Tomorrow I’m doing my first brew. The beer shall be a bitter. At this point in time, I should mention that all I really know about beer is that I enjoy drinking it.
It wasn’t always this way. The first time I had a sip of what my Dad was drinking, I spat it out. It was warm, watery, bitter and flat. It had a kind of sickly, poisoned taste. There was even a time, as a young teenage girl, when the idea of sitting down to drink beer actually horrified me. Beer is so full of carbs, and calories, I thought. It doesn’t even taste that good, I thought.
My low opinion of beer was only reinforced by my friends. They agreed that beer was for boys. We would stick to our vodka cruisers and our cocktails, thank you all the same.
After years of prejudice and beverage based gender stereotyping, I gave beer another chance. Years before I had been involved with a theatre group on Waiheke Island, and as a result I had become acquainted with Alan Knight. Anyone seriously interested in the beer industry can probably see where I’m going by this point.
“You simply must try this beer I’ve just brewed,” were the first words out of his mouth when I showed up at his house with some fellow cast-mates one day. “Beer?” I asked nervously, instantly becoming lost in rapid fire mental gymnastics as I tried to recalculate my caloric total for the day (I was forever on some diet).
“You’ll like this one,” he promised, pulling beer out of the hand pump and into a tall pint glass. It was a dark amber liquid with a lacey, cloud-like head. Alan passed the pint glass over the bar “It’s tasting magnificent.”
I took the glass hesitantly, and following the example of a tall, dark-haired young man, I took a gulp. Imagine my surprise when instead of the sad, stale taste I was expecting, my palette was greeted with oranges, summer sun and elderflowers. It must have showed on my face, I took another appreciative sip, and just like that, I loved beer.
Since then I learned that beer isn’t really about gender. Beer transcends borders. It unites us. Beers like Chick the beer just for women have entirely the wrong idea, because when it comes down to it, drinking beer isn’t about being a man, or being a woman. Drinking beer is about being the wonderful, gloriously flawed human creature that you are and having fun with life.
Beer is for everyone.