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Cincinnati’s chapter of a national brew-loving organization hosts a variety of events to build a community of local women who love craft beer. Read on for more.

Cincinnati Girls Pint Out
Cincinnati Girls Pint Out aims to build community between women who are fans of the craft beer industry.

Love socializing, craft beer, and fundraising? If so, then Cincinnati’s chapter of Girls Pint Out is for you.

Girls Pint Out, or “GPO,” is a national craft beer organization for women with more than 90 chapters in 35 states. Their mission, according to Cincinnati GPO chapter head Amy Kearns, is to “build a community of women who love craft beer and who are an active, contributing part of the greater craft beer community.” GPO provides an opportunity for discussion, education, and fun through social media, meet-ups, and local events.

Cincinnati GPO has something going on at least once a week. Sometimes it’s just a casual meet-up, where members grab a pint and have some food and conversation. These take place at local breweries, bars, bottle shops, and other locations. Some establishments set up events, such as special tappings, specifically for Cincinnati GPO and sometimes local food trucks come.

Cincinnati GPO hosts a variety of events, including tours of local breweries and brew bus tours; educational events such as home brewing classes; beer and food pairings, like the popular beer and donut event; joint meetups with other local groups; fundraising events for local charitable organizations; and volunteering at local events, such as the Brewer’s Open Charity Golf Classic, which benefitted ProKids. It also recently had a pints and coloring night at a local brewery to collect money and school supplies for a local charity and another event to collect feminine hygiene products and money to benefit a couple of other local charities.

“We love fresh, new ideas for events from our members,” says Kearns, who runs the Cincinnati chapter with fellow heads Kat Finn and Lesley Hugo. “In fact, anyone in the group can plan an event.”

The Cincinnati chapter of GPO also frequently meets up with other Midwest chapters. In November, several members will be going to Grand Rapids, Michigan to join members from other Midwest GPO chapters for a special tour of Founders Brewing Co. and visits to other breweries in the area.

“It’s a great opportunity to network with other GPO ladies, share ideas, and strengthen our community,” Kearns says.

There’s a lot of sharing between chapters of the organization, which started in Indianapolis in early 2010. The Cincinnati chapter, which was founded in 2013, frequently meets up with the Dayton chapter; the two branches participate in each other’s events and are planning some joint events.

There is no membership fee or application process. To join, just show up to an event, Kearns says, and new members are always welcome. To learn more about Cincinnati GPO, check out their website and social media platforms: Facebook, Meetup, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Home-brewer turned business owner Scott LaFollette shares the story behind Blank Slate Brewing Company how they’re brewing up something truly unique. Read on to drink up all the details.

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Scott LaFollette, Founder of Blank Slate Brewing Company

There are many local breweries in the Tri-State area, but the founder behind Blank Slate Brewing Company says they’re brewing up something truly unique. Scott LaFollette started his business in 2011, with production and selling starting in 2012. Although the Blank Slate wasn’t open to the public until 2012, LaFollette says, “It has been an idea inside my head ever since I started homebrewing in the late 1990s.”

Starting a business takes a certain level of dedication and a lot of inspiration. On the inspiration behind starting Blank Slate, LaFollette says, “[I like] being able to create something from the ground up and then step back and say, ‘Wow, I made this.’” He now has the ability to work for himself doing something he loves. LaFollette was also inspired by his background, jokingly stating, “I grew tired of huffing plastic fumes for a chemical company.” After spending over a decade working in industrial plastics with a degree in Materials Engineering, LaFollette was ready for a change – and craft beer was his passion.

Blank Slate started out as LaFollette’s hobby years before he thought of starting his company. “I started homebrewing and immediately fell in love with it. I spent several years learning, researching and practicing to (hopefully) get into the industry someday. I became a certified beer judge as well as a certified cicerone along the way and took some courses at a brewing school in Chicago.” LaFollette learned – and continues to learn – about beer so that his company would be a success.

“I think every brewery in Cincinnati is unique in their own way,” LaFollette says. “For us, it’s primarily the way we approach brewing that is a little different. We don’t like to make traditional styles. I always say that if you want a really good pale ale I can take you to the store and show you ten to choose from, so why should we bother making #11?” Knowing that there are tons of similar beers out there, Blank Slate focuses on creating unique flavors and tastes. “We like to put a different slant on our beers and incorporate some culinary influences whenever possible. Sometimes it’s a brown ale with mushrooms or simply a German Kölsch with American hops. Either way, we strive to expand the flavor profile of what beer can be but without loosing the fact that at the end of the day, it’s still beer,” he states.

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Blank Slate takes pride in their seasonal beers. LaFollette claims, “Beer is something that is meant to be enjoyed in the moment. It is a part of the experience of that time and place (and season). I prefer to drink with the seasons, meaning more crisp, vibrant beers in the warmer months and more rich, sustaining beers in the colder months. Our brewing is a reflection of that. Although some of our beers are now available year round, a good portion of them rotate seasonally.”

Cincinnati is well known for its love of beer. Some people wonder, though, if this is a good place to start a brewing company. To that, LaFollette says, “It’s my home, so I never even thought about putting it anywhere else. This city has a rich and proud brewing heritage that had really fallen on hard times in previous years. I wanted to be a part of bringing it back to glory. There’s an old saying that says to be a truly great city, you have to have two things: a baseball team and beer. I think that the renaissance happening in this city right now is at least partly attributable to the strides we have made collectively in bringing beer back to prominence. The people of this city were ready for it (whether they knew it or not) and they have been so enthusiastically accepting of it.” The Cincinnati Reds paired with multiple breweries has helped bring this city an incredible sense of pride, and LaFollette’s Blank Slate Brewing Company is right there in the middle of it all.

Blank Slate currently sells beer at the PourHouse taproom in Hamilton County, keeping the products a local commodity. “We set up [the PourHouse] to be very open and intimate to the brewing space. There is a nice wood bar and seating for about 45 people inside with room for another 10-15 on the small patio in front. You are drinking beer literally 20 feet from the tanks in which it was made, which is what it’s all about for me. We have tried to capture the experience of drinking inside a brewery and all of the sights, sounds, and smells that come with it, but still have it feel cozy and friendly,” says LaFollette. Enjoying the beers mere feet from where they were made is such a unique aspect to this business.

Customers can visit the PourHouse and sample anything that Blank Slate has on tap at the time. While production is mainly focused on distributing within the PourHouse for now, LaFollette hopes to start canning in early 2016. Blank Slate Brewing Company’s motto is “Our minds may be empty…our beer is not.” LaFollette explains this, stating, “It’s just a little nod to how we think about our recipes. We empty our minds and start from a blank slate to create something new.”

Speaking of what is new, you can keep up with Blank Slate Brewing Company for more information by visiting the website.

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