Friday, 9 February 2007

Beer O'Clock: A Valentine's Day introduction.

Advice this week for your forthcoming Valentine's Day date from Stu at Real Beer. Send all complaints to him. ;^)

Women don't like beer. I know that's a generalisation but there is a good reason why generalisations occur and persist, and that reason is this: They're generally true.

Anyway, true or not, in my skewed sample (i.e. the six women I know) the majority of women don't really like beer. If it's not too fizzy and bloating for them, then it's too bitter, or it's too big a serving, or it's going to make them fat, or it takes up too much room in the fridge, or the advertisements are degrading, or ...

Women are not the only ones to have turned their backs on beer, I know plenty of middle-aged men that became sick of brown soda pop and are now supping chardonnay or sauvignon blanc at the barbeque, and many, many metrosexuals who drink Heineken or Corona and who think they're drinking beer.

Poor fools.

I think it's time to reintegrate (or integrate) these women and men into the beer drinking domain. They need to be introduced to real beer. Beer with flavour and body and delight. This job must be undertaken by us, the beer advocates, and can't be left to the breweries. If it were left to the breweries they would introduce a sugary fizzy drink with berry, peach or citrus flavourings (oh, they already tried that - anyone remember DB's 'limited edition' "Hopper" range?), or a range of summer beers with lime and and spice in it (come in DB's Radlers et al), or they'd market a flavourless beer with a lime in it just so you could think you looked cool (you don't).

There’s so much exposure to this rubbish that people are scared of trying the micro-brewery’s beers.

Big breweries have shot themselves in the foot, time and time again, by persisting with bland products, marketing over substance, blatant sexism, and a type of male bravado that puts off many men as well as women. [That, by the way, is a Tui Girl at left, just so you have an example of the sort of outrageous goings-on the man is talking about - Ed.] By these goings-on, they've cut off a large chunk of their potential market (and a high-income market it is too) by focussing so much on the young and impressionable Neil Millers of this world. Give that man a DB or a Tui couch and he'll drink your product to the fizzy end. But ask a more refined type to partake, and you'll find s/he's left the building altogether.

All is not lost however. A new breed of breweries has emerged, producing distinctive, great quality beers of various colours and flavours. There’s also an excellent range of imports (beyond the pseudo-imports Stella and Heineken) beginning to join them on the shelves. And there are ways to get around the most ardently held excuses for enjoying good beer; here are some example:
"Beer is too fizzy." It doesn't need to be. Pour it into a glass to help release the carbonation (and also the beer's wonderful aromatics). A wine glass, or special beer glass, may add to the visual appeal.
"Beer is too bitter." If that's your problem, then maybepick a mildly hopped beer such as a strong Belgian ale, a wheat beer, a fruit or spiced beer, or a lambic.
"There's just too much volume!" Share a glass -- or share a bottle between two glasses, so nobody suffers from 'portion anxiety.'
"Beer makes you fat." The beer belly is a myth. It should actually be renamed more accurately the "chips, nuts, pies and kebabs belly" -- if it had a ring to it. A stubbie of beer is no more fattening than a glass of wine. It's the appetite the beer gives you that causes the belly. So watch that.
"Beer has degrading ads." Okay, this is true. But those sorts of beers are crap anyway, so don't bother with them. Drink something decent instead.
So there you have it. No reason not to enjoy a decent drop. This Valentines Day, why not introduce the women (or man) in your life to a decent beer. Even better, introduce her (or him) to a wide array of beers with a small sample of each. S ometimes it only takes a sip to arouse one's interest...

You could try any of these widely available beers to get a rise: Emerson's Weiss Bier, Belle-Vue Kriek, Duvel, Mac's Hop Rocker, Leffe Brune, Founder's Long Black or Greene King Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale. For those more inclined to a bitter drop then, being adventurous, try out a Cock & Bull Monk's Habit, Emerson's 1812, Tuatara Pilsner or either of Limburg's Hopsmacker or Czechmate. All of these can be found reviewed in the Beer and Elsewhere archives of this site.

And while you are contemplating what to try, sign the SOBA petition against the ridiculous banning of glasses at Blenheim’s Blues Brews and BBQ’s. Links to petition and background information here.

LINKS: Become a beer advocate with SOBA, the Society for Beer Advocates
More on women and beer
Real beer and real women
Real women.

RELATED: Beer & Elsewhere


  1. I like beer. I just can't drink it. It gives me bumpy itchy rashes. So after trying to drink it again last week, I'm back on the red wine.

  2. What did you try? Please don't tell me Corona... if so, you may be allergic to corn, or lime!

    I've never met anyone allergic to Greene King's Suffolk Strong. Proof that large public companies can still produce delicious products, if the have a true brewer in the mix (Colin Paige's Mac's Sassy Red and Tracy Banner's phenomenal Mac's Hop Harvest Pilsner are a couple of other examples).

  3. Lucyna: Maybe you're gluten intolerant? Might be worth a test.

    I guess I'm really lucky to have a hop head for a wife. Honestly, she thinks Mayhem "needs more hops". She loves a really funky lambic too. My only regret is that she's very indifferent to the subtlety of a good English bitter (my other true love).

    Great column Stu.


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