AZGPO Christmas Beer & Chocolate Pairing
Last week Thursday was the final event of the year for AZ Girls’ Pint Out, and without any speculation, it turned out to be one of our best events yet. Set up as a Christmas beer and chocolate pairing at the ever-popular Chandler Whole Foods Watering Hole, we also partnered with Childhelp, a non-profit that provides therapeutic intervention for children who have been victims of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, and/or neglect, or exposed to severe trauma. Childhelp was in need of some items the therapists use in aiding the children in recovery and rehabilitation. We expected only about 20 ladies to show up, and only half that to bring items from the wish list, but what happened was a whole lot bigger.
RSVPs on our Facebook event page slowly climbed to 20 people throughout the week before the event was scheduled, with 8 maybes and many more non-replies. In situations like this, we’ve come to predict that anywhere from half to two-thirds of the RSVPers will show up, while understanding that the rest might have had something else arise and may not have been able to make it. We’re more than capable of working around these small numbers, so it’s never a problem. Thursday night, however, instead of fewer than 20 women waiting eagerly for a holiday pairing between two of the greatest edibles on earth, we had almost 45 women clambering for seats. Planning for 20 and having to quickly find space and resources for more than twice that is no easy feat. With limited space reserved, we ended up commandeering surrounding booths and tables from unsuspecting and confused customers while stealing more tables and chairs from other areas in the store. It was quite a production just to get everyone set up, and some women even apologized for not responding to the event invite and offered to leave, but we weren’t going to have that – everyone was welcome! We put together more chocolate samples, we handed out more freshly printed lists of what was being paired, and we poured more beer. The show would go on!
Once everyone was finally settled, and as we finished doling out the delectables to the last of the tables, Kristi Murphy, clinical director of Childhelp, gave more information about Childhelp and showed drawings of feelings that children in the program created in their sessions. She also thanked us for helping them out with their wish list by donating so many items they were in need of that their therapists would have had to buy with their own money otherwise. We were floored by the support of all the women who came and managed to fill a whole shopping cart with the amount of items they brought to donate. Many people purchased multiple items, which was very thoughtful and extremely helpful in fulfilling our goal. If this event was proof of anything, it was that even in this economy and even in hard times, people will come through and give what they can. That it was our last event of 2011 and was centered around holiday brews was only secondary to the amount of charity, caring, and giving that was going on that night.
Though the beer and chocolate ended up taking a back seat to the goodwill portion of our evening (and with good reason), it definitely did not disappoint. Six holiday ales and six different chocolates were distributed and talked about, with time in between for the women to discuss what they liked and didn’t like about each pairing. Unfortunately, as I was running around making sure everyone else had what they needed to participate in the pairings, I failed to save more than 2 beers and 2 chocolates for myself, so I’m unable to report on how they went over. I did manage to grab a list, though:
Criminally Bad Elf – Paired with Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn
So in the end, this final event was a huge success; with a fantastic turn out that included lots of new members as well as plenty of good friends, great holiday beer and delicious chocolate, all topped off with a wonderful amount of donations that we were able to give to Childhelp to aid them this season. Without all of the awesome support of the women in AZ Girls’ Pint Out (it’s free to be a member, ladies!), we would not be able to pull an event like this off, so thank you. Thank you for your continued support going into 2012, for your willingness to try new things with us, and we hope to see you at some of our upcoming events in the new year! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!