40. The Beerstrology Bonanza
Introducing Hugging the Bar's first ever guest feature, and beer recs ruled by the planets.
Your Future is as Clear as a Crispy Boi—And That Future Has Beer
HI HELLO I AM SO EXCITED.
This week’s issue marks the first time I get to do something I knew I wanted to do since I launched the newsletter, which is feature other voices. The plan for Hugging the Bar has been to not only to talk about issues and tell stories revolving around people from groups under-represented in craft beer, but to actually hear from some of those people themselves.
So today, our feature is by Azra Wood. From Azra:
Azra Wood is a freelance writer, artist, and lover of sour beers. They hail from the great state of Wisconsin, home of craft beer giants like Lakefront and New Glarus. They enjoy tarot, astrology, and singing children’s songs to their cat. Follow them on Twitter @scrybabyazra for personal anecdotes and gushing over TTRPGs!
Azra pitched me a whole handful of fantastic ideas, giving me one tough decision for our collab issue. Ultimately, I couldn’t resist the temptation of a whole ~theme,~ so here we are with a Beerstrology Bonanza! Props to Azra for coining the “beerstrology,” by the way. So, without further ado, to complement (and elevate, frankly) my weekly beer tarot, here are beer-themed zodiac signs from Azra.
For a beer that was written in the stars.
It’s hard being one of the most diligent signs in the zodiac. When you mean business, you get it done quickly and efficiently. Others look up to your discipline and hard-working attitude. Your core purpose is to see the bigger picture. Ruled by Saturn, you are patient and understand that good things take time. Sensitive and serious, you’re in need of some good TLC, Capricorn.
Suggested: Dragon’s Milk by New Holland Brewing Company
Not only is this beer robust and relaxing, the vanilla notes wrapped in an oaky flavor will give you the time-out you deserve, Capricorn.
Authentic and eccentric, Aquarius, you are one of a kind. Respected by many for your independence and ground-breaking ideas, you’re a true leader…when you want to be. You’re an intellectual at your core. Ruled by Uranus, you know how to keep people on their toes. You weren’t born to fit in, so why choose something with a boring taste?
Flavored with a mix of pineapple, tangerine, cherry, coconut, marshmallow, walnut, and vanilla bean, this Sour is not for the faint of heart, but then…neither are you Aquarius!
Sensitive and artistic, Pisces, you swim along to your own current. You’re known for having vivid dreams and ambitions. Others look up to your passion and creativity. However, it’s easy to become exhausted by all the effort you expend, so make sure to kick back and recoup some of the energy spent by enjoying a beer!
Suggested: Moon Man by New Glarus Brewing
This Pale Ale (American) is made from five types of hops, without any of them overtaking the flavor—it’s creative and indulgent, just like you, Pisces!
Fiery and feisty, Aries you are a powerhouse to behold. With a confident attitude and decisive actions, others admire your commitment to what you believe is right. Ruled by Mars, you’re always at the ready to do battle—whether that’s a fight or defending a friend. You don’t back down! Aries is a loud sign that needs to be paired with bold flavor.
Suggested: Pliny the Elder by Russian River Brewing
This Imperial IPA is a reflection of what it means to be an Aries—bold, but enjoyable.
Luxurious and selectively motivated, Taurus, you are decadent. You have a taste for the finer things, but that doesn’t make you greedy. Just internally motivated. Ruled by Venus, your life is all about being productive, pleasurable, and comfortable. It also makes you quite stubborn, and loyal to one thing at a time. This classy sign needs a smooth, unique beer they can enjoy time and time again!
Suggested: Deep Space by Cranker's Brewery
This Porter brings all the luxury of a sippable pint and amps up the flavor with rich chocolate—it's indulgent and smooth, just like a Taurus!
Intellectual and communicative, Gemini often gets a bad reputation. But that’s just because you like to see every angle of possibility! Geminis are often easily bored and like to jump from one fixation to another, their curiosity needs satisfaction! Ruled by Mercury, there is no stopping a Gemini on a quest for information. This means you need a beer that can satisfy your interest!
Suggested: Lindeman’s Kriek by Lindemans
Gemini, this Lambic will kick you in the pants, but in a good way—with bold notes of cherry and just the right amount of sour, it’ll soothe your curiosity without risk of mid-bottle boredom.
Emotionally charged Cancer is always aware of what it wants. Desperate to connect, bond, and share, you often express your emotions in memorable ways. Many say Cancer is a ‘moody’ sign, but it’s only because your intensity takes over! Ruled by the moon, you are adaptive, and can get along with pretty much anyone. Cancer deserves a beer as exciting as it is!
Suggested: Fresh Pressed by Wicked Weed Brewing
This Wheat Ale is jam packed with flavor—mango, pineapple, and guava give this a robust flavor that adapts to any palate, just like you, Cancer!
As proud as a lion, Leos are resourceful, confident, and regal. While not necessarily selfish, you are confident in your interpretation of what is good, and you express that interpretation without wavering. Ruled by the Sun, you act in ways that inspire the most attention, affection, and light. You need a beer as charismatic as you are!
Suggested: Fantastic Haze by Sierra Nevada
Leo, this IPA infused with mango, melon, citrus, and five types of hops is confident and proud—a perfect match.
Virgo, you have perfectionist tendencies wrapped up in level-headed armor. Your exacting nature makes you one of the most dependable of the zodiac. Ruled by Mercury, you thirst for information and communication to keep you grounded. People adore your dedication and loyalty. Have a beer that’s as precise and discerning as you are!
Suggested: Riverwest Stein by Lakefront Brewery
This Amber Lager is a solid, dependable beer with balanced flavor, just like you Virgo.
(Please do not attempt to drink a Virgo, stick to the Lager.)
Social and reliable, Libra you are passionate and fierce. Libras are often called indecisive, but it’s only because you want to select the option best aligned with your priorities! Lover of fairness and balance, you take your time when making important decisions and leave impulsiveness to the rest of the zodiac. Ruled by Venus, Libra loves company and sharing their talents with others. Here’s a beer for you and yours!
Suggested: Bumble Bear by Lakefront Brewery
With notes of clover honey and chocolatey, roasted malt, this Honey Brown Ale is the perfect cozy beer to share with others—or just share with yourself, Libra!
Mysterious Scorpio, you know how to get to the bottom of things. Observant and focused, you find the truth even in the murkiest of occasions. Ruled by Mars, you are excellent at winning arguments and other conflicts. You know what you believe in, and even the most tempting of arguments can’t sway you. You are strong, powerful, and maybe the slightest bit calculating, and you need a powerful flavor to sip on as you observe the world!
Suggested: Ouroboros by The Alchemist Beer
This Double IPA is filled with hops and has a note of Curacao orange peel—subtle and mysterious, just like a Scorpio.
Free-spirited and adventurous, Sagittarius is always up for a good time. You’re full of optimism and people are drawn to your charismatic personality. It’s easy to take that energy and wander too far off the beaten path, but you’ve got this, Sagittarius! Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarians are often motivated to “go big or go home,” and that’s exactly how your beer should be!
Filled with acai, guava, and elderberry, this Fruited Sour Ale is unexpected, adventurous, and charismatic—sounds like a Sagittarius to me!
This week, I pulled the Five of Wands.
The suit of Wands speaks to intuition, communication, and travel, and this particular card deals with conflict, competition, and tensions. Because five is at around the middle of your tarot journey, it often represents this period of change in whatever road you’re on. You could be at a crossroads, struggling to make a decision, and/or running into some sort of conflict. And ideas and desires could be competing for your attention, or you could also be competing with someone else for an opportunity that would facilitate the path forward that you want. All of this tension is blocking your way, whether it’s all internal or involves other people. The first step in either case is to really weigh every option and actually look and listen—is there a way to work together, or incorporate your ideas, rather than one winning and one losing? Right now the biggest issue is the chaos of conflict and competition—just look at the mess all those fancy dudes’ wands are in. Taking a breath and sorting through all that noise is the first big step on the way to figuring things out.
There is another aspect of this card that deals specifically with the conflict of opinions, and encourages you to respect everyone else’s opinions in order to accomplish peace. But, the tarot was created before 2016 and uh, I don’t believe that advice always holds water anymore. There are tons of situations where the absolute best and healthiest solution is respecting the opinions of others even when you don’t agree. But these days, there are also tons of situations where lol fuck that. You should respect someone else’s beer opinions, or TV opinions; you should respect other people’s choices on having kids or getting married; it’s best to respect lots of varying opinions when it comes to anything from philosophy to work style. But you don’t have to respect, like, racist opinions or misogynist opinions or homophobic opinions or anti-trans opinions, and you shouldn’t, no matter who they’re coming from (I know I don’t need to tell you this). In this case, I would interpret the tarot’s encouragement to sort the chaos in order to come out of conflict as this: Reflect, and evaluate whether there’s an opportunity to really be heard and calmly change whatever dangerous and problematic opinion someone is presenting to you. If you can, do. If you can’t, move on and double your own efforts in making this world a safer, more welcoming, more inclusive place. And don’t get bogged down by fighting with trolls on Twitter.
As for beer recs, my friends, I’m going to point you in the direction of beer collaborations for good causes, because these are shining examples of people cutting through the chaos and working together to brew great beer for even better reasons. Find your local Brave Noise pale ale, a perfect demonstration of paving a path forward with intentional codes of conduct. Find out if a brewery by you is brewing RESIST for Drinkers for Ukraine in order to aid the humanitarian relief efforts. Go buy the Hardcore Parkour DDH IPA, a collab between Brooklyn’s KCBC and Ukraine’s 2085 Brewery with proceeds going to UNICEF - Ukraine.
Ex-BEER-ience of the Week
Getting to try a new brewery in your city, especially when you have crazy hometown beer scene pride like I do, is going to be an instant “ex-beer-ience” of the week. This weekend, I got to EBBS in Williamsburg. I’m a huge fan of their overall vibe and aesthetic—the taproom is a really nice hang—and I was excited to try their super refreshing Kolsch No. 2, as it had just taken gold in its category at the New York State Craft Beer Competition the day before.
This Week’s Boozy Media Rec
Is it tacky to link to something I wrote? I am again giving into the temptation of the ~theme.~ This is something a little different—a comedy piece. It’s tongue-in-cheek, yes, but truly an earnest ode to one of my very favorite elements of Going Out: making friends in the bathroom. I have gotten some of the best advice from and felt the most empowered by strangers in the restroom, all hovering between two and six drinks, and ready to support you. To celebrate all the drunk temporary-friends giving you a hair tie, running after you to step on the toilet paper stuck to your shoe, telling you that you don’t need that fucking loser, anyway—AND to squeeze in one more element of astrology into this issue: “Horoscopes By The Drunk Girl In The Bar Bathroom.”
The Hugging the Bar Bulletin
Will she ever stop adding sections to the newsletter? Who know! But I did spare you a punny name this time—you’re welcome. I’ve decided to tack on some space for any relevant announcements, events, etc. here. If you have anything you’d like to share here, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week: On Wednesday, March 23, from 7pm to 9pm, the NYC chapter of the Pink Boots Society is partnering with the Center for Anti-violence Education to host a self-defense class for the community at Queens Brewery. This is a great learning opportunity if you’re local and free! It’s also open to non-PBS members and friends, register here.
Until next week, here is Darby in her vintage-inspired finest, cheesin’ outside of EBBS.