homebrew

A beer just for the ladies?

Last weekend I brewed a beer with my wife in mind.
She tends to like most of the beers I brew anyway – even to the extent of saying she prefers them to some of the professionally brewed craft beer of mine she drinks (and, generally speaking, I don’t drink crap craft beer).
While I think I’m far too inexperienced at this brewing caper to believe that my beer is better than those who do it for money, I do appreciate her saying so.
Even though she likes most of my beers (she gives the dark ones a miss) I figured I’d make one for her. I used Stone and Wood’s Pacific Ale as an inspiration – something fruity and which works for summer drinking. I did something like this earlier, just with steeping the hops, and she liked it.

Could you tell by the beer’s name and the packaging that this is a beer for women? Of course you could.

This time around I’m moving to boiling the hops, so I expect it to taste better. I’ve tagged it Summer Girl, because it’s made for my girl and it’ll be drunk in summer time.
Even though it is for my wife, I wasn’t so condescending as to think ‘‘she’s a woman. What sort of beer would a woman like?’’. Because I already know what women like – or at least this woman – a beer that tastes good.
The idea of thinking that women need to have a beer made especially for them is a concept I find demeaning and stupid. It’s a thought that resurfaced this week after reading this articleabout a beer called Chick.
Everything about this beer is wrong – from the patronising name, the girly writing on the bottle, the use of hot pink on the label, the six-pack case being shaped like a purse to the the low-calorie approach. It’s actually surprising that it’s a business run by women – you’d have expected men to come up with something this patronising.
The Chick Beer website says its a beer that is aimed at ‘‘women who love life and embrace all of the possibilities that it has to offer’’. Really? If they ‘‘embrace all the possibilities’’ that life has to offer, why don’t they just embrace one of the thousands upon thousands of beers already available?
The same site also says that ‘‘What we think is sexist is that the beer industry has totally ignored the female beer drinking market, which drinks 25 per cent of all the beer consumed in the United States – over 700 million cases every year!’’. Well, if they’re drinking one-quarter of all the beer consumed in the US, then I’d say that’s a sign that females ARE being catered to. And if they’re already happily drinking that much, what the point of creating a new beer, just for them?
In Australia we’ve had similar attempts to make a beer for women. Hummingbird Blonde Lager springs to mind – a pale lager infused with passionfruit. Because, you know, women only drink sweet things. And Shady Lady, a rose-infused lager that comes in what looks like a perfume bottle.

Shady Lady – a rose-infused beer that comes in what looks like a perfume bottle. Again, it screams “I’m a beer for women”.

According to the Shady Lady website, owner Lili Chel ‘‘women had never had a beer designed and targeted exactly to their tastes and desires.’’ Because, you know, all women want a sweet drink that comes in a girly bottle. Because, you know, all women are exactly the frigging same.
Really, it’s not hard to make a beer for women. I’m just a guy making beer under his stairs at home and I’ve figured it out. And if a homebrew knucklehead like me has figured it out, then the breweries with their marketing whizkids don’t really have any excuse for not working it out for themselves.
Here’s the big secret – forget about the demeaning idea that women require a certain type of beer made just for them. Forget about insulting their intelligence by putting it in girly packaging.
Just make good, tasty beer. It’s as bloody simple as that. That’s all I’ve been doing and my wife – who is not a big beer drinker by any stretch – is proof that it works.

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