This generation’s version of girl power may very well be found in a pint glass. Just as men have flocked into stereotypical women’s jobs, women are treading into traditionally male territory. Ladies are breaking ground in brewing, drinking and learning about beer. With New York now home to 72 craft brewers, earning it a recent USA Today ranking of #8 for “Best Craft Brew States in America,” locally now is an exciting time for craft beer, and ladies have learned beer ain’t just for their boyfriends.
That is where Girls’ Pint Out stepped in, bringing women together to enjoy and to learn about craft beer. The organization started in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2010 and has quickly grown to have more than 15 chapters nationwide. Our local chapter of GPO was founded in 2011 by Lauri Spitz, Long Island’s only lady brewer and co-owner of Moustache Brewery (with her husband, Matthew Spitz). Lauri saw far too many women that just didn’t know what they liked. “I would be pouring at beer shows, and all I would hear from a majority of the women was “give me the lightest thing you have” or “I don’t like dark beer,” which annoyed me because when I had a few minutes to chat with them, they realized what they said wasn’t really what they meant.” So with her own passion for beer she aspired to empower women to expand their palate and go beyond the pale ale.
GPO’s latest event at Hoptron Brewtique, “Beer 101,” was a quick and easy study session on beer. We all sat at long picnic benches, with our beer flights on what looked like fraternity paddles, waiting for the fun to begin. Our teacher and GPO founder, Lauri, looked the part of a modern-day Rosie the Riveter, with her bright-red pin-up hair and a scarf tied to her head, and spoke with intensity about craft beer. We learned plenty: from how beer is made to what in the…is an “IBU” (International Bitter Unit), and even the proper way to enjoy it. With Lauri’s knowledge and confidence I would pit her against any male brewer. Even though I have a lot of experience drinking beer, I am embarrassed to admit, I never knew that much about it. This was an excellent opportunity for anyone from a newbie to a beer snob to learn much and even ask some rather advanced brewing questions.
Now for the best part: the tasting. With the same respect given to a fine wine, we were taught to appreciate the local craft beers in our flight that evening: Brooklyn Weisse, Montauk Summer Ale, Ithaca Flower Power IPA and Port Jefferson Porter. All interesting in their own right, I personally think that Port Jefferson’s Porter can convert anyone to a dark beer drinker. It’s easy to drink, with notes of espresso and chocolate, even finishes without any bitter aftertaste. When I really gave each brew the attention it deserved, I came to respect each one, even if it were not something I would commit to a pint of.
The entire evening was a beautiful celebration of women and craft beer. Who better to host this event than the owners of Hoptron Brewtique in Patchogue, Amanda Danielsen and Succety Lara, two women who are completely passionate about beer? The biggest take away for the evening was Amanda’s mantra, “Don’t judge a beer by its color, dark is not a flavor! Not all dark beers are similar to Guinness and not all light beers are light in flavor.” For this local-craft-beer-loving female, the event was a dream come true.
Who needs a book club, sisters, when you can have a beer club? Girls’ Pint Out has plenty of events planned for the next few months. Keep updated with them on Facebook and Instagram @girlspintoutli @girlspintoutli.