Meet the Chicks

Beth J. Bates love of beer


Beth J. Bates, (aka “BYOBates”)
Front Royal, VA

In my professional life I am a professional blogger and digital marketer, so starting a blog seemed the logical way to share my love of beer. Thus, behold the birth of “Chicks Love Beer.”

My dad gave me a sip of MGD when I was five. It was bad then and its still bad now. During my “formative” years, I was a vodka drinker. My husband was a Guinness drinker and at the ripe old age of 25 I discovered how wonderful beer could be. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed some great beers and found that my tastes change pretty erratically. As a consummate advocate for the “little guy”, I love talking to people about craft beers. I’ve found so many great brews that deserve some attention and hope that I can bring these incredible beers to you. I also love to “dish” about beers, the beer-making process and how we gals are making our mark in a historically man’s world.

I don’t drink Bud, Miller, Coors Light or PBR…not my bag. I do dabble in wine and scotch from time-to-time, so don’t be surprised if I throw you an occasional curve ball.

Please let us know what you like, want to see, think we should do – whatever. This community is FOR YOU. So, don’t be shy, girl – get involved!!

I look forward to meeting you all, enjoying tasty beer and having a fab time!

Fave Brews Then: Guinness, Rogue Chipotle, Terrapin Hopsecutioner,  Abita Strawberry Harvest, Legend Tripel, Allagash Tripel, La Chouffe , Flying Dog Kerberos Tripel

Fave Brews NOW: Schlafly Single Malt Scotch Ale, All Day IPA, Sculpin, anything Firestone Walker, Flower Power, American Dark Ales, Bourbon Barrel Aged

I guess tastes do change!

Lori de Pedro

Lori de Pedro (aka “The Lightweight”)
Front Royal, VA

Hi! My name is Lori ‘the Lightweight’ de Pedro. I have been in the wine industry for over 10 years and have seen tons of changes-some positive and some disappointing. Probably even more exciting to me is the budding local craft beer movement. Maybe not so budding anymore, but there are some DAMN fine beers being made locally that deserve attention. When I discover brewmasters taking chances and bending the rules, I get excited. Tasting beer can be every bit the sensory experience that tasting wine can be. I love full bodied, smooth finishes-big but not overtly hoppy. I appreciate subtlety. Less is more with acidity. Belgian triples. Coffee stouts. Seasonals always intrigue me. Can I count ginger beers? Yeah, I’m counting ginger beers…

Rebecca Ash

“The Half-Pint”

Rebecca Ash (aka “The Half-Pint”)
New York, NY

I’m not entirely certain if I’m a writer who likes to drink or a drinker who likes to write, but I prefer to do both with creativity and wild abandon. I’m a former freelancer & bartender with a novel in the works and a sixer-mixer of good stuff in my fridge at all times. I am a tried and true oenophile and “beer nut” and delight in trying new brews/vintages whenever possible. In short: I’m Irish. Slante and good luck to the barley mow!

Fave Brews: Paulaner Dunkel, Duvel, Kwak, Leffe, Ommegang & Ommegang Three Philosophers, (obviously I’m a big fan of Belgian beers), Ommegang Hennepin, Maudite, La Fin du Monde, Schneider Weiss, Boddington, La Trappe Dubbel, Red Hawk Ale, Blue Heron, Negra Modelo, Coopers Stout, Spaten Optimator, Phat Abbot Belgian Dubbel and yes…Amstel Light!

Great breweries/beer gardens I’ve tippled at include:

NYC: Blind Tiger, Loreley, Biergarten, McSorley’s, Brooklyn Brewery, Troy Brew Pub (upstate NY)

San Diego, CA: Rosie O’Grady’s, Rock Bottom Brewery, The Firehouse

Other:: Ram Big Horn (WA), Corner Brewery (MI), Harpoon Brewery (MA)



Jennifer Spence (aka “Jenni-Firkin”)
Chesapeake, VA

My name is Jennifer, and I love beer – really, really love beer (shocking, huh?). I wasn’t one of those people who gradually evolve into craft beer drinkers – once I started having craft beers, I loved them. I’ve definitely evolved in my tastes though – just over a year ago, I realized I had fully crossed the sour bridge, and gone from dislike to love. In my heart-of-hearts, I’m old-fashioned in my tastes, and prefer classical/traditional styles to new age and funky. I’ll try anything once, including whatever rum barrel aged peanut-butter pepper wedding cake brew someone has put into a bomber, but when I’m looking to hang out and relax, I want something I can enjoy a pint of.  Full disclosure, my husband works for a brewery in our area, and while I love the stuff he brings home, there are a ton of other beers that I appreciate just as much. I have developed a habit now of traveling for work with a half-empty suitcase and bubble-wrap, and a shortlist for the nearest good beer store at my destination. My most recent trip to Colorado, I was on the verge of having to buy an extra suitcase if I selected any more bottles to bring home (I managed to fit nine). I’m also a member of my local Barley’s Angels club – any posts of particularly inventive pairings or beers will probably be attributed to that rather than my own daring.

Fave Brews: I love well-balanced beers in which both the malt and hops complement each other.  For the most part, I prefer more classic (often European) beer styles, though the beer definitely doesn’t have to be from a European brewery, because I tend to be a traditionalist.  I especially love Belgian and British beers – my beer of choice will often be London brown (such as Fullers), ESB, Belgian golden (ranging from Delirium/Unibroue to Malheur), saisons, or biere de gardes.  In terms of the US craft market, I tend to drink Bells, Sierra Nevada, Ommegang, New Belgium, etc (I currently have several cases of beer from small micros in the Midwest that was just given to me that I’m excited about trying).  The only styles that I’m not overly thrilled about drinking are Hefeweizens and Bocks (though I do like Dubbels/Trippels/Quads).  But even with styles that I don’t personally love, I try to be a fair reviewer and separate out my palate preferences from the actual quality of the beer.

Micro Brew

“Micro Brew”

Whitney McKim (aka “Micro Brew”)

Lovettsville, VA

I’ve been blogging since 2002/3.  I guest blog on when the occasion arises, and post a weekly blog post on for the wonderful Beth BYOBates!  In addition, I’m a 3 time NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) winner.  This means that I’ve been able to successfully “complete” a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (or less) three times!

Unlike many of my high school buddies, I stuck to the straight and narrow and didn’t partake in the nectar of the Gods until I was (nearly) of legal drinking age.  Despite my late start in life, I like to believe that I became a lover of beer rather quickly.  I enjoy a nice frosty mug the best among friends.

Fave Brews: Flying Dog Brewery, Microbrews, Home brews (sadly not my own… haven’t gotten that far but I have some friends who are rather talented). Never Bud Light, Miller Light, Mich Light…. or the other “fizzy yellow beer” ilk. Occasionally in the winter a nice dark stout or porter is nice… especially if it reeks of coffee or chocolate.

“Real Beerwife of VA”
Harrisonburg, VA

Our household motto is if you don’t like it don’t drink it.  I’m always willing to try new brews, but I do tend to gravitate towards the Belgians, Hefeweizens and Witbier in Summer and malty stouts in the Winter.

Fave Brews: Cally’s Smokin’ Scottish, Ommegang Hennepin, North Coast Pranqster, La Chouffe, Crispin Cider, Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout.

I also love to travel, here are breweries I’ve visited (the ones I can remember).
Virginia: Blue Mountain, Cally’s, Devil’s Backbone
Oregon: Big Horse Brewpub, Elysian, Full Sail, Mac & Jack’s
Juneau: Alaskan Brewing Co
Kill Devil Hills: Outer Banks Brewing Station
Reno: Silver Peak
Munich: Hofbrauhaus, Spaten
Salzburg: Ausgustinerbrau
Valencia: Portland Ale House

Charlie FishCharlie Fish

Winchester, VA

Beer and wine are my second career. From 1979 to 1999 I was in radio up and down the east coast, on air from Rochester Ny. to Jacksonville Fl. When living in Florida, the beer bug got me. My husband and I would occasionally visit a local beer/wine shop and blindly pick something up and take it home. That’s where I first encountered Sierra Nevada’s Big Foot Barley Wine. The shop owner there tried to talk us out of it. He said he knew our tastes and we probably wouldn’t like it. Boy was he right! (On a side note, any good shop owner SHOULD dissuade you from buying something you probably wouldn’t like. It’s one of the many benefits of getting to know a shop owner!) But I digress. That first sampling of Big Foot was over 20 years ago and my tastes have CHANGED! I now have some vintage bottles in the basement and my tastes have expanded into wine.

One of the biggest factors in the change is that my husband and I moved from Florida back to my hometown of Winchester, Va. We opened The Murphy Beverage Company in 1997 out of our frustration over moving to a small town and no longer having access to a big city beer selection. No one was doing it, so we took that task on ourselves. I got my sommelier certificate in 2004 and here I am taking on another new venture, blogging.

The Chicks have asked that I take on the wine end of things, so that will be my primary focus, but once in awhile I will pop over to the beer side. After all, being a child of the 70’s and raised in the mountains of Virginia and West Virginia, beer is my first love.

My radio career has also continued, much to my delight. Once a week I do a show on WXVA, AM610 and…wait for it…wait for it…It’s all about beer and wine. It’s called Charlie Choice and it airs Friday mornings at 9am with a rebroadcast at 5pm. You can stream it also at

Favorite wine choices: They change frequently, but I’m never disappointed by Ferrari-Carano Siena, Stags Leap Petite Sirah, Worthy Sophia’s Cuvee, Raymond Generations, Reds from Linden Vineyards and Glen Manor (both of Virginia), for whites, I unashamedly love Broadbent Vinho Verde, Ugni Blanc-Colombard blends & Moriette Pichot Vouvray.

 Angela Turner (aka “Bourbon Barrel Anged”)

Winchester, VA

CieNga YamCieNga Yam

Stephens City, Va

I grew up in the restaurant industry.  My father was prominent in the local area and owned several restaurants and night clubs.  My first experience with beer was stealing sips of my father’s Budweiser on ice at the age of five.  By the time I reached double digits, I was an experienced sneak thief running around my Dad’s restaurants garnering every sip I could.   I went through the requisite collegiate liquor phase but in the year 2008, I landed on Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA at a local pub.  My mouth and brain exploded and I went on a rampant discovery of everything craft beer.  Troegg’s Nugget Nectar made my life.  Since then, beer has been my life, the hoppier the better.  I’ve completely redone the tap system in the restaurant I work in, so everyone else tastes what I taste.  I try to spread the word and the love of beer.

Fave Brews:  Stone Collective Distortion,  Hardywood Capitol Trail, Yeti Oatmeal Stout, Schlafly Tasmanian IPA, Anderson Valley Kimmie, the Yink and the Holy Gose and anything Firestone Walker, especially Wookie Jack.