Last week, my sister and I are able to attend the second installment of Brown Dog Yoga’s “Pints and Poses” class with one of my favorite teachers, Ashley Skeen. This class is exactly what it sounds like – beer and yoga.
Brown Dog regularly hosts their “Align and Wine” class on Fridays, where you may bring wine to sip during class as a fun start to the weekend. However, this class is a little different. Rather than just sipping a good beverage while you do yoga, Ashley sets this class up to actually learn about beer. We do some yoga for a few minutes, then pause to drink and learn about a beer. Then we do some more yoga, and stop for another drink. Each class includes six kinds of beer and more knowledge on booze than I ever thought existed.
I have learned so much from the two classes I’ve attended. During this last one, I made sure to take good notes. I love learning and learning about beer is just too good. Add in yoga, my favorite teacher, a room full of giggly/wobbly people, and a huge batch of beer bread, and I am in literal heaven.
Here is some of the amazing info I learned from Ashley.
First of all, she explained what ABV, BA and IBU numbers mean. A lot of times, I’ll see these numbers next to names of beers on menus or chalkboards of hipster bars, but I had no idea what they were.
ABV stands for alcohol by volume, which is how strong the beverage is. BA stands for beer advocate, and this is like a rating. Think the Academy Awards voters for beer. And finally, IBU stands for international bitterness unit, which will tell you how much hops the beer has. This one is particularly interesting to me, because I don’t like a super hoppy beer.
First beer: Good Island Sofie. This is a farmhouse beer, which means it would typically be brewed in the winter to be enjoyed in the summer. This one has a BA of 90, which Ashley said is very unusual. It’s difficult to get such a high BA rating, so that must mean it’s super good. It was. This one had an IBU of 20, which was balanced nicely with the sweetness of the yeast, so I really liked it. ABV 6.5%
Second beer: Mothman Black IPA. This one uses northwest specific hops, which is interesting, and is a bit citrus and chocolatey. Black IPAs use hops to give the brew some bitterness, but they include dark malts, which turn it black. These also give the beer a coffee taste, so of course, I liked this one a whole lot. ABV of 6.7%, BA 83 (pretty awesome), and an IBU of 71. This is surprisingly high, because it didn’t taste bitter to me at all. I usually steer clear of IPAs all together, but this one was great.
Third beer: Oscar Blues, The Gubna IPA. This beer is a double IPA, which I also learned can be called an imperial IPA as well. So the IBU is 100. Wowza. Tons of hops, obviously. This one had an almost savory taste and a tangerine scent. This brewer changes up the type of hops they use every year, just depending on what is best. AB 10% (hello), BA 85. This double IPA is dry hopped, which Ashley explained is basically like when you bake a cake and get it all ready, then you put sprinkles on top. You add that last little bit of goodness at the end. This gives it a more distinctive smell, as well. I also learned that when brewers double the hops, they also double the malt, which balances it out. This was definitely true for this one, because I actually liked this one, too. Who knew? Maybe I do like IPAs.
Fourth beer: Country Boy Living Proof. I love this name. Love. This golden ale beer is a part of Country Boy’s Wild Ale series, and this was the FIRST ONE. We felt so elite. It has an ABV of 5.5%, and has a distinct sour taste to it. Wild ales are just that, sour. Back before brewers had the ability to control the process so closely, there would be a possibility of the yeast going bad, which made the beer sour. Now, brewers do this on purpose and are able to control it so that the yeast won’t actually be bad, but will still give them that sour taste. They use a specific kind of yeast for this, which I think Ashley said was called brettanomyces. This gives the beer a certain funk, which Ashley also said someone described it as “fruity poopy.” Yep. That’s about right. But I swear, it tasted good.
Fifth beer: West Sixth Cocoa Porter. Hello, lover. I LOVE DARK BEER. This particular beauty comes in a purple can, which is more environmentally friendly and will keep beer from skunking too quickly. This is the brewer’s “pay it forward” porter. For every six pack they sell, it donates back to the community in which it’s sold. Pretty awesome. This beer has an ABV of 7.6% and a BA rating of 86. I also learned why a porter is called a porter. Years ago in Great Britain, all the beer was dark because all the malts were burnt. They didn’t have any way to regulate the heat enough because it was all processed on open flames. Once they figured out how to control the heat, they made light beers. Then they started mixing the two together, which became popular within London’s transportation workers called porters. This particular porter uses cocoa nibs to give it a delicious chocolate taste.
Sixth beer: Blue Mountain Spooky. This is an IMPERIAL PUMPKIN ALE, people. Oh yeah, and it’s aged in whiskey barrels and brewed in cocoa nibs. My notes actually say “yasss lort,” if that tells you anything. Ashley said this brew uses over 200 pounds of pureed pumpkin in every batch, and while it came out two years ago, it was so popular that it didn’t make it out of Virginia until this year. This baby has an ABV of 8.2% and a BA score of 82. Spooky was the perfect ending to this awesome class, and definitely suited the time of year.
After we finished practicing and learning, we enjoyed the last of the beer and some delicious beer bread that a fellow member brought for us, and we took lots of photos.
Don’t let me lead you to think that the only reason this class was so fun was because of beer. That’s not the case. I love yoga classes anyway, because there is an understood level of camaraderie and togetherness. We might not know each other, but we are all here for the same reason. During the beer class, it was the same idea, just in a different setting. We were more relaxed and giggly and people were taking lots of pee breaks. We learned and practiced and laughed with each other while we learned about beer. I was not the only one taking notes during class, and we spent time discussing our favorite beers and poses. Yoga is about community, and this is proof that it isn’t all headstands and oms. Sometimes it involves beer and carbs and selfies.
Cheers. And namaste.
I apologize for the poor quality of photos. iPhone cameras and low-level yoga lighting aren’t really friends. I hope you enjoyed the post anyway!