Women who like good local beer and great places to enjoy it now have a group to call their own.
Girls Pint Out, a 4-year-old national organization with 46 chapters, started in Tucson six months ago.
Sarah Ritchie and Victoria Parridgen met online at a beer forum last year. They subsequently met for beers in June and September. In September, Parridgen brought up Girls Pint Out and the fact that there was no chapter in Tucson (there is a Phoenix chapter).
Ritchie contacted the founder in Indianapolis and got the OK to form a Tucson chapter. For the October kick off meeting, the local group obtained a keg of Sin and Tonic, a batch beer made especially for Girls Pint Out nationally by New Belgium. The new group packed Tap & Bottle for its first meeting.
It all started using social media. Today, the local group has more than 300 “likes” on Facebook.
Girls Pint Out meets twice a month. One meeting is a coed social outing, such as a happy hour or beer brunch. The other is an educational meeting for women only, generally at a local brewery or pub serving good beer. So far, the group has toured Ten Fifty-Five, Dragoon, Barrio and Borderlands.
Co-founder Ritchie said there is a core of about 20 who attend regularly, and usually 30 to 35 show up for the tours and 25 to 35 for the social events. She said the members range in age from 21 to 60 and come from “all different walks of life and backgrounds.”
Ritchie said she began to appreciate beer when traveling in Ireland. Her first beer was a Guinness stout on tap (although not technically a craft beer —see below — still a darn good beer). She said she drank it for the remainder of her trip, which explains why she describes herself as a “stout beer girl.” Ritchie works in retail and, of course, has a second job as a craft beer sales rep.
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This column almost exclusively talks about “craft beer.” So what exactly is craft beer?
I’m glad you asked.
The Brewers Association is a trade group representing “small and independent American craft brewers.” In late February the group issued a new definition of craft beer.
First, according to the association, a craft brewer produces no more than six million barrels of beer annually. This excludes the big guys (Bud, Coors, Miller, et cetera). Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams brand) is the largest craft brewer at over two million barrels a year. The next closest is Sierra Nevada at under one million.
Next, the beer must derive flavor “from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients.” I think that means no rice, corn, et cetera, that some big brewers use.
Lastly, and the most interesting to me, is that you’re not a craft brewer if more 25 percent of the business is owned by a big brewer. The prime example of this is Widmer, Red Hook and Kona beers. Craft Brewers Alliance, Inc. (CBA) owns all three brands. Anheuser-Busch owns 32 percent of CBA.
Thus, according to Brewers Association, those brands are not craft beers. Kind of odd, considering that the Widmer Brothers and Red Hook were pioneers in craft beer in Portland and Seattle respectively. Oh well, there’s politics everywhere.