Happy Hour – Just for Her
The New Girls Night Out: Girls Pint Out
By Lisa Fields

When you’re dying to try what’s new on tap at your local brew pub but your gal pals don’t know an IPA from an IPO, who do you turn to? That’s easy: Girls Pint Out (GPO).

The national craft beer organization – for women only – meets regularly at South Jersey bars and breweries. Most GPO events have a familiar look: 10 or 12 women seated around a table with pints or flights of beer in front of them. They’re learning how to savor flavors and understand the structure, but most of all, they’re laughing and chatting. It’s a social event with some beer education (and tasting) thrown in.

“We definitely draw attention to ourselves,” says Amie Clark of Burlington, who co-founded the state’s GPO chapter three years ago. “When people find out this is a women’s beer club, they will say, ‘That’s cool. What’s your favorite beer? What’s your favorite style?’ Especially men. The misconception is that women don’t know about beer. We are consciously trying to educate and provide an environment for that learning. I hope they leave a little impressed.”

Members are women ages 21 through their 60s who are craft beer enthusiasts of varying degrees. “We attract a wide range of people who appreciate craft beer,” adds Clark, 35. “You’ll meet anyone from women just realizing there’s beer outside of Miller and Bud Light to women who brew at home. We all appreciate the same thing.”

Members of Girls Pint Out have one thing in common: beer

Members of Girls Pint Out have one thing in common: beer

Although GPO doesn’t offer formal craft beer education, Clark strives to help interested members expand their beer knowledge whenever possible. Often, visiting and touring breweries or trying something new on tap is all it takes.

“It’s really trying to take that person to the next level,” Clark says. “The whole point is to experience different things. You can drink the darker beers or the hoppier beers, and your palate will change with you. I started with Coors Light, and I thought all beer tasted like that. When I had my first Belgian, I said, ‘Wait a minute! Beer can taste like this?’”

Some members simply appreciate the opportunity to discuss their shared interest with fellow enthusiasts. “I love talking about craft beer,” says GPO member Sherri Clyman, 52, of Westmont. “I love hearing how other people describe the flavors. I learned that when people said a hop was ‘cat pissy,’ that means ammonia-y. Other people will use the term ‘oniony,’ and that’s something else. That’s knowledge you get from hanging out with like-minded people who like craft beer.”

GPO members can learn about beer from the other side of the tap by touring local breweries. (Clark recently became a part-time ambassador for Riverhorse Brewing in Ewing, a connection she made after GPO toured the brewery.)

“Touring a brewery helps you understand why the beer tastes the way it does, like what makes a dark beer dark,” says Clark.

While the events do focus on drinking beer, Clark stresses the organization promotes safe alcohol consumption.

“Our events are typically catered to drinking so you can taste and experience the beer, not get drunk,” she says. “A normal flight of beer is generally equivalent to a pint of beer, and most women are enjoying either a flight of beer or a couple glasses of beer over the course of a few hours.”

GPO varies its events to attract women with different interests, relying on word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote events. They host bottle-sharing events during painting classes, brewery tours and charitable fund-raisers. One popular event paired Girl Scout cookies with craft beers.

“When we did the Girl Scout cookies pairing, you could hardly make it into the bar,” says Clark, who notes the event raised more than $500 for their local Girl Scout troop.

GPO has also raised money for the American Cancer Society during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Clark says. In October 2014, members participated in a breast cancer walk in Point Pleasant, and GPO brewed its own beer for the occasion, with help from Tuckahoe Brewing Company in Egg Harbor Township.

“It was a pink beer,” Clark says. “Our beer debuted in a local bar, and there were proceeds from the beer and the walk that were able to go back to the American Cancer Society.”

Clark had a hand in creating the pink beer, along with Amanda Cardinali, lead brewer at Tuckahoe Brewing Company.

“Hibiscus made it pink,” says Cardinali, 27. “It went over really well at the tasting room. It’s hard to put your finger on what style it is – kind of a light drinking, maybe a little bit like a saison.”

The GPO holds a monthly meeting at Brickwall Tavern in Burlington, where assistant manager Nicolas Trogdon often interacts with the group.

“Many members order sampler flights of different draft beers and talk about them,” says Trogdon, 29. “It definitely seems to be as much about the social aspect as it is about sitting down and geeking out. No pressure, just a welcoming group of girls who are out to have a fun night, but if they feel like getting real nerdy about a beer they’re drinking, the person they’re drinking with isn’t going to look at them sideways, you know?”

Clark knows exactly what he means, and she loves how many friends she’s gained through GPO. “You see some of the same women at other events and other bars. It’s very much a community thing. You go from saying, ‘This is my beer friend’ to ‘This is my friend, who happens to like beer.’”

As for new members, Clark says they are always welcome. “There is no membership fee to join us,” she says. “Just come out for a pint.”

May 2016
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