12. All People are Beer People: Q&A with @thatonebeergirl

Getting to know a vibrant member of the craft beer community; Czech lagers; and tarot for big ideas and Bright Ideas.

Behind the Beer Instagram Scenes with @thatonebeergirl

Last week, I wrote about the need to shred craft beer’s current, outdated stereotypes about who drinks it, loves it, makes it; how doing so could help improve inclusion, representation, and visibility; and how one of the routes toward doing this is in storytelling: making sure that we are forever shining a light on how diverse the beer scene is. Because it is—craft beer drinkers aren’t just straight white dudes, so why keep them center stage and continue to perpetuate the myth that craft beer belongs to them? Craft beer belongs to everyone. Yes, it’s failed at making sure everyone feels welcome all the time, but that’s exactly why we need to be actively offering the opportunity for anyone at any time to feel seen, and therefore, welcome.

This got me thinking about a regular feature I’d been planning on launching since I began this newsletter—and now’s as good a time as any. I’ll be interviewing some rad beer Instagrammers. We too often just get those little packaged blurbs about the same accounts with the most followers in listicles over and over again. I want to go all in with fun Q&A’s and actually get to know all different people from this community.

For one thing, beer Instagram is—for all of its idiosyncrasies—a great lens through which to view the actual diversity in this scene. You can find just about any kind of person enjoying their brews, from makeup artists to dads of four. It’s beer’s audience and community, captured and updated live for the world to see. For another thing—again, aside from some of the toxic culture that also needs a proper shredding—beer Instagram is a powerful source of community and connection. People make friends, meet and form impactful initiatives, support each other, boost local businesses, and more. Personally, even my curmudgeonly self feels compelled to wax poetic about the friendships, partnerships, and sense of community I’ve found.

I am extra excited that I’m able to kick this regular feature off with one of those friends I have made, Jackie, aka @thatonebeergirl. I was a longtime fan of Jackie’s fun content that packed in both unique personality and a great enthusiasm for all different beers from all different breweries, spotlighting both local and destination purveyors. She is actually my first beer Instagram buddy that I met irl, earlier this summer on a visit to Richmond, and it was the best time. (Seriously, for someone with social anxiety like me, it was ~wild~ to meet someone from social media in person and feel like you’d known them forever.) I knew that when I started this series, I wanted Jackie to be the premier Q&A subject. So here you have it!

How did you first get into craft beer? Do you remember your "gateway beer?"

Jackie: My wife’s co-worker suggested we go try this new burger joint that had at least 100 craft beers. My first beer there was a Bell’s Two Hearted and I picked it based off the label. I had no clue what an “India Pale Ale” was.

Why did you decide to start a "beer Instagram?" Why did it feel like something you wanted to essentially devote your account to?

Jackie: When I started Instagram, it was before I discovered craft beer. Not long, maybe a year before the discovery. Somehow I stumbled upon other accounts posting about beer and thought, “this is a great way to track the beer I’ve had and contribute to this awesome community.”

What can you tell us about you and your life away from beer Instagram?

I live in Virginia and work in our local hospital. I’ve worked in the pharmacy doing sterile compounding for 10 years there now. All together I’ve been in pharmacy for 26 years. I do not work in beer but would love to do some type of social media management for a brewery!! Beer is obviously a huge part of my life but I love traveling to new breweries, working in the flower garden (or flower pots), watching serial killer documentaries, and collecting tattoos. I go to school part-time as well so during spring and fall, there isn’t much down time.

What's one thing your followers might be surprised to find out about you?

Jackie: I can wiggle my ears without touching them!

What do you love about the craft beer community and scene?

Jackie: I love the kindness and camaraderie between most of the craft beer community. I feel like craft beer lovers (there are so many) always show up and show out for the community. You see so many fellow craft beer lovers need help during a time of need and instantly there are fundraisers, raffles, etc. to help that person out.

And what do you love about craft beer Instagram, in particular?

Jackie: I enjoy seeing all the different beers (and labels!) from everywhere! Also connecting with people in other countries that you may not have otherwise.

What do you think are some of the best things you've gotten from being a part of the beer Instagram community?

Jackie: I have gained an unmeasurable amount of friends in this beer Instagram community.

The beer world is going through a lot of necessary change and growth right now; where do you think are the areas that need the most urgent change and what would you like to see from the beer scene over the next year, five years, and so on?

Jackie: The area that need the most urgent change is safety of everyone and inclusivity in the beer industry. I would hope that in five years the beer scene in general will be one big happy family, accepting of everyone. We can get there if we all work together towards change.

Can you tell us a little about your "beer life?" Like what's your favorite or go-to way to experience craft beer?

Jackie: I love to experience craft beer in a multitude of ways. It kind of depends on my mood. Some days, the introvert in me takes over and I’d rather be on my back patio, taking care of my flowers drinking beer. Other days, I’m down to hit as many breweries in a day as I can. I have a favorite bottle shop really close to me that I love to go visit. It’s great for lots of ISO beers that I’ve wanted. Especially with the pandemic, I was able to get so many new-to-me breweries through my bottle shop that I typically would have had to trade for.

And what about your beer Instagram life? How often do you feel like you want to post, what makes you want to post, and what goes into your posts?

Jackie: Ideally, I would love to post once a day. Sometimes I achieve that. Other times life gets in the way and I’m lucky if I post once a week. I like to post to share new beers or breweries with followers and to just check in with everyone. I’m not the best writer so sometimes it takes me an hour or so to compose a post. I also like to research when I’m putting up a new brewery and share any interesting facts that I can with my followers.

Okay, some rapid-fire questions! If you can pick, do you have an all-time favorite beer?

Jackie: I could drink Triple Crossing Prism everyday. Sadly that hasn’t been brewed in forever!

How about your favorite beer right now—like a new exciting find?

Jackie: Currently, I’m loving The Bruery’s Pastry selections. I’m not a big bourbon barrel-aged fan, but these are seriously making me reconsider.

Favorite beer style?

Jackie: IPA.

Least favorite beer style?

Jackie: Belgian (sorry!).

Favorite brewery?

Jackie: Triple Crossing.

Favorite festival or event?

Jackie: Any of Hop Culture’s events!

Favorite beercation destination?

Jackie: Charlotte, NC.

Favorite kind of beer merch?

Jackie: I love collecting tank tops and hats…and of course, glassware.

What brewery is highest on your list that you're itching to try?

Jackie: Hop Butcher. I’ve sent out ISO’s multiple times for this brewery with no bites. So if ya know someone…hook a girl up!

Who are three other beer Instagrammers you're digging now?

Jackie: @ally.in.cally—she’s so positive, fun, and drinks some amazing beer.

@beer.brat—I just love her bubbly personality and all her travels and projects.

@maltymaiden—her posts are always so fun and cute! Sometimes she includes her mini me which is adorable. She is constantly drinking and posting about excellent beer.

Beer Tarot!

This week, I pulled the Ace of Wands.

And no, this card has nothing to do with Steve Zahn’s prosthetic on “White Lotus,” grow up, would you? Wands speak to instinct, travel, and communication, and the Ace of Wands, specifically, regards career, travel, and beginnings. All within this card, you’ve got your dreams, ambitions, and goals, you’ve got the drive and energy to achieve them, and you’ve even already got buds of new opportunities sprouting that will take you there. You’re having lots of ideas these days—whether they’re big ideas about initiatives to cause industry-wide change, ideas about your next business venture, or ideas about what TV show might best distract you from our current hellscape, I dunno, but you got ‘em.

The Ace of Wands is a push in the direction of following these ideas and turning them into those opportunities which could then ultimately turn into accomplished goals. It’s not promising you everything will work but it is definitely showing you there’s potential, so if you’ve been wondering whether to do something, this card says to go for it. It might be a smashing success or it might not, but in the latter case, you may discover something else encouraging along the way.

You know what this card made me think of, right? Bright Ideas Brewing, in North Adams, MA. If you just got the idea to take a trip there, let the Ace of Wands nudge you forward on that noble path. If you just want to drink a Bright Ideas brew, you’d probably have to be a relative local or know one, or hit someone else up who might be headed to the general vicinity. It’s worth it, though, trust me—Bright Ideas beers are brilliant. If you take anything away from the Ace of Wands, let it be that this is an idea worth pursuing!

This Week’s Boozy Reading Rec

I’m giving you a two-for-one reading rec this week because I think these pair together quite nicely. (Read them while drinking Czech beer and now we’re really making music over here.) Aaron Goldfarb wrote about a swell in American craft breweries producing Czech-style beer for PUNCH: Czech Beer, Lost and Found. It’s packed with interesting insight from some of the brewers leaning into this style and points out that in a way, Czech-style beer is American beer—just read it and you’ll see.

Then, you can and should geek out on decoction mashing with Anthony Gladman’s deep dive for Good Beer Hunting, Pillars of Tradition — How a New Generation of Brewers Returned to Decoction Mashing. This beautifully written piece seamlessly weaves together a feel for the culture of decoction-mashed beers and why they’re great with an explainer on the method that will be pleasing to pros and beer newcomers alike.

Until next week, here is Darby gazing out over a beautiful lager and IPA at Folksbier Brauerai—really a whole mood for me, personally.