and picnic tables perfect for large groups but also a lawn area perfect for playing cornhole/bags and pingpong!  You should check out this place if you haven’t already: www.pedalhausbrewery.com

WHAT BEERS DID WE TASTE?
We had three large tastings of some delicious house-brewed beer. First up was a golden Dortmunder (5.2% ABV) that was brewed with German malts. We paired that with some tasty brat bites. Next up was a Belgian-style Witbier (5.1% ABV), which Pedal Haus says is the first beer it brewed. That hefty tasting was matched with a selection of yummy cheeses and bread. And finally, we sampled a Belgian-style Dubbel (7% ABV) with some fantastic bacon-wrapped dates.  Overall, it was definitely a tasting that satisfied the senses and filled the belly!

WHAT ELSE HAPPENED?
We chatted and drank and chatted and drank some more and welcomed several new faces as well as returning ones who met new craft brew-loving friends. In all, about 50 women joined! The raffle was a hit, too. In addition to some sweet AZGPO gear and a Pedal Haus gift certificate, AZGPO gave away two passes to the Arizona Strong Beer Festival, courtesy of our friends from the Arizona Society of Home Brewers.

WHAT IS AZ HAPPY TAILS?
AZ Happy Tails is a wonderful charity that finds homes for animals that are stray, abandoned or at risk of euthanasia. AZGPO members raised $361 during our event to help the local dog rescue, which is run through home-based foster providers. We even had the pleasure of hanging out with Sable, a 3-year-old Chiweenie dog! For more information: http://happytailsaz.org/

 

 

 

 

 

Pints, Painting, and a Chicago Connection

On Thursday January 21, 20 of us gathered at Two Brothers Tap House and Brewery to tap into our inner artist and attempt painting while drinking.  This can go either one of two directions, but for most of us, it was just fun!  The few that were not painting were there to enjoy their beer flight and offer “constructive” peanut gallery criticism to our artwork. 

We learned from our Two Brothers representative, Sam, that this brewery was originally from Chicago (the Two Brothers Jim and Jason Ebel began home brewing in 1992 and opened their first business together in 1996) and had been open in Scottsdale for ~ one year now.  Their food menu was created to pair well with beer.  The Scottsdale location has also just started brewing in October 2015.  The beers can be purchased at Total Wine and Two Brothers' has a total of ~ 11 locations around the nation, with Chicago still being their main home.

Two Brothers was “on” with prompt service, and an amazing appetizer spread (especially the pesto grilled cheese thing – amazing!) so that we could be well sated before painting (and also to make sure that we didn’t get our greasy food all over the canvases). 

For those choosing to participate in the flight and appetizers (a good deal at only $15), we received 6 beer samples (with samples served every 10-15 minutes, making it important to keep up with your samples or make sure that you didn’t use them to wash your paintbrush in).  The Domaine Dupage (sample #2) is their “flagship” beer that they are known for.

We also received a nice “swag” glass full of chapstick, buttons, stickers, and more importantly a card to receive a free 12 oz. sample each month through the year (ensuring that we will definitely be returning!).

Our sunset canvas painting was lead by Francesca, the owner of Painting with Canvas.  Francesca, is a self-taught artist, who during the painting process takes you step-by-step on how to create what looks like an extremely complicated scene, but can be broken down into simple steps (no artistic experience required).  Although some of wish our canvases looked a little more like hers when we were done, the important part was that we had fun, and each of us was able to express our own artistic vision or our “own personalized sunset”.  We even incorporated the logo of Two Brothers into our sunset painting, although my logo may have become more of a “G” than the famous Two Brothers’ swirl!

All-in-all, it was a well-organized, enjoyable evening where I not only have a monthly inducement to return to Two Brothers, but also a Sunset reminder of my time with AZ Girls' Pint Out.

Beer and Cookies - Yes, Please!

Mother Bunch Brewing kindly hosted the AZ Girls Pint Out on Thursday, December 3rd for our annual cookie exchange party.  Mother Bunch Brewing a great location for the cookie exchange with its open, airy, high ceilings and industrial brick walls.  They were gracious enough to host us last year and to give us even more space for the many more participants this year.  The brewery has been around since the fall of 2014.  Not only is their creative, taken-up-a-notch pub fare quite tasty, their taps serve their own hand-crafted beer with the remaining taps full of Arizona-only craft beer. 

We had around 40 ladies in attendance on this night with lots and lots of cookies to be exchanged.  As is tradition, the ladies outdid themselves with a large variety of cookies showing up.  There were snickerdoodles, chocolate chips, eggnog, many varieties of chocolate cookies, beer sugar cookies, and even Buckeyes to name just a few of the cookies.  In addition to noshing on cookies throughout the evening, Mother Bunch put out an amazing spread of food for us.  We got to partake in their amazing house smoked olives, roasted garlic spread, 7th Street sliders (the pork belly was amazing, by the way) and many other wonderful dishes.  They did not disappoint.  Our buffet also included the opportunity to get a flight of four tasters or a pint of beer.  Let’s just say that the beer and food went well together.

The AZ Girls Pint Out ladies also had the opportunity to give generously through an art supply drive benefitting the therapist at Childhelp’s Children’s Center.  So, not only did we get the chance to have fun, we were able to give back to our community.  I’m looking forward to more fun events in 2016! 

Curling and craft beer... a perfect match!

Those Scots sure know how to combine drinking and a difficult game into one sport. They also must have been really bored and thirsty in the 15th century since they invented both golf and curling at about the same time. I imagine the 15th century Scots sitting back and saying, “I wonder what the hardest thing we can do while drunk”. Someone probably said, “Well, aiming at things are pretty tough when you are drunk. And so is walking across MacAlister’s frozen pond without falling down.” I imagine they all looked around in approval and said, “Aye, let’s do that then, and while we’re at it, we’ll practice our sweepin’ and bring along this 40lb stone.”

Just like golf, curling is all about comradery, enjoying a delicious beverage and playing a game that’s really difficult! But unlike golf, curling can be picked up and enjoyed in just a couple of hours and didn’t make me feel like I should break my broom the way I want to break my golf clubs. On Saturday, November 21st,  the AZGPO ladies discovered just how fun, challenging, cold and bloody (at least in my case) this sport can be. With the help of some fantastic coaches and the wonderful venue at Coyote’s Curling Club, we learned how to curl and competed in our first ever curling game.

Coyote’s Curling Club is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to furthering the sport of curling and enjoying a beverage among fellow curlers. Our lesson went from 2-5pm but I arrived a little late. If anyone knows me, they know that 15 minutes late is actually right on time for me. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted with a sign-up sheet and offered a beer at the Brokin’ Broom Lounge. I knew I’d found a welcoming environment with like-minded individuals when the beers I was offered included Modus Hoperandi, Two Hearted Ale and Orange Blossom. Yum!

After making sure that I had everything I needed to wet my whistle, I joined the crew and listened to one of the coaches explain to us the origin and common terminology of curling. Some of my favorite terms and expressions included “burning the stone”, “hogging the rock”, “taking it to the house”, and “right on the button”. I’d heard, and even used in my own speech, that last expression before but had no idea it came from curling!

After introducing us to the terms, background, and strategy of curling, the coaches led us through a series of stretches, safety tips and demonstrations of the correct curling form. Despite the “warm up”, and warnings to dress warm, none of us were prepared for just how cold it was out on the ice…. And how challenging it was to just walk from one side to another. For some of us, this wasn’t just a first time curling. Some of the AZGPO women had never even been on ice before. We also weren’t prepared for how often our butts would be hitting the ice!

We were divided into teams of three and our coach turned out to be none other than Ron Kloth, owner of Papago Brewery! I’d seen him around at different industry events but I’d not had the pleasure of meeting him in person. Ron took us through a series of drills that led up to us actually releasing our stone. If you’ve never seen or played curling, releasing the stone felt like bowling on ice while in a yoga pose. It was an awkward position to get into but once it clicked in your mind and you saw your stone make it all the way to the house (the scoring circles on the other side), you were hooked. We decided to call our team The Bloods after I managed to cut my finger and bled (literally) all over the stone.

Then we got to try sweeping. The sweeping portion of curling helped offset how cold we’d become from falling on the ice while trying to release the stone. I have newfound respect for Sweepers; trust me, it is much harder and more exhausting than it looks on TV. The strategy of when to sweep and when not to sweep is purely an art form. It also illustrates just how connected each member of a Curling team is because the person who releases the stone, the two sweepers and the Skipper are all critical and have a hand in each score. Without the skipper there to help the person who releases the stone aim, they wouldn’t know where the best spot in the house was for the stone. And without the skipper, the sweepers wouldn’t know when to sweep, how hard to sweep and when to stop sweeping which are all critical to the placement of the stone.

After wearing ourselves out, we were ready for a break and another tasty beverage at the Brokin’ Broom. During the break, Ron told me how he’d started curling 6 years ago and was already competing in events around the world. It was one of the few times I’d ever heard of someone competing at that level in a sport after only playing for such a short amount of time. The AZGPO ladies also had a chance to discuss AZGPO and our love of craft beer with the other coaches and members during the break. We learned that the curling world has their own version of AZGPO--- female curlers get together every Sunday for Mimosa Sundays. There they catch up, drink a bunch of mimosas and curl. Despite the fact that we’d only curled for 2 hours, and were complete novices, the leader of Mimosa Sundays invited all of us to come back and curl the next day. They didn’t care that we were new, they were excited for us to be a part of their curling world.

Soon our break was over and it was time to compete in our first ever Curling game. We were all amazed at how quickly one can learn to pick up this game and actually play a full game. We also learned about a very important rule in curling: Winner buys the loser a round of drinks. I’m not going to say that the Bloods weren’t good… but if we’d enforced that rule against our opponent, we’d definitely have been receiving free drinks. Despite our loss, we all left feeling very excited and energized about curling and we are already talking about when to have our next AZGPO event back at the Coyotes Curling Club. I know I will definitely be frequenting a Mimosa Sunday or two in the not-so-distant future. Curling is officially in my blood. Those Scots sure are good at inventing fun games. 

Fabulous Beer at Fate

On June 3, 2015, Fate Brewing in Scottsdale, AZ graciously hosted the ladies of AZGPO with delicious pizza and craft beer.  Fate has been around since 2012 and just continues to keep growing.  The craft beer community in Arizona looks forward to the opening of a new Fate location soon as well.  The girls of AZGPO wanted to experience some Fate beer and pizza before then, though, so we made it out to the current location to socialize and enjoy some good beer as well as tasty pizza and salads.

This was the first official AZGPO event hosted by our new leaders Bev Ross and Drue Kaplan, and they put together a terrific event.  There were around 30 ladies present, both new faces as well as long-time members of the group.  We got a great deal from Fate, including a flight of some of their current beers, a full pint, and a wood-fired pizza or a salad.  I'm sure the salads were great, but I couldn't turn down the pizza.  Fate's brick oven cooks up some unique and delicious flavors of pizza, and the one I chose was no exception.  It paired perfectly with some of their current beers.  Fate likes to keep them rotating, which makes it nice to visit one week and come back the next to find new beers to try.

Along with meeting new people and catching up with some old friends, the AZGPO ladies got to participate in a raffle with the chance to win some prizes.  I actually won a gift card in the raffle, and you can bet I will be back.  When you're in Scottsdale, definitely check out this brewery and grab a pint.  You won't regret it.  I know the AZ ladies of craft beer will be returning as well, so if you see any of this there, make sure to stop and say hi!