On Thursday, our friend Eric Allen alerted us that three women — Alex, Sarah, and Jane Doe* — tweeted at the Metro Times account to announce that they were going to attempt to drink all 130 beers on tap at HopCat on Friday, Jan. 30. They even made a new Twitter account just for the occasion ("@130on130" — get it?). Lacking anything better to do and always on the lookout for a story, we decided to interview the "Three Thirsty Ladies" and hopefully witness the making of history. The good news is that all 130 beers were had (137, actually), but the road was fraught with peril. Here's how it all went down.
Metro Times: Why are you doing this?
Alex: We've been here a few times, and we just look at all the beers, and we want to try them all. It's hard to pick from 130 beers on the menu. You don't really know what you like.
MT: What are those small glasses? Are those a sample size?
Alex: They're $1 each. And we're splitting all of them three ways.
MT: Oh, good, so you're not drinking 130 beers each.
Alex: We are all taking sips of all of them. We're splitting all of these tasters in three. So we will taste all of them.
MT: How much beer does that work out to?
Alex: I called the other day and they said these were 2.5 oz. So we did the math, and essentially that's eight beers per person, eight pints.
MT: That's a lot for one person, but not impossible.
Sarah: Right. And we are getting food.
MT: When do you think you're going to meet the goal?
Alex: We've been here for 45 minutes ... I think once they start getting busier, it'll be harder to get Andy's (our bartender's) attention.
MT: Are there logistical problems? Do they have all 130 beers on tap?
Sarah: They have 130 taps. Sometimes they run out, but then they have this backup list. So there should always be 130 beers up there.
MT: Why did you create a Twitter account for this?
Alex: Well, I work in social media.
MT: Somehow we figured as much.
Alex: It was a social experiment. My personal Twitter, I don't have a lot of exciting things to talk about. So this is a cool thing. I've had some people say that's it's a cool idea, that they wanted to do it. It's kind of fun. I don't think anyone's ever actually done it. We came and talked to these guys a few weeks ago to clear it, and they were like, "OK."
Sarah: And HopCat, they just opened a few weeks ago, so it seemed like if anyone had done it yet, they wouldn't have done it here. It's about being a trailblazer. And just finding something to do on a Friday.
Alex: Andy, do you know if anyone at the other HopCat locations have done this before?
(Andy shakes his head no.)
Alex: There. It's a record. We should contact Guinness.
MT: We saw you tweeted at Metro Times. Have you contacted anyone else in the media?
Alex: I tweeted at Ellen. She didn't get back to me. I tweeted to see what her favorite beer was, to toast to her.
MT: We've got a feeling that Ellen doesn't drink beer.
Alex: I was reading an article to see if I could find her favorite beer today. She drinks a lot of wine, apparently.
MT: That sounds about right. Who's driving?
Alex: I live a few blocks over, so we could just walk here. No driving.
MT: Are you trying to get famous?
Alex: It's just for fun. We're not trying to get famous.
Sarah: We're trying to start a conversation. We're tweeting about our experiences with the beers at the brewing companies. Hopefully we'll recommend something and someone will see it and they'll want to try it.
Alex: We've been writing down what ones we like (on the menu), and giving them stars, and what they taste like. (One of the bar-backs) said he wanted to take a look at it, because a lot of the people who work here haven't even gotten to try all these beers.
Sarah: So they can use it as research to recommend things to customers.
MT: Are you going to give them the marked-up menu?
Alex: I was going to hang it on my wall.
MT: So what's your strategy?
Sarah: We're going through all the categories. We just did lagers, the wheats. We're starting the IPAs. We're not fans of IPAs.
Alex: We're fans of the darker stuff. But when you look at it, you start getting into the strong stuff. It might get a little tough.
MT: Your Twitter handle, "Three Thirsty Ladies" — is that a reference to the "three fancy 'ladies,'" Dan Gilbert's graffiti vandals?
Alex: No. I just thought it would be funny. Although I did have someone on Twitter say that they followed me because they thought it was a porn handle.
MT: Like "Three Girls, One Cup."
MT: How does it work?
Alex: It hooks up with Bluetooth.
MT: Holy shit. So have you gotten any Twitter feedback from beer brands yet?
Alex: Yeah Griffin Claw faved one. And New Belgium faved one as well.
Sarah: We actually got a few new followers in the past 20 minutes. We have 18 followers.
MT: Is 18 viral? We don't think it is. How many actual beers do you think you've had at this point?
Sarah: I guess like two and a half? It feels like more.
MT: When you're mixing different drinks, that makes it worse.
At this point we meet up with a friend at a nearby table. After some time we notice some sort of commotion back at the bar. On Twitter, the Three Thirsty Ladies tweet "Bartender Andy is losing faith in us. He thinks we need to 'pace.'" Jane Doe has left. We decide to check in.
Bartender Andy is losing faith in us. He thinks we need to "pace". #130on130— Three Thirsty Ladies (@130on130) January 31, 2015
MT: How's it going?
Alex: I'm going to take a break. I'll be right back. We made it through one side. We're onto the local 30.
MT: You lost Jane Doe, right? Is morale low? Nobody will judge you.
Alex: I'm coming back.
MT: Are you coming back tonight, or on another day?
Alex: I just need to re-energize, charge my phone, take a 30 minute nap, and I'll be back.
We think the mission is now doomed, but In the interest of journalism we asked a woman who was sitting next to the Three Thirsty Ladies for the scoop.
MT: We could sense a little bit of drama. You can only drink so many beers before there's drama.
Woman: It definitely seemed like one of the women was a little more intoxicated than the other two. The one who left was actually decent. You know how everybody handles their alcohol differently? Some people get really upset for no reason? Women might be a little big into doing that. But men do it too.
MT: We saw they tweeted that the bartender was telling them to slow down.
Woman: Essentially, the first girl left after they completed the non-standard beers and after she left, the other girl was like — her card was holding the tab open. She was trying to bow out gracefully to not upset the drunkest of the three, by being like, "Oh, I only had $50 to spend right now, and I don't want to spend all of it on beer right now." So the girl whose card was holding the tab open was like, "That's fine, you're not going to finish the last 30 with us, so here's what the tab looks like, if you're OK with that, feel free to go." So then the other girl got upset at her for encouraging her to leave. She was like, "Do you want to talk about what's going on? Are you OK? Do you want to not finish?" She finally gave in to that. I think she was so angry she just didn't want to be around people anymore. It was awkward.
MT: We don't think they're coming back.
Woman: Oh, they're not coming back. Personally, I think what Andy did was really smart. The beer list is all the rotating taps. So he had them start rotating and go back to the standard 30. So technically if they come back at any time in the next three or four months, those will all be available. They will actually complete their goal, just not tonight. They still drank over 100 beers in one sitting.
MT: We were going to leave, but we were like, "Shit, we should go back and talk to Andy."
Woman: You're not going to talk to Andy. He's too busy.
MT: Well, we're glad we talked to you.
Woman: "Anonymous blonde chick at the bar claims she saw the drama go down."
MT: So it's basically over and their experiment was a failure.
Woman: Hey, they tried 100 different beers. That's kind of a success.
MT: They only had 30 more to go.
Woman: Less than 30. It got really intense after the first girl left and the second girl was trying to comfort her. We've all been young and gotten drunk and said really stupid things to our friends. It was kind of irrational anger.
MT: There's no chance they're coming back.
Woman: She's going to hit her pillow and fall asleep in her jeans. Let's be realistic, she's asleep on the couch right now, and she will wake up there at 7 a.m. and be like,"'Oh god, I feel like shit."
MT: HopCat won this round.
Woman: Well, she did really commit to it. She even got the PBR on draft. And the non-alcoholic beers.
MT: They drank non-alcoholic beers?
Woman: They drank every beer on tap that wasn't rotating!
MT: OK, thanks for your help. Look out for a shitty story in Metro Times.
Incredibly, the story doesn't end here. Alex actually returned to HopCat later that night to log in more beers. She followed up with us via email.
Dear menu, You've been conquered. Bitch. -A pic.twitter.com/cG4R4e9Tcv— Three Thirsty Ladies (@130on130) February 1, 2015
MT: Fill us in on what happened between 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Alex: Friday at 10 p.m. (at the 100 mark) we decided to take a break and went back to my apartment to regroup. Sarah and Jane Doe decided to call it a night, because they had things to do early Saturday. So I met up with my sister and her boyfriend after the Boombox concert. We got back to HopCat around 1 a.m., and I was only able to make it through another 14 before they did last call.
So then all day (Saturday) it was eating at me that we didn't get to them all, and my friend Jackie happened to be at HopCat with a few friends. We met up, our waitress remembered me from the night before and was excited to be the one to help me finish the list. It took us a second to figure out the last few ones on the list, but we figured it out! 130 in the bag.
Then I realized that they had tapped out of seven of they beers I had tried the night before, and I decided I should really try those while I was at it, hence final tally 137. Walked home with a great sense of accomplishment, a side of macaroni from Slows To Go, and a little buzz.
MT: We heard things got tense after Jane Doe dropped off. And then you tweeted about Andy telling you to pace yourselves. What happened?
Alex: Yeah she was happy with the 100, and since she has already tried most of the local 30 she didn't feel the need to have them again. Sarah and I were in it for the long haul.
As far as the tweet, Andy got really busy once the bar got packed and I think we were drinking too fast for him to keep up with us. At one point we got a round from a different bartender, but he wasn't briefed on what we were there for so he served us very full samples. Those were rough.
Overall I think we are all happy with how everything played out. Jane Doe is proud of me for going back. Says I can now call myself an official beer connoisseur. Still deciding what to do with the menu we rated all the beers on. Maybe we should get it laminated and give to HopCat.
So there you have it — a tale of human triumph. The record to drink all 130 beers in one session still remains if any Detroiters are brave enough to attempt it.
*Updated 7:46 p.m.Tuesday, Feb. 3: We have changed the name of one of the women originally identified in this article per her request.