Thursday, August 16, 2012

Women Don't Like Craft Beer? Think Again!

Women are an untapped market in beer sales. That’s the title of the article posted in the Vancouver Metro and other Canadian newspapers this morning. If you haven’t seen it yet, read this ill-informed article based on the opinion of David Rinneard, national manager of agriculture for BMO. The title of the article is all I agree with, Mr. Rinneard.

And so I question you. Where did you get your facts that “women want low calorie, lighter-flavoured beer and beer-based beverages”? Did you speak with anyone at CAMRA? Did you speak with any of their female members?  How about a Google search for Women in Craft Beer? If you had searched, you would find women owning craft breweries, educational information for women wanting to learn more about craft beer, many blogs by women who write about craft beer (including myself), events focused on women and beer and so on. I encourage you to take a look. I’d also be curious to know what other facts you think you know about women. You know, there was a time when men thought giving their wife a vacuum cleaner for her birthday was a great gift. June Cleaver was probably the last woman who didn’t divorce him for it. Ah, but I digress.

I personally do not know a single woman who would drink a Coors Lite Iced Tea or Bud Lite product be it Lime, Mojito, or some other idiotic flavour. I do, however, know men who drink this swill. There are many women who enjoy craft beer (and I do NOT mean your reference to “Chick Beer”) and drink these amazing ales alongside men and women at restaurants, pubs, beer festivals, cask tastings, long table dinners, brewery tours and at home. I know, amazing, hey? I guess we put down our sparkling wine long enough to give them a try.

Perhaps with your position as the manager of agriculture, your “research” was more focused on the hops, barley and wheat quantities required to make beer and how beer producers could sell more (and just maybe, the article was also sponsored by some of the macro breweries in Canada). And by the way, craft beer sales are booming in Canada, USA and many other countries. Do you think this could possibly be because craft beer brewers DO have the female market buying their beers? I would encourage you to actually research the beer market and find out how many women enjoy craft beer. In my opinion, this doesn’t make us less feminine nor do I feel inclined to have a tasteless 97 calorie product, just because I’m a woman.

Shame on you, Mr. Rinneard. If you have a daughter, sister, wife, mother or any female friends, go apologize to them for stereotyping women as you have in this article. And shame on LuAnn LaSalle, the Business Technology Reporter for Canadian Press who didn’t investigate Mr. Rinneard’s opinion to see if there was any merit to support “what women want”.

Excuse me while I go grab a double IPA and ponder what it would taste like Mojito-ized. Eww. Shiver.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Only Thing I Want Frosted are Cakes

We’ve all seen restaurants and bars advertise for people to come in for a “cold, frosty beer”. Of course, they’re doing this when the weather is hot and beer drinkers are parched, but as we know, drinking beer that’s served in a chilled glass or kept too cold takes away from the flavour. Maybe it’s not important when you’re drinking crap like Bud, since it’s just colder cat pee, but if you actually want to taste all of the glorious flavours that beer has to offer, drink it in an un-chilled glass.

I often assume when ordering a beer at a restaurant that it will be served in the proper style of glass and in an un-chilled glass. Bzzzzz – wrong. I shouldn’t assume as most restaurants, except for the ones that specialize in good craft beer, don’t seem to stock more than a pint and sleeve glass. If that’s all they have, then there’s not much you can do regarding the style of glass but if you get a beer served in a chilled glass, request the next one in an un-chilled glass. Sometimes this gets the “oh-for-the-love-of-god” eye roll from the server, but too bad. I didn’t send the first one back, you beer-flavour-killer-enabler, so don’t get all pissy. A polite request for a non-chilled glass for the second beer, because we know you’re having more than one, corrects this beer faux pas. And actually, I’ve noticed that a few local establishments that used to serve them frosty cold have stopped doing this. Seems like I’m not the only beer geek requesting un-chilled or, someone has recently educated them in how to properly serve beer.

Some beers are much better when they warm up (i.e. stouts) but time will always take care of that if it comes too cold. If you haven’t experimented with this, you should. Take your favourite imperial stout, such as Old Rasputin, right out of the fridge and smell and taste it. Then wait for it to warm up a bit – you’ll know when it’s the optimum temperature when you can really start to smell all the malty, earthy aromas and smell/taste the other prominent flavours (coffee, espresso, chocolate, molasses). When it’s too cold, these flavours are masked and diminish the experience.

Of course, there’s no hope in educating the people at Coors and Kokanee who think the marketing gimmick of having a can of beer change colour as it gets colder is just the best thing since Richard Simmons got a perm. Maybe that goes back to the previous comment, perhaps cat pee is better frosty cold. I’m not going to do the research on that one.