Flying in on the tail feathers of our latest Western Rivers Brewers’ Council collaboration, Oh Hey, Pinyon Jay, we’re returning to a familiar favorite – Borderlands Brewing Company’s Rain Crow IPA. Help us celebrate the release by joining us on August 12 in southeastern Arizona for a Yellow-billed Cuckoo bird walk and trivia at Borderlands!
Rain Crow IPA was first released in 2018 to tell a story about birds and beer, reminding folks that their favorite Arizona brew and birds like the imperiled Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo share a similar fate. This year, in partnership with Tucson’s Feminist Bird Club and the Southern Arizona chapter of the Pink Boots Society, we’re taking the story behind this brew one step further. But, why are these organizations rallying behind the Rain Crow?
For both organizations, the answer is pretty simple – water. Both birds and beer depend on adequate and reliable water supplies, both are at risk in a warming, drying Southwest, and both need us to take action now to encourage forward thinking and sustainable water policies.
Tucson’s Feminist Bird Club works to promote inclusivity in birding and to provide safe opportunities for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC, and women to connect with the natural world, often through local, community-led bird walks. As any of us who have been on a nature walk before know, having things to see and hear is critical to the experience. In a state where over 70% of threatened and endangered species rely on riverside habitat, a state where 40% of the country’s bird species can be seen along a single river (the San Pedro), water and a mission to promote inclusivity in nature are deeply connected.
The Pink Boots Society was created to assist, inspire, and encourage women and/or non-binary individuals in the fermented and alcoholic beverage industry to advance their careers through education. As becomes obvious when you sip your favorite brew on a hot Arizona summer day, the main ingredient in beer is water. The other ingredients in your glass – grain, hops, fruit, and more – are just as reliant on this resource. In short, if there is no water, then there is no beer, there is no craft beer industry, and the work of the Pink Boots Society becomes moot.
Whether in the field counting cuckoos, working in the brew house, or advocating for sound water policies, women are in the lead. But, how can you take action to help support their efforts? It’s easy! By joining Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network (another women-led effort), you can help advocate for the water policies that will keep cuckoos calling, rivers flowing, and beer brewing.
To celebrate this collaboration and the release of Rain Crow IPA, we’ll be joining Tucson’s Feminist Bird Club for a late afternoon bird walk, co-led by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Meaghan Conway, through classic Yellow-billed Cuckoo habitat along the Santa Cruz River near Tubac and then heading over to Tucson’s Borderlands Brewing Company for the beer release and themed trivia.
We hope you’ll join us for the celebration. Cheers to the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo!