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7 Sips With … Jamie Lynn Morgan, Girls Pint Out

This is one in an occasional series of 7 Sips interviews, where we sit down for a pint and seven questions with someone active in the local craft beer community. Today we catch up with Jamie Lynn Morgan of Hayden, Idaho, who started the local Girls Pint Out chapter (which meets the second Wednesday of each month at The Backyard in Spokane and the third Thursday at The Cork & Tap in Coeur d’Alene), organizes beer-themed Lake City Flyers Bikes and Brews rides in North Idaho and, in her day job as a marketing consultant, handles social media for Laughing Dog and Selkirk Abbey.  

Q: So how are things going with Girls Pint Out these days?

A: They’re going pretty good. We have a core group of about five or six women who pretty much show up every month, and then we have new people that just kind of rotate in and out, so that makes it nice. We’ve had as few as five of us to as many as 40 that show up for an event.  Coeur d’Alene has less population, and we don’t have as many of the breweries, so that one’s always a little bit smaller. But now we’re doing set locations each month, and where we picked in Coeur d’Alene is The Cork & Tap, it’s a newer little place and they have four tap beers, and then they have the store, so anything you want to go out and grab a bottle of in the store, they’ll open that for you and you can drink that too. 

Q: Do you think women tend to approach craft beer any differently than men?

A: It’s funny, because people think women, oh, they’re going to go toward lighter beer, but I’ve got some gals that are hard-core IPA women. If they find an IPA and it’s not really hoppy, they’re not happy. I think it’s one of those things where we approach it the same way as men do, but I think the difference is that we feel more comfortable talking to each other about it than we do talking to a guy. You have a lot of guys who are very educated about beer and they know their stuff, and there are times when they kind of look at you funny when you ask just a simple question. So it’s just a little more comfortable when there’s a few of us (women) who are kind of knowledgable about beer and we can answer those questions, it just makes it a little more comfortable. We even have some gals who show up and they don’t even drink beer. They’ll drink wine, or they’ll do something else. We’re trying to transition them. It’s one of those things, stepping stones. You’ve got to ease them in.

Q: Are you still organizing the monthly bike rides on Sundays?

A: We are going to do those, once the weather warms up a little bit more. We’re going to try to do it this month, we’ll see whether we get rain or not. We’ve actually moved it to the third Saturday. We usually start at the Fort Ground Grill right there on the (North Idaho College) campus, and now they have the new Java (on Sherman) out at 9th Street that serves beer so we usually stop there, and we’ve been rolling out to either Capone’s or Slate Creek, then we hit a few of the others. And we’re going to try to do, we had so much fun when we did this this past summer, we had a group of riders and we actually did all the breweries from Mad Bomber all the way to Selkirk, so it was quite a ride.

We do our Post Falls to Spokane ride around the time of Spokefest weekend (in September). This will be the fifth year. It was just a group of us that said, let’s see if we can take these old beat-up cruisers, single speeds, and let’s see if we can make it. We start on Saturday, we leave Post Falls usually 10 or 11 in the morning, and then we ride all the way over to Spokane. We stop along the way, there’s a place right at the state line called Cruisers, it’s actually a motorcycle bar, it has a place where you can ride your motorcycle through, so we always ride our bikes through, that’s always fun.      

Another thing we’re doing, there’s the new organization BikeCdA – they’re a nonprofit that’s started, so they’re spearheading a bunch of stuff. There’s going to be some beer and bike events through them that I’m going to be involved with. New Belgium is coming over in either April or May, they’re going to do a tap takeover at Capone’s and then all the proceeds from that are going to go back to the organization, and there will be discounts if you ride your bike. We’re trying to convince New Belgium that we need one of their Tour de Fat rides up here – they do one in Boise, but they don’t do one up in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area.    

Q: What is it about beer and bikes that seems to go together so well?

A: Even the triathletes, a lot of the Iron Man folks who come to town, that’s what they’re looking for. I see it on Twitter, hey, where can I find this beer, where can we find a selection of beers, so I’m directing them. … I think it’s a good fit. You’re not driving – yes, it could be dangerous to be drinking on a bike if you have too much, because you still could crash – but I think it’s just that ease of it, and it’s a little bit slower pace. It’s one of those natural things where after you’re done, a nice, cold beer is nice, and people want good cold beer, not just a Bud Lite.       

Q: What’s the first craft beer you remember drinking?

A: I know it was something from Big Sky. I think it might have been their IPA, because that’s usually what my husband, Tom, was drinking at the time. He had been drinking them way before I had – being from Montana, we drank Rainier, or Olympia, or Miller Lite, and so it was like, craft beer, what is that? There were no breweries in Butte, there were a lot of bars, but no breweries. And so for me it was when we went to Yellowstone, it would have been 2001 or 2002, and he finally convinced me, no, you’re going to try this, and I was like, hey, this is so much better than what I’ve been drinking. And just from there it started, the passion for finding out more about it, trying different ones. So that’s kind of my thing now, if there’s something on tap that I haven’t had, even if it’s like, hmmm, I’m not sure that I want that, I’m going to try it, just so I can be like, yes, I’ve tried it.

Q: If you could be drinking any beer right now, what would it be?

A: Probably for me, just because it was unique and it actually worked – because I’d had beers with pepper before – it’s the Cocoa Mole from New Belgium. I was in Colorado at the brewery when they tapped the very first keg that they’d ever done. We were all on this tour and it was like, guess what you get to try? It had that bite to it but it still had the nice chocolate. In the lighter beers, if they’re not full-bodied enough the pepper overtakes it so all you get is this big fiery thing and nothing else. Whereas with theirs, you got a little bit of that fire but it was definitely the coffee and the chocolate melded in with that, so they did a good job.

Q: What’s the most important thing that can happen to move local beer forward?

A: I really love the diversity we’re getting, and I think that’s something that in this area, we’re definitely going to need that, because that’s how they’re going to survive. I think if we have too many craft breweries that are doing the same thing, people are going to be like, well, I’m going to pick my favorite, and that’s where I’m going to go. … It’s ultimately going to come down to, you’re going to have to be making good beer. You’re going to have to have your solid lineup of the ones you do all the time and they’d better be consistent, and if you want to do one-off batches of other stuff, that’s when you can play. But perfect your core line of beers first, because if you have people who try it once and it’s not good, you might not get them back.