MI Women Brew it Up!

I have made no secret of my long love affair with beer. Since my first sip from my dad’s can of Bud-heavy as a child to my first [legal] sip of Tucson’s Nimbus Nut Brown in ’98… beer and me? We go waaaay back.8am Cheers!

I started this humble little website in 2009, and a few doors started opening for me as Momma Needs a Beer slowly morphed from a parenting blog into… well… sing it with me: it’s all about that beer, ’bout that beer, no babies. Ok, ok, so I still talk about my babies on occasion. It’s my space — whateva — I do what I want. 

Local brewers and bartenders are not only fellow craft beer lovers, but some are parents themselves, and can relate to my words; they know I’m not just writing for the sake of that so-called “free beer” — I actually enjoy talking about beer, the people behind the beer, learning about the craft, and wrapping my brain around the process. And, maybe the biggest shockers of all, I enjoy hanging out with people who can kick back and celebrate with a craft beer in hand.

This wonderful world of craft beer has led to many opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago. I love that.

Less than a year ago, I was introduced to a new Women’s Craft Collective here in Michigan: Fermenta. Check it out, whether you’re in Michigan or not, even if you’re not female. It’s pretty badass. Michigan, as a whole, favors collaboration over competition. A concept that has trickled down into this new female-empowered-collective — which I am geeked about.

I recently had the opportunity to brew 2 beers [out of 20 total Fermenta brews] for the upcoming Michigan Winter Beer Fest. Brewmasters Manda Geiger at Pike 51 in Hudsonville and Ed DeGalan at Our Brewing in Holland did a fantastic job walking us through the brewing process. Some of us had experience with home-brewing, a few were brewers at other breweries, others had never brewed a day in our lives. It didn’t matter. We were in it together. We boiled the water, stirred the mash, sanitized and cleaned the tanks, dropped in ingredients like barley, malt, hops, oats, chocolate, caramel, salt, etc! We got our hands dirty, talked dirty, (ok, so maybe that was mostly me) broke a sweat, and damn, it felt good to be a brewster.

Hey, if you’re a woman in Michigan, you can sign up to be a member of Fermenta here!

Manda Mash Pike 51

Fermenta Pike Mash

Fermenta At Pike 51

Fermenta Pike DIPA Preview

Fermenta OBC MashFermenta Mash Mix

Happy Brewers at OBC


Fermenta OBC Brewers

Posted in beer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Girl Walks Into A Bar…

This post could go in many directions… get your heads out of the gutter, it’s not going in *that* direction. Sorry, guys.

But wait a second guys, not so fast. How many times have you taken a lady, or a non-beer-drinking-friend* to a brewery, and heard “but there’s nothing for me to drink there!”**

Let me help you with that.IMG_4303.PNG

I truly feel there is a beer for every pallet. Craft beer is full of many different flavors — you just have to find the flavors that you enjoy.

Tasting is key. Many bars and breweries will offer tastes of what’s on tap so you can try before you buy a full pint. This is super helpful for someone a little leery about a full pour of something they have never drank before. And yes, I have experienced full flights (typically 4-5 3oz pours) of crap before. But the thing is, the experience of tasting each of those beers was important for me to know that… hey, I don’t like these beers… glad I only tasted them! Check. Tasting is key for newbies and aficionados. It’s also super fun to do with friends.

Girl walks into a bar, and enjoys coffee and/or chocolate… 
Taste whatever stouts and porters are on tap. If there are enough for a flight, go for it. Stouts and porters may seem intimidating to non-beer drinkers, but they are among the most flavorful in the craft-beer world, and these age very well. Featuring levels of chocolate, coffee, smoke, spice, and beyond.

Girl walks into a bar, and wants something tropical… 
While I personally do not lean toward the sour or belgian beer style, when someone tells me they love tropical flavors, like pineapple, mango, banana, etc, I have them try a flight with a couple different belgian beers, and maybe a fruit-infused beer or two if that’s available. While it’s not my favorite style of beer, I know that everyone’s palate is unique!

Girl walks into a bar, and she’s watching her figure… 
This is a tricky one, especially if she’s keeping this information to herself. But waist-line-watching friends, here’s the secret –> the bulk of the calories are in the percentage. Stay under 6% and you will typically stay under 150 calories. There are a few breweries who are creating yummy 3.5% ABV craft beers now — and I love them for it. Of course, these same breweries still make a mad 12% — so they’re cool. Gotta keep the balance! All about the moderation. When in doubt, a Cream Ale (if available) is almost always the lowest caloric option, and typically smooth, light and delicious. But, also, don’t count out the surprisingly low-cal Oatmeal Stout! I’m telling you, there’s a lot to explore under 6%. Enjoy!

Girl walks into a bar, and likes something a little caramelly and rich, maybe with a hint of smokiness.
How about a little scotchy-scotch-ale? Or anything aged in a barrel? Bourbon or oak-aged anything can pack a surprisingly sweet punch of flavor. Just keep an eye out for these bad boys, because unlike the last category I mentioned, some of these can also smack you in the face with high alcohol… which isn’t only high in caloric bullshit, but alcohol, which can sneak up on ya, and-  yowza – anything above 9% is a one and done for me. Another nice bonus about flights: 3oz of a 10%-er won’t knock you out!

Girl walks into a bar, and enjoys the citrus side of life…
Oh, hello IPAs!! Here is where you can go crazy with a flight containing IPAs, Double IPAs, Triple IPAs, and maybe even a Pale Ale or two. YesCraft Beer Samplers, this is MY favorite style. :) Sure, the flavors of pine in certain IPAs can taste bitter to some palates, making it an intimidating style for some. But fresh IPAs with aromatic hops like Cascade, Centennial, Mosaic, etc have surprising amounts of citrus. Double and Triple IPAs are surprisingly smooth, and were fun gateway IPAs for this chic. So if flavors and scents of grapefruit, orange and pine suit your fancy, IPAs may be for you.

Girl walks into a brewery, and wants a Bud Light…
OK, so here’s the deal: breweries only serve what they create — drink local! It’s awesome! If you really want something *like* a light lager, your closest bet may be a cream ale. Again, tasting is key. If you already know that you enjoy the taste of a beer, try a few of the brewery’s ales,go a little out of your comfort zone and test the waters, try a stout. You never know what you may fall in love with. You may have a new favorite, and may never go back to the mass produced, watered down swill again. HA!

Girl walks into a bar… and enjoys a little bit of everything. 
Oh hell yes! Girl, we must be friends. Pick one of each of the styles from the categories from above and have fun. I will do the same, and we will share each of the 10 beers, compare notes, laugh, express joy, love and/or disgust at one or more of our beers, and be bonded for life.

Rinse and repeat as necessary.

*I know there are guys out there who don’t like beer, too. For the sake of argument, and general flow of conversation, I am using the female pronoun for this article instead of, oh, I dunno, “Dude walks into a bar”. I am very well aware that more women are drinking beer these days, and there are men who don’t like beer as well. I am gender neutral, so if this is an issue for you, feel free to replace “girl” with “dude” in your heads as deemed necessary.***

**I know some of you have legit gluten allergies. Many breweries have begun catering to your needs with either gluten free beer and/or cider. The options are growing! Happy Drinking!

***Yes, my inbox was attacked on this obviously incredibly sensitive topic. Ya know how beer and gender stirs up controversy.

Posted in beer | Tagged , , | 1 Response

Pelvic Dysfunction, What’s Your Function?

The update you’ve all been waiting for!!! See how I lightened up this painful topic with a song? You’re welcome.  

Oh yes, back in March, I revealed a health issue that isn’t as uncommon as I initially thought: Pelvic Floor Myalgia.

This is where I give you the TMI warning. I get it. Discussing Dysfunctional Pelvic Floors isn’t everyone’s pint of beer. 

I am knocking on a year since I was diagnosed, and began physical therapy treatment. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year, although… sometimes I forget what life was like without this craptastic issue clouding my daily life.

Here’s what I’ve learned since we last talked. Quick Disclosure: I’m non-medically-minded. This is MY experience. If you are experiencing any of these issues, or think you may be suffering with a dysfunctional pelvic floor, talk to your doctor.

  • You guys want to know how I’m doing, and you want to tell me about your health issues, too. 
    • But… privately. Sisterhood FTW! And brotherhood in some cases… It’s not just a female issue. 
    • I received SO much support when I poured my heart out about my “broken vagina” — but you wouldn’t know it from the 2 measly comments on the post. I received countless emails, texts and phone calls, and I still am, 7 months later! I’m stopped in the most random of places, church, bars, school hallways, asking how I’m doing. I was even confronted about my broken vagina post while I laid half-naked, in stirrups by my urologist as she held a shot full of injections. Shoutout to my awesome urologist —> I highly recommend!!!
    • The stigma many of us experience, by having to suffer in silence through whatever health issue we’re dealing with… sucks. Especially if you can’t explain it in a nutshell without making people wince and squirm. It is nice, however, to know we’re not suffering alone.

  • A year later… some people… including myself… are sick of having to deal with my dysfunctional pelvic floor. 
    • The mental toll physical health issues can take on me, and my loved ones was a bit of a surprise.
    • My husband wants to know when I’ll be “better” — my friends want to know when I can travel more than 3 hours without pain. The truth is, I’ve learned to live with the pain on some level. Which I will go into deeper into the next bullet-point.

  • Trial and error sucks, but I’ve had to learn what works for me. 
    • A Gluten-Free/Caveman Diet was a big, huge thing my urologist still keeps telling me I should adopt. I tried it for 2 weeks, was still miserable, and in pain, so I went back to clutching my beloved IPAs, which… no surprise here, beer actually gives me some level of relief. This is one of the many things that work for ME. A few other people I’ve talked to that have dealt with this issue have admitted to finding relief through eliminating certain foods from their diets.
    • Find what works for you. This should be true for just about anything in life, as we are all different.
    • Trial and error may feel excruciatingly time consuming (especially for someone like me, who wants results yesterday) but when you find something that does or doesn’t work — that’s a win, and you can move on.

  • Sitting is the new smoking. 
    • This is a direct quote my yoga instructor. Yes, I’ve gone back to the yoga studio, and while it hasn’t provided me with a full spectrum of relief — mentally, it is helping, and that is a definite win. Yoga is also getting me moving… which helps prevent me from sitting for long periods of time. Who knew sitting could be so destructive?! But once I correlated a flare-up with my sitting for too long, it was a good lesson. Cue the breakdown:
      • I have to remain conscious of how long I’ve been sitting.
      • After 30-45 minute of sitting, I have to walk around, even if it’s just to the bathroom and back to my bar-stool, then I can probably sit again, but I have to rinse and repeat this act every 30-45 min.
      • Writing… has become a challenge. Think about where you write. Do you stand? Do you lay down? No, unless you have one of those fancy standing-or-envy-inducing-treadmill-desks, you probably sit. I hate making excuses about my lack of writing on my own personal space, but… this is one reason this has been a low-blogpost-year for me. I have found that writing in bed is ok, as well as standing at my kitchen counter. Alternating laying/standing and walking while trying to soak up a good writing flow takes time and patience. But overall, it has sucked out a bit of the fun out of writing for me.
      • Movies are tough. If I can’t lay down, and/or take a break (as in, if I’m at the movie theater with my kids) I HAVE to find a way to take a good walk, or… lay down after.
      • If I’m driving somewhere, rest-areas are my friend. They seem to be spaced out well enough so I can get a quick walk in every 45 min. A bonus to this issue? When I do go for an 1hr+ drive somewhere, and I know I’ll be close to a loved ones’ house where I can take a break + visit them for an hour — it’s a huge help, in many ways.
      • A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Another cliché-esque quote that I’m saying to myself… because it’s true. If I’m active all day, I may be tired at the end of it, but the pain isn’t as bad as if I was sitting all day.
      • If I do have to rest, finding a comfy spot is key — I can’t sit in my recliner anymore, I have to lay down in bed, or on the couch with a pillow under my legs for my Thursday night Shonda Rhimes fest. #TeamJake!
      • Wow, this is a lot of bullet points about sitting — but seriously… it’s a big issue for me.

  • Stress = flare-ups. 
    • Like many people with physical and mental issues, stress and anxiety will cause my body to tense up, and BOOM. Charlie-horse in my vagina. Good times. 
    • On the positive side of that — when I’m having fun with my friends and family, in a stress-free environment… my pain diminishes nearly completely. Sure, alcohol is usually involved in these situations, but not always.

  • Injections are my friend.
    • Oh… injections. I talked a lot about the painful first round of injections in my first post about my dysfunctional pelvic floor. Let me tell you, the injections have gotten easier. The first time doing anything is scary because of the unknown. Well, that and with injections… you’re sticking a needle… WHERE?! But I’ve been getting injections every 6-8 weeks, and each time, it is a little easier. They aren’t Vaginal Injection Parties… but, I’m no longer crawling up the wall with each poke. I get them done in the office, and… get this... I go by myself now. The hubs came with me for the first few rounds, but when he was out of town for a round earlier this summer, I decided to try to go alone… and I was fine. Felt like a rockstar after, to be honest. Hey, I’ll take it.
    • Injections do not provide me with instant relief, (I’ve heard this varies from person to person) but the relief does happen gradually over the next few days, and I can lead a somewhat “normal”  life (whatever that is) for about 6 weeks before I may encounter a flare-up and need another round.

  • Physical Therapists rock. 
    • Let me expand on this, and not just because they may be reading this, but I feel my urologist and my physical therapists are my friends at this point. They know about my kids, I know a bit about theirs. They know about THIS crazy blog. They have seen more of me than many of my awesome readers out there!! HA! I work with about 4 ladies, 3 p/t and one urologist, and when I stopped going to physical therapy on a weekly basis, and came back after a 2-month absence recently, they were all so excited and happy to see me, even if they had to help me through some pain. Friends.
    • Urologic Physical Therapy isn’t easy to schedule. Like I mentioned in my first post, this may seem like a foreign issue to many, but it’s fairly common, and the demand and need for patients of all ages to receive treatment isn’t always as easy as coming into the office at the drop of a hat. Because I’ve been going for so long, and now go on an as-needed basis, I have become friendly enough to learn the hoops I need to go to in order to get in as soon as possible. See the lesson here? Be nice to the people who are trying to help you!

  • Momma’s Other Little Helpers.
    • In between injections/physical therapy, I still have to deal with some level of pain, even if it’s diminished, I still have bad days. The following works for me…
      • Baths/Showers. My tub is tiny, so I’ve learned to fill the tub, and still use the shower head to help me through some pain nearly every day.
      • TENS unit. Electrode therapy is something I used within physical therapy sessions, but now I have my own personal unit that I can use as needed, and I highly recommend looking into one if you have chronic pain.
      • Massage. My pain may be rooted in my pelvic floor, but it almost spiders out, up and down and all around. The latest victim has been my sciatic, which requires massage and stretching to get through it. The hubs tries to keep up with my massage needs, but I try to “splurge” on a professional massage once a month, and it’s money well spent.
      • Yoga. As I already mentioned above — my 90 minute yoga class makes for a beautiful morning, and typically a good day I can count on, mentally and physically.
      • Walking. Seems so…. simple, it’s almost stupid. Again, the body in motion bullshit is true. Dammit.
      • Putting a little alcohol on it. I’ve already mentioned how beer/alcohol actually helps me, instead of hurting me. While I’m partial to my locally-sourced craft-beer, I do love a good Bulleit Rye, Neat. Could alcohol be considered a mental escape? Maybe? It seems to temporarily numb my pain, instead of causing further pain, and helps me have fun. I’ll take it! For some people with DPF, alcohol could cause a flare-up, so use caution! 
      • Sex. Another form of therapy that works for some, but not for others. For me, sex depends on my level of pain. Sometimes sex helps, sometimes, it makes things worse. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I am not a quitter. Painful or not, I rarely turn down the opportunity for sex. Wait, what? You know what I mean… Let’s change the subject…

  • Kids. Are. Awesome.
    • Look, I know I can bitch about my kids with the best of ‘em; kids aren’t easy, especially when you’re dealing with a chronic physical issue that can limit fun. My kids have tolerated my dysfunctional pelvic floor issues with more grace and understanding than anyone, even though they’ve had to miss out on a few things. They’ve expressed so much love, I truly wish I could bottle it. They get it when I have to lay down under a heating pad or take a long bath.
    • My kids are the #1 motivators that literally gets my sorry ass out of bed some days.

Whew!! For my amazing rockstar readers that stuck around to read all of the above, thank you. GOLD STAR FOR YOU!

I don’t know what the future holds (does anyone?) Is this is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life,? One day, will I wake up and not have to wonder when my next round of vaginal injections will happen? I’m trying not to question the long-term, and to take things one day at a time. I’m doing what I can to make the most of my good days when I have them, and taking it easy when I need to. Trying not to feel guilty when I have to say no to things I just don’t have the tolerance to deal with, and yes to the fun things I hope will help me escape the bullshit when necessary.

Living my best life, and finding ways to laugh through my dysfunctional pelvic pain? Challenge accepted.

Posted in Life | Tagged , , | 4 Responses
  • About Me

    Kelli Williams

    Kelli Williams

    Keeping up with 2 little girls, writing assignments, music gigs, the house, laundry, ETC, backwards, wearing ass kicking boots and a smile, without spilling my beer. Ok, ok, so I spill my beer, but my floors have never been more germ-free since I started putting a little alcohol on them. Who needs ammonia...

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