Beer Mail

There is no greater feeling than finding a box sitting by your front door addressed to you from someone you’ve never met. Ah, beer lovers and their beer mail.

If you’re not involved in a beer share, you should be. You network with people in neighboring states or even cross-country to get beer sent to you that is not distributed to your area. Pliny lovers, rejoice.

It is absolutely essential to carefully package the beer you send to not only make sure that the bottles don’t break, but to make sure there is no leakage in the event that bottles do break along the way.

A few things to keep in mind before you ship beer:

-Familiarize yourself with the policies of your preferred shipping service. USPS forbids mailing alcohol or even using a box with alcoholic beverage logos on it. FedEx only ships alcohol if you have a license to do so. UPS has a similar policy, as well.


Photo by Renee Apodaca

Photo by Renee Apodaca


A sturdy box (I just asked my local liquor store and they gave me one free of charge)

Packing tape

Clear plastic wrap

Bubble wrap (you can buy a large roll on Ebay)

Grocery bags

Gallon-size freezer bags


Step One

Photo by Renee Apodaca

Photo by Renee Apodaca

I take each beer and seal them in the freezer bag being sure to take out as much air as possible.

Step Two

Photo by Renee Apodaca

Photo by Renee Apodaca

Roll the bagged bottle into a grocery bag and tie the handle toward the neck of the bottle. I do this and the previous step to be proactive in case the bottle does break.  No one wants a soggy box at their doorstep. So if a bottle breaks, the liquid is contained in the freezer bag and the grocery bag.

Step Three

Photo by Renee Apodaca

Photo by Renee Apodaca

The grocery-bagged bottle is then rolled with some bubble wrap. How much you want to wrap it is completely up to you. I usually wrap it four to six times.


Step Four

Photo by Renee Apodaca

Photo by Renee Apodaca

To secure the bubble wrap, I tightly wrap the bottle. This is also a good alternative to using tape because the bubble wrap will tear when it is unwrapped. Pay it forward and try to keep the wrapping materials as reusable as possible for the person you are sending it to!

I repeated this for each beer and although the photo shows a divider in the box, I ended up taking that out and laying the beers down flat. You can add filler material in the box as well just to help prevent the bottles from shifting. I have had plenty of success with this method of shipping my beer and so far, no one has reported any leakage or breaks. Again, this is what has worked for me. Everyone has their own methods based on trial and error, so use this as a starting point and see what works for you.

Happy Shipping!

Women in beer: Anne Ausderau

As a lover of lambics and saisons, Anne Ausderau reaps the benefits of her position. She receives beer samples at her door to review, she attends beer competitions as a judge and she is up-to-date with all things craft beer. Ausderau is the current editor of Southwest Brewing News – a position she’s had for 10 years.

Photo courtesy Anne Ausderau.

Photo courtesy Anne Ausderau.

Ausderau’s career began when she read a copy of SWBN at her local brewpub to keep up with the latest news in the craft-beer world. She read that they were hiring and then began her way to the editor position.

“One issue had a posting for the northern New Mexico correspondent. Since I was between jobs and wanted to work part time instead of full and start writing. I applied thinking it would be fun and a great excuse to travel around New Mexico and get to meet more brewers,” Ausderau said.

She was hired and her first column appeared in the December/January 2003/2004 issue. It was also her first cover feature. Ausderau’s writing and ability to beat deadlines quickly gained the attention of the editor, who was leaving the newspaper. He recommended Ausderau to the publisher as a great replacement. She then did all the copy editing in the following issue and by the April/May edition she was the sole editor.

“That was the fast track – not the normal path to becoming an editor at a brewing newspaper,” Ausderau said.

Though she quickly climbed the ranks at SWBN, Ausderau never envisioned herself as an editor. “Growing up, I wanted to write romance novels or at least, be a writer of some sort,” Ausderau said. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a concentration in advertising. She was drawn to the design element of creating posters and invitations, but didn’t want to work for an ad agency.

“When I discovered I didn’t really want to sell stuff to people they didn’t really want, I probably should’ve changed concentrations . . .” Ausderau said.

After graduation, she used the experience she obtained from administrative jobs she held throughout college to land a job at a local gas company in Albuquerque, N.M. She held various office jobs before becoming the editor of SWBN, which was her first journalism job.

Because SWBN comes out every other month, Ausderau’s daily tasks mostly consist of responding to emails from her staff, the publisher and other correspondents. Closer to the publication date, she reminds staff about approaching deadlines that she sets based on her own production deadlines. As columns are submitted from the writers, she edits and formats them. She uses the newspaper’s photo review website and decides which pictures to pair with the features. Ausderau discusses the issue’s theme in her “From the Editor” column and then collaborates with the layout designer and cover designer to finalize any necessary changes. Ausderau is also in charge of responding to companies who want to market and send samples of beer-related products for coverage in the newspaper.

Like most newspapers, SWBN depends on advertisements for profit. Ausderau said the biggest change to her industry was that breweries and other companies have shifted toward using social media as a cheaper marketing option. The Internet has allowed them to maintain their own websites and rely less on newspapers to distribute information. The digital age has left many newspapers to adapt to the growing trend of online content or to succumb to the fate many newspapers have already faced.

“Print as a medium seems to be dying, but I also think there will always be some people who like the feel of holding paper in their hands,” Ausderau said.

It is a challenge for newspapers to remain relevant in an era of fast-paced news and news that is available with the click of a button. SWBN has offered an online version of their print edition. Ausderau said the publisher has no plans of going online only just yet, but remains confident that “print can coexist with digital.”

Too much head? Not enough?

Stop your giggling. Let me explain the headline.

When you pour a beer and beige foam, rather than the beer, fills the glass, it is not desirable. For those new to craft beer, let me explain.

Simply put, beer head is the foam that settles at the top of a beer pour. Carbon dioxide rising to the top causes the foam.  The head not only adds visual appeal, it delivers the aroma of the beer. The head gives a creamy texture (no, really, stop giggling) which adds to the beer-tasting experience. The amount of head produced is dependent on a lot of factors (pour, glassware, type of beer) but to keep things simple, the head should be about an inch thick (even a little less is perfectly fine).

A brown ale poured into a pint glass.

A brown ale poured into a pint glass.

But this? I poured this brown ale and immediately the foam filled the glass. This is something you want to avoid. You can wait for the head to dissipate, but the aroma was so enticing I didn’t want to wait so I scooped it out with a spoon and continued to pour.

Three things you can do to avoid a head mishap like me (or have no head at all):

1. Pour the beer properly. This isn’t apple juice, you can’t just violently pour it straight down the glass. There is a proper way to pour. *Stay tuned for an edit of this post that includes a video of me pouring. YouTube technical difficulties.

2. Be sure the glass you are using is free of residue. I am thinking this may have been the cause of my head explosion because my dishwasher tends to leave behind water marks. Lightly rinse your glass before use and be sure to dry it completely. Ladies, even lip gloss and chap stick are your enemies, so go au naturel when you’re beer tasting.

3. Check the best by or bottled date of your beer. Depending on the type of beer, it can be affected by even just a few months. An old beer will be flat and not produce much head. So if you ruled out the previous two factors, the beer is old.


Women in beer: Julie Meeker

Julie Meeker of Mother Bunch Brewing in Phoenix.

Julie Meeker of Mother Bunch Brewing in Phoenix.

Two months ago, I was invited to see a brewing session with Julie Meeker of the soon-to-open Mother Bunch Brewing in downtown Phoenix and her head brewer William Hampton. They are a dynamic team with an incredible amount of knowledge between them. Meeker is an advocate of women in the craft-beer scene and we as women should applaud her for being such a strong representative to the community.

Like Mother Bunch Brewing on Facebook to stay up-to-date with the brewery.









Beer review: Saison de Wench

Let’s face it, when beer is marketed toward women they slap the word “light” on the label and boast a low calorie count. Not every woman is obsessed with counting calories nor does every woman need to go for something light. We have a curious palette too!  If beer is going to market itself to and for women, it should be bold, not pink and of course craft.

Cue Bison’s Saison de Wench.

Bison Brewing Saison de Wench

Bison Brewing Saison de Wench


If there was a universal gateway beer for women to enter the craft universe, it would be this beer. It’s a saison so it’s not a dark beer, which could intimidate many women who have been misinformed about beer.  The pouring reveals a beautiful peach hue. The aroma boasts subtle rose. It is drinkable and light without being watered down and flavorless like many “women beers” tend to be. As it warms, the rose notes come through softly. This saison is refreshingly feminine without the mawkish tendencies.

To find Saison de Wench at a store near you, click here.

International Stout Day



Nov. 8, 2013 is International Stout Day. It is a celebration of the hearty style in breweries, bars, and homes worldwide. While everyone is pouring themselves a glass, today is a day to try a new way to consume the dark beer.

Check out this great Friday night dinner idea from Table for Two:

Chorizo Stout Sloppy Joes

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb ground pork

12 oz chorizo

1 cup stout beer

1/2 cup tomato paste

1/4 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

8 kaiser rolls

cheese, sliced


  1. On medium-high high, pour the olive oil in a skillet. Sauté the bell pepper and onion for five minutes. Add the garlic.

  2. Add ground pork and chorizo.  Break down into smaller pieces, they will be browned when done. Drain the excess grease.

  3. Add tomato paste, stout, cumin, black pepper. Stir together and simmer for 10 minutes.

  4. Toast the buns in the oven, if you prefer.

  5. Generously place the meat on to the buns and cover with cheese.

  6. Serve and enjoy!