Friday, November 1, 2013

The Session #81 - Scary Beer Feminists or a Healthy Growing Demographic?!

It's the First Friday of  a new month and that means it's time for The Session. This month's session is hosted by Tasting Nitch. The topic is women in beer and we can cover pretty much anything we want as long as it ties women and beer together in some way. 

Personally, I don't know much about women in beer. Whether it be female brewers, beer bloggers, journalists, etc. I can only think of a handful women that find beer interesting. Why that is, I don't know and I'm too lazy to try and come up with a reason. I'll leave that up to the more determined of you out there. However, I do know one woman who enjoys craft beer quite a bit and I call her Beelzebub, Fiance, and Deana.

When I met Deana 3 years ago she didn't have much interest in craft beer. If she ordered a beer, she asked for Miller Lite and never thought twice about it. About the same time we met I figured out that if I followed along with the events going on at Beer Advocate I could hop around the city going from bar to bar collecting free pint glasses at all the different promotions. While I was building my massive pint glass collection, I started trying to convince Deana to order craft beer. At first I would recommend IPA's because that's what I liked and I figured she would  as well. Wrong! I remember her face the first time she tried Dale's Pale Ale and it was pretty hilarious. Luckily, she didn't give up on the idea of craft beer right then and there and allowed me to help her find beers that made her happy. Next I thought I'd try a hefe out on her and while she found it more appealing than an IPA Handel's Messiah didn't exactly start playing in the background. But she kept playing the role of craft beer guinea pig until finally she found her nitch with chocolate roasty stouts, pumpkin beers, and things like Wells Banana Bread.

And that's all I needed. I knew once she got started her palate would evolve and soon enough she was open to trying almost anything. She still hasn't grown fond of American IPA's but the fact that she genuinely likes Yards English IPA is a huge thing for me. I feel like we have common ground when we're looking at a beer menu now and she isn't focusing on only beers in her safe zone. She has the craft beer drinkers curiosity and that's awesome.

Deana's also a big help when it comes to home brewing. I've been brewing beer at home for a little over a year now and she has probably picked out 80% of the recipes. They've run the gamut from Cream Ale to Winter Warmer to Cider to Dunkelweizen.  I love that she has an opinion about what would be good and can give me feedback on the finished product. And I really couldn't brew without her help. She helps me keep an eye out for boil overs, stirs while I'm pouring, and helps me get through the god awful process that is bottling beer.

One of my favorite parts of our shared hobby is borrowing her exceptional palate. Any time I'm tasting a beer for the first time and can't put my thumb on a specific flavor I'm experiencing I hand her my beer and say "what do I taste". And usually she nails it right away. My beer reviews would consist of a lot less detail if I didn't have her around to help me nail down the specifics from time to time.

Really, if it weren't for the woman in my life my relationship with craft beer would be totally different. I wouldn't have my brew buddy on brew days, someone to help me discern flavors, a friend at beer events, or someone to listen to me ramble on about nothing at a bar when the 8.5% ABV has caught up with me. So, what do I feel about the role of women in beer? Beats me, but I know if I didn't have my woman around beer would be a lot less fun for me.

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