Once It Hits Your Lips

This is the true story of seven girlfriends who picked to live in Austin and have their lives tapped. Find out what happens when girls stop drinking Lonestar and start getting real…

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Photo by M. Balaa

(Meet the Bitches: Wendy Cawthon, Kat McCullough, Holly Aker, Sarah Wood, Shaun Martin, Caroline Wallace and Ari Auber)

Their beer mission all started at Thirsty Planet Brewery. On this particular day, at this particular brewery, there was a clear problem: The only other girls there were alongside their boyfriends. And they thought (something to the effect of), “That just ain’t right. Where da bitches at?!”

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Although a couple of the girls were already craft beer converts, and this brewery trip wasn’t the palate changer for all seven, it was pivotal for enough of them to get the ball rolling. They recognized that girls got a bad rep when it came to sophisticated drinking, and that wasn’t gonna fly anymore. “Bitch Beer” was previously defined by sugary, malt liquors rather than robust, complex dranks. They decided to take the name back and were ready to own it.

“Girls are supposed to drink everything!,” Holly said.

So they stopped drinking Lonestar and bought a URL that night. Duh.

And so Bitch Beer was born.

They knew they couldn’t be the only girls who felt the lacking lady presence in the beer community. They found an untapped passion and decided to explore it. This is what happens when craft beer gets in the right hands, and we knew we had to meet and learn from them.

We, the gals of Folklore, showed up to Craft Pride before Holly and Shaun and picked our easy beers from the sprawling wall of Texas taps. We didn’t bother with tastings, we went straight to the easy words: light, hefeweizen, drinkable. Holly walked in a while later, ordered and sat down at our table with a beer that was nearly pitch black. “It’s the Ranger Creek Strawberry Milk stout,” she said, immediately putting our light beers to shame. While we were cowering behind our summery hefs, which were unquestionably delicious, she enlightened us on the hierarchy of beer: there is no hierarchy.

“I’m on an IPA kick,” she said. “I love a good, punch-you-in-the-face IPA.” It’s personal preference, and we have to start by trying everything. “There are 180 recognized kinds of beers.” – Shaun added right before she went into an explanation of sours that made me want to try one immediately.

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Listening to them talk about beer was like walking into a totally different world. Their knowledge certainly exceeds the collective number of legal drinking years under their belts. “You can’t talk about beer and not have a beer,” Holly said. We knew we also couldn’t do an interview about beer without ordering a beer with the experts.

They accompanied us to the bar and encouraged us to start by tasting stouts. Here’s our tasting list with our expert opinions (you should probably talk to Bitch Beer for real reviews):

512 Pecan Porter on Nitro – We thought it tasted like liquid pie. Maybe we weren’t ready for this one.

Buried Hatchet Stout on Nitro – The smell led us to believe it would have a much more intense flavor than it actually did. We’re still undecided, but we didn’t hate it!

Hops & Grain It’s For a Cop – We don’t know if it was that we were just intrigued by the idea of Hops & Grain’s Greenhouse beers, but we were into it!

No Label Brewing Company Mint IPA – This one was fresh. We were told it basically tasted like a regular IPA.

“Once you get into beer, it’s not just about drinking. There’s an amazing community in Texas and all over the country,” Holly told us. While a handful of the bitches were at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this past October, they noticed that everyone from Austin gravitated towards each other and stuck together. This wasn’t the case for visitors from other states. They walked away with a greater appreciation for Austin, craft beer and the camaraderie among our craftsman. “From what I’ve heard, all the brewers are willing to help each other. That’s why there are so many collaboration beers in Austin,” Shaun said.

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They’ve made friends on friends on friends through this endeavor and have earned respect from those skeptics who didn’t believe that seven girls in their twenties could know what they were talking about. “Bitch Beer is about learning and appreciating beer no matter your gender or education,” Kat Said.

A lot has happened for these girls within one year of that seemingly innocent brewery tour in February 2012. They started their blog by attending events and encouraging people to try new beer. Now, they’re the ones throwing events. Oh, and they’re writing a book about the history and culture of craft beer in Austin! Their research and writing process involves and relies on other members of the community, from up and coming homebrewers to the most experienced beer enthusiasts.

The girls were friends in college, but it was craft beer that kept them together. If not for beer, who knows where these seven friends would be and how differently their stories would read. Beer is the glue. Beer is everything. And these bitches are proving that craft beer is for everyone.

 Keep an eye out for their book later this year.

 

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