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Because We Can’t Always Drink Hoppy Beer. Right?

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One cannot live on dank hops alone. As much as we want hops constantly running through our veins, sometimes we just need to tone down the bitterness and enjoy some smooth flavor. 

Tone things down? We know it seems contradictory. 

Just take a look through popular culture and you'll find that we're all obsessed with keeping things on the up and up,if you know what we mean. After all, dogs never bark down the wrong tree, right? It's impossible to chalk something down. No self-respecting sports team ever got the crowd going by yelling, Let's get pumped down!. And Disney never made a movie called Down. Did they? Regardless, you can only take this up obsession so far. 

With that in mind, on this week's episode of Drinking Socially hosts Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza are getting down by drinking one down.

Hopped Down is a core badge that debuted in 2017 and requires you to drink beers that are perhaps a bit lower in ABV, but definitely lower in IBUs. As a friendly reminder or ICYMI: The acronym IBU stands for International Bittering Units and is simply a fancy measure of the bitterness of a beer.

To earn this badge, check-in to five beers with an IBU of 20 or less. NOTE: Not every beer has its IBU recorded on Untappd, so if you are trying to knock out this badge, make sure that the beer you check-in has its IBU displayed next to the ABV. 

Harrison and Jon are starting with a cheeky-named beer called Beer Flavored Beer from Divine Barrel Brewing. Actually part of a series that also features an Oatmeal Stout, Kölsch, Italian Pilsner, and Czech Pils, this American Lager clocks in at a steady 20 IBUs. 

Turn that frown upside down and put down the hops this week. C'mon, you can do it. Join Harrison and Jon as they get Hopped Down to earn this badge! Tune into this week's episode of Drinking Socially on YouTube or listen wherever you grab your favorite podcasts.

WATCH THE LATEST EPISODE HERE

5 Best American Lagers of 2021

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Photography courtesy of Halfway Crooks Beer

We call America a melting pot, right? We're a country that has been influenced by so many cultures and heritages from around the world. And the world of beer is no different (maybe we're a melting mash tun then?). So it's only fair, when talking about the American lager, to pay homage to its origin—outside of our borders. 

In 1840 John Wagner, a Bavarian brewer, arrived in America with a haul of lager yeast in his back pocket from his native country. Settling in Philadelphia, Wagner quickly realized that Americans had been drinking English-style ales for the last hundred and sixty or so years. More familiar with his own German-style lagers, Wagner took his precious cargo of yeast and brewed what is historically considered our nation's first lager beer. And he brewed it out of his home on St. John Street near Poplar. Simply a kettle hung over an open hearth, Wagner's brewing operations were pretty small, so he probably can't be credited with popularizing lagers per se, but he definitely had a pivotal hand in starting the style. In fact, there's a plaque where he set up shop in Philly.

And that's not the yeast of it. As a large population of German immigrants in Philadelphia immediately began drinking the style, the American people slowly caught on as well. By the late 1880s, lager had overtaken whiskey as America's favorite alcoholic beverage. 

Today, lagers are actually the world's most popular style of beer. Now, that's due in large part to the popularity of macro lagers such as Bud Light, Miller Lite, Modelo, Coors, and Corona. But American craft brewers have been reclaiming this historical style and churning out versions that are worthy of one Bavarian brewer's months-long journey on a ship to come to the New World. 

From a rice lager with lime to an easy, breezy version steeped with lemongrass, here are Untappd's 5 Highest-Rated American Lagers of 2021.   

1. Lime Snaps - Other Half Brewing Co.

2. P3 Pils - Phase Three Brewing

3. Ray Catcher - Jack's Abby Craft Lagers

4. Fader - Half Acre Beer Company

5. Crispy Squares - 3 Sons Brewing Co.

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Lagers aren't crazy. So check out these crazy beers the Hop Culture team and our friends try each week. On each episode of The Craziest Beer I Had This Week, we drop a new crazy beer we've cracked. Watch the latest episode and don't forget to subscribe to Hop Culture's YouTube channel so you never miss a beat on the wild beer we drink next! 

Tickets on Sale to Hop Culture's 4th Annual Womxn in Craft Beer Festival

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In 2018, Hop Culture's Head of Partnerships Grace Weitz launched Beers With(out) Beards as a part of her graduate school thesis capstone project at NYU. Over the last three years, this week-long celebration of women in beer has attracted thousands of attendees and fifty womxn-led breweries. In the same period, the fest has featured over thirty events aimed at celebrating the achievements of womxn across all aspects of the alcoholic beverage industries.

Even a global pandemic couldn't stop us. Last year, Hop Culture hosted the first-ever digital BW(O)B. And the tradition continues this year with the second-annual digital version of the womxn in craft beer festival.

Now more than ever womxn are standing up and asking to be heard in a predominantly white, male industry.

This year many across the industry shared personal and painful stories of sexism and misogyny in the beer industry. And, from all over the world, those stories were met with expressions of support for one another.

Together, everyone's voice is stronger. And we feel empowered that other people had the courage to speak up. We're also proud that for the past three years, Hop Culture has organized its own event to stand together with womxn in the beer industry.

For our 4th annual BW(O)B we teamed up with YETI as our presenting sponsor.

Known for their coolers built for the wild, YETI is also active in supporting a more inclusive and equitable industry.

In 2006, YETI Coolers was founded with a simple mission: build the hard cooler they'd use every day. They've worked equally as hard to start initiatives that create a more equitable and inclusive industry. Along with a talented and intelligent team of womxm throughout the organization and a strong representation of female ambassadors, YETI has made huge strides in supporting womxn across a variety of industires.

Last March, YETI released a film celebrating International Women's Day called Mothered by Mountains featuring Pasang Lhamu, Nepal's first mountaineering instructor and National Geographic's Adventurer of the Year. And YETI has partnered with countless female-focused organizations including Andshesdopetoo, California Watersports Collective, Chicks Climbing & Skiing, Safe as Clinics, Women's Climbing Festivals, and more.

All in all YETI has made huge strides to support womxn in the community and Hop Culture is honored to partner with this revolutionary company as a presenting sponsor for its 4th annual womxn in craft beer festival Beers With(out) Beards.

A ticket will nab you a beer box with 11 beers from either specifically womxn-owned breweries, breweries with womxn brewers, or breweries that have demonstrated strong support for womxn. This includes Notch Brewing, Russian River Brewing Co., Crown & Hops, Outer Range Brewing Co., Allagash, New Belgium, Boston Beer Co., Two Roads Brewing, and more.

Plus, you'll also get access to a livestream featuring tastings with brewers, workshop sessions, and classes with womxn industry leaders. 

The festival will be livestreamed on Saturday, September 18th, 2021; however, the content will be available to stream anytime afterwards. 

BUY YOUR TICKET NOW 

In Case You Missed Virtual Happy Hour

Drinking Socially Podcasts host Harrison Hickock (@harrybeerbeard) took a bite out of the Big Apple. Last night he chatted with Kyle Sherrer, the owner and cider crafter at Graft Cider, a craft cidery located in the Hudson Valley of New York. With the goal to make sour cider for the craft beer drinker, Graft dreams of bringing their cider to the masses.  

On the latest episode of Virtual Happy Hour, the pair talked about Graft's century-old European cider-making techniques combined their more modern cocktail-inspired varieties and cider slushies! Plus, take a journey into Graft's Cider Explorers Club.

Did you miss all the fun? 

Catch the whole episode on YouTube. Then, subscribe to make sure you don't miss our next Virtual Happy Hour!

Join Us Tonight for Virtual Happy Hour Featuring the Owner + Cider Crafter at Graft Cider

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Tune in at 7:00PM ET tonight as Drinking Socially podcast host Harrison Hickock (@harrybeerbeard) chats with Kyle Sherrer, the owner and cider crafter at Graft Cider, a craft cidery located in the Hudson Valley of New York that makes sour cider for the craft beer drinker.

Created in tandem with his sister Sara Sherrer, Graft "pays respect to the old-world style of cider making while simultaneously experimenting with modern brewing techniques. All of Graft's ciders employ century-old European traditions of using wild yeast and bacteria to ferment to dryness. They then harness the flavor profiles created from this style of natural cider and develop unique and innovative styles which take a nod from some of the best craft beer producers in the world."    

Although a small company, Graft has a big dream of bringing sour cider to the masses. 

And to help make that dream come true the cidery recently started its Cider Explorers Club, a subscription that ships three four-packs of their newest cider right to your doorstep each month! 

Don't miss out as Harrison and Kyle chat about century-old European cider-making techniques, Graft's unique flavors of cider (think: Birds of Paradise Moscow Mule Cider and Lost Tropic Hop Mimosa Cider), and why more people should try sour cider, perhaps through their new Cider Explorers Club. 

To make sure you won't miss a single Virtual Happy Hour, subscribe on YouTube! And, we'll see you tonight. 

WATCH HERE

Brr! It’s cold in here!

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Brr! It's cold in here. There must be some Eisbocks in the atmosphere. 

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a distracted Bavarian brewer left a barrel of bock (strong German lager) outside in the cold snow. Accidentally, he created the legendary beer style known as Eisbock, sometimes also referred to as "ice bock" because the water in the beer freezes, separating the alcohol from the sugars. The result is a fairly sweet but pretty potent beer—oftentimes these Eisbocks hit somewhere between 12 percent to 15 percent ABV.  

Eisbocks combine the science of brewing with a bit of magic. And since we're seeing summer temperatures hitting the high hundreds within the heat dome, hosts of the Drinking Socially podcast Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza are cooling down with a badge that's all about cold beer. Icy cold beer. 

The new From the Cold badge is just one of Untappd's new core badges of the year released several weeks ago. 

To earn this badge, check-in to five different beers with the style of Bock - Eisbock Traditional and Freeze-Distilled.

Harrison and Jon are starting with an Eisbock classic, Aventinus Eisbock (TAP09) from Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn in Kelheim, Bavaria, Germany. A bit of magic and a black soul, this mahogany-colored, almost black "Eisbock" is for sensuous indulgence. Matured in a special freezing process following a special recipe, Aventinus Eisbock (TAP09) has a soft, elegant body, with spicy flavours of plum, banana, and clove along with a hint of bitter almond and marzipan. Almost digestif-like, this Eisbock is a great representation of the liqueur-like flavors you can often find in this rare style of beer. 

Grab your ice pick and join us as Harrison and Jon come in "From the Cold" and earn another new core badge! Tune into this week's episode of Drinking Socially on YouTube or listen wherever you grab your favorite podcasts.

WATCH THE LATEST EPISODE HERE

Always Inspired To Keep It Light

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An IPA that is low in calories, delicious and brewed with the quality you'd expect from Bell's Brewery? Light Hearted Ale is here.

Coming in at 110 calories (per 12 oz. serving), this year-round offering from Bell's cuts down on the things many beer drinkers don't want, but keeps everything about Two Hearted they love.

Brewed with Centennial and Galaxy hops, Light Hearted Ale is a reminder to always keep it light!

HOW TO EARN THE BADGE

Check-in to one (1) Light Hearted Ale from Bell's Brewery between July 20, 2021 - August 20, 2021 to receive the "Always Inspired To Keep It Light" Badge!

Light Hearted Ale label

Light Hearted Ale

Bell's Brewery

IPA - Session / India Session Ale

Total (?) 43,574

Unique (?) 33,676

3.7% ABV

36 IBU

(3.55)

30,389 Ratings

5 Best Eisbocks of 2021

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This style of beer began completely by accident. As the story goes, in 1890 a distracted Bavarian brewer from Kulmbacher Brauerei, the most famous maker of bocks (strong German lager) at the time, left a barrel of beer outside in the cold snow. In the morning when he discovered his mistake, the brewer found a barrel of frozen water separated from a highly concentrated solution of alcohol.  

Eisbock, or "ice bock" as it became known, is a type of beer that undergoes freeze distillation, where the frozen water separates from the alcohol and sugars. The liquid that is left over is not only sweet on the palette, but also incredibly potent, typically hitting somewhere between 12 percent to 15 percent ABV.  Accordingly, these beers are often compared to being more like liqueur than beer. 

Although it's a fairly rare style, especially in the U.S. where alcohol laws sometimes equate freeze distillation with an actual form of distillation, Eisbocks are worth your time. If only to try a unique form of beer. 

It's important to note the distinctions between Eisbock and the commercial ice lagers that macro breweries popularized in the mid 1990s. These breweries used freeze distillation to make almost slushy-like lagers (think Natural Ice, Bud Ice, etc). These beers were nowhere near their authentic, rich, complex counterparts. But, they did prove to be great marketing gimmicks.

Normally appearing in a range from reddish ruby to dark brown, Eisbocks carry notes of toast, caramel, chocolate, and dark stone fruits with a very velvety finish. You won't find much hoppiness here. 

Today, you'll mostly come across this style in Europe, but a few American brewers have tried their hand at the Eisbock. From a boozy treat aged on raspberries from a Michigan-based brewery to a Jamaican Rum barrel-aged version from a Netherlands brewery, here are Untappd's 5 Highest-Rated Eisbocks of 2021.   

1. Icebock Doppelbock - Bourbon BA - vandeStreek bier

2. Raspberry Eisbock - Kuhnhenn Brewing Company

3.  Aventinus Eisbock (TAP09) - Schneider Weisse G. Schneider & Sohn

4. Ex-Girlfriend Barrel Aged Jamaican Rum - Jopen

5. Gulpener IJsbock (2021) - Gulpener Bierbrouwerij

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If you do venture out into the tundra of Eisbocks make sure you check-it in. Untappd recently announced a new core badge for 2021 called From the ColdTo earn this badge, check-in to five different beers with the style of Bock - Eisbock Traditional and Freeze-Distilled. Then grab your ice pick and join Drinking Socially hosts Harrison and Jon as they come in "From the Cold" themselves to earn this badge! Tune into this week's episode of Drinking Socially on YouTube or listen wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

Introducing the First Ever Untappd x Pabst Global Games

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Da-DA-da-da-da-DA-da. Introducing the inaugural Untappd x Pabst Global Games. We'll have you running, tumbling, sprinting, and long-jumping to earn a special set of three badges… okay, we'll just have you checking-in some tasty beers, but that doesn't really fit the theme. As the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics kickoff from July 23rd to August 8th, Untappd wanted to throw its own Global Games. Afterall, drinking is considered a sport right? 

To help us bring the inaugural Global Games to life, Untappd partnered with Pabst Blue Ribbon, whose Hard Coffee will be sure to keep you on your toes on your quest for the championship. Made with "rich, creamy milk and vanilla flavor," Pabst Blue Ribbon's Hard Coffee clocks in at 5% ABV and packs 30mg of caffeine into each 11-oz can. Grab a couple to keep you in the game all month long!

Join the competition and you'll have an opportunity to earn Bronze, Silver, and Gold badges with increasing levels of difficulty. Learn more about each badge below!

Here Are the Official Untappd x Pabst Global Games 2021 Badges

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Level 1: Untappd Global Games: Bronze (2021) - Check-in to one (1) beer with the style (and all sub-syles) of lager between July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021. You stuck the landing! Give yourself a pat on the back (and an ice-cold beverage). Do you have what it takes to earn Silver? You might need to grab a Pabst Hard Coffee to keep you going. 

Level 2: Untappd Global Games: Silver (2021) - Check-in to one (1) beer from the brewery Pabst Brewing Company between July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021. Teamwork makes the dream work. High five your teammates and celebrate this Silver medal win! Now, drink for Gold! 

Level 3: Untappd Global Games: Gold (2021) - Check-in to one (1) Pabst Blue Ribbon Hard Coffee from the brewery Pabst Brewing Company between July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021. You're an athletic superstar! Congratulations on this big win. You've jumped through hoops to get here. Now, enjoy that buzz. You earned it. 

Imagine standing in your living room holding a glass of beer as the national anthem plays. This is your time. Go for the gold!

In Case You Missed Virtual Happy Hour

It started out as a simple question that Brienne Allan, a brewer at Notch Brewing, posed on her Instagram page (@ratmagnet): "Have you ever experience sexism in the beer industry?" What followed was nothing short of a Bevolution.  From all over the world, people wrote in to share stories and express support for one another.

Now Allan, along with other brewers, are keeping the momentum going with Brave Noise, a collaborative beer meant to honor those who have spoken out about their gender discrimination, racism, sexual assault, and harassment and to bring further awareness to the issues that women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals face in craft beer.

Last night, Hop Culture Founder Kenny Gould (@hopcultureken) invited Allan to Untappd's Virtual Happy Hour to dive into the origin of @ratmagnet, share who has inspired her in the brewing industry, and talk about how she hopes to continue striving for a more equitable, just, and inclusive craft beer world. 

Did you miss this powerful discussion? 

Catch the whole episode on YouTube. Then, subscribe to make sure you don't miss our next Virtual Happy Hour!

WATCH THE LATEST VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR

Join Us Tonight for Virtual Happy Hour Featuring Brienne Allan aka @ratmagnet

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Photography courtesy of JOHN TLUMACKI/GLOBE STAFF

Tune in at 7:00PM ET tonight as Hop Culture Founder (@hopcultureken) chats with Brienne Allan (@ratmagnet), brewer at Notch Brewing about "Brave Noise" Pale Ale, a global beer collaboration to advocate for safe spaces and inclusive environments by requesting breweries be transparent with their policies and commit to long term work.

"What started out as a simple question on Brienne Allan's Instagram story: "Have you ever experienced sexism in the beer industry?" quickly became the inquiry that sent shockwaves throughout craft beer, subsequently inspiring a "bevolution." Brave Noise is a collab beer that aims to keep the momentum going by honoring those who have spoken out about their gender discrimination, racism, sexual assault, and harassment and by bringing further awareness to the issues that women, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ individuals face in the industry.

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Don't miss this powerful discussion with Kenny and Brienne as they delve deeper into how together we can make our craft beer industry more equitable, inclusive, and just.  

To make sure you won't miss a single Virtual Happy Hour subscribe on YouTube! And, we'll see you tonight. 

WATCH HERE

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall….Take One Down, Pass It Around

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99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around….

If you've been drinking beer for a while, you know that bottles mean quality...or meant quality. If you've been drinking beer recently, you probably understand that cans are actually a brilliant container for beer. 

Still, we owe the can's popularity to the history of the bottle. Although brewers originally used glass to contain their precious liquid, they quickly noticed that light began to spoil the beer. Brown and green bottles emerged as a way to avoid these skunky or "lightstruck" effects. And eventually, cans eliminated that problem all together. 

Now, when you drink beer out of the bottle you're tasting a bit of history. And you can give the bottle its due with the 99 Bottles badge.

To earn this badge, check in five different beers with the serving style of bottle. Try five more for Level 2! 

Yup, Untappd's Drinking Socially podcast hosts Harrison Hickok and Jon Dispenza are back on the bottle. And they're celebrating with a round of Bell's Tropical Oberon. The beer that has become one of Bell's best sellers tropically transforms itself for summer. Brewed with real passionfruit, pink guava, and mango, this limited-release ale takes your favorite summer beer to new shores.  

Hear what other 98 beers Harrison and Jon are drinking out of the bottle by tuning into this week's episode of Drinking Socially on YouTube or listening wherever you grab your favorite podcasts.

WATCH THE LATEST EPISODE HERE

5 Best Barleywines of 2021

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One of the biggest, boldest styles of beer out there, barleywines intrigue us for their intricacy of strength and flavor. A bit of a misnomer, barleywines earn their moniker for a heavy helping of barley and an alcohol strength that often rivals those of wine, reaching 12 percent ABV or higher. 

But don't get it twisted. This style isn't actually made from fermented juice like wine. Instead, barleywines are 100 percent beer. Brewers achieve a high ABV by packing the base with barley (or sometimes another kind of malt) to kick up the original gravity or fermentable sugars. All the extra malt contributes to a higher alcohol level and sweetness, meaning brewers also often balance these beers with a high dose of hops. Dark and malty barleywines are described by The Brewers Associations as featuring "flavors of bread, caramel, honey, molasses, and toffee." 

Even better, the intense alcohol content means these beers are perfect for barrel-aging. All these attributes lead to a style that is inherently robust and complex. 

Traditionally, barleywines are broken down into two separate categories: a hoppier American-style and a more malty English-style. Here in the States, Sierra Nevada has been a paragon of the style since 1983, when Bigfoot Barleywine made its debut. And of course, Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Barleywine is a classic aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. 

Today, brewers have become even more inventive, using everything from Cognac, whiskey, and rum barrels to rye whiskey and Madeira wine casks to age their barleywines. So strap in, grab your snifter, and dip into the liquor cabinet for Untappd's 5 Highest-Rated American Barleywines of 2021.   

1. Mineshaft Gap (2020) - Revolution Brewing Company

2. Barrel Aged Behemoth (2021) - 3 Floyds Brewing Company

3. Bigfoot (2021) - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. 

4. The World's Turned Upside Down - Carton Brewing Company

5. Bernese Barley Wine - Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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If you think these barleywines are big, you should check out the crazy beers the Hop Culture team and our friends try each week. On each episode of The Craziest Beer I Had This Week, we drop a new crazy beer we've cracked. Watch the latest episode and don't forget to subscribe to Hop Culture's YouTube channel so you never miss a beat on the wild beer we drinks next!    

Don't Miss BeerAdvocate's Newest Fest Dedicated Entirely to Lagers

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This one's for you lager lovers!

Because dreams do come true. Recently, our friends at BeerAdvocate announced they are hosting Lager Fest in Cyberspace in partnership with Half Time Beverage featuring a box of 12 of our favorite lagers from American brewers. 

"Despite being the most produced and popular beer category on the planet (#sorrynotsorry, IPA), lagers are grossly underappreciated, underrated, and misunderstood amongst craft beer snobs. I'm on a mission to help change all of that," says Todd Alström, Founder of BeerAdvocate.

A crisp Pilsner, a soft and bready Helles, a malty Dunkel, a smoky Rauchbier, and a roasty Schwarzbier. These are just some of the glorious lager styles that you'll be enjoying together in Cyberspace during live tastings guided by BeerAdvocate's Todd Alström, BeerThugLife's Edgar Preciado, and participating guest brewers. 

Here's a sneak peek at the fine lagerheads joining the fun: Dovetail Brewery, Halfway Crooks, Live Oak Brewing Co., Russian River Brewing Co., and Schilling Beer Co. among many others. Check here for the full brewery lineup.

And, if you love lagers as much as we do, nab tickets to BeerAdvocate's newest festival before they're all gone. 

A pass to Lager Fest in Cyberspace gets you those 12 glorious lagers along with access to the livestream and guided beer tastings on August 20th and 21st, 2021. 

Can't join us for the live tastings? No worries! Watch the recorded sessions and drink the beers at your leisure.

Still have questions? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions and hit the link below for tickets! 

SEE THE EVENT WEBSITE 

In Case You Missed Virtual Happy Hour

Hop Culture Founder Kenny Gould (@hopcultureken) pulled out his spurs and boots last night to chat with Melanie Demi (@herboozytails) and Caitlin Johnson (@bigwrldsmallgrl) former co-hosts of the 512 Brewed podcast centered on all things craft beer in Austin, TX. 

On the latest episode of Virtual Happy Hour the pair talked about what make Austin, TX one of the best craft beer destinations and even better the best places you and your pup can grab a pint. 

Did you miss all the fun? 

No sweat. Catch the whole episode on YouTube. Then, subscribe to make sure you don't miss our next Virtual Happy Hour!

WATCH THE LATEST VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR

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