I’d like to start this post off by saying that my fingers smell like plastic and I have no idea why. Whether this is a good omen for writing a quality post or not, I don’t know, but in the interests of full disclosure I thought I’d better put it out there.

The Session logo

Beer and women. That is the session topic for this month. Our host for the month, Nicth of tastingnitch.com, has left the topic pretty open. This is a huge subject and there are so many ways to go with it. Nitch suggests a few different avenues, none of which I feel are quite right for me (I’m definitely not doing a history spot. I’ll leave that to Ron Pattinson. I dropped history as soon as humanly possible at school).

I was flicking through this months copy of CAMRA’s Beer magazine for some inspiration as to where to go with this and came across an entire article about Sara Barton of Brewsters Brewing Company. I was surprised by how few times the piece makes reference to her gender. Apart from the title “FEMALE TRAILBLAZER” the article actually goes on to tell Sara’s story and how she became the fantastic brewer she is. And trust me she is a great brewer I have sampled some of her beers at different beer festivals over the years, I’ve never had one which was even mediocre. Oh! and the article does go on a bit about her involvement in the Project Venus, and how she was one of only three women amongst the hundreds of men when she was working for Courage, and the obvious mention of her winning the brewer of the year award (2012 – 2013) awarded by the British guild of beer writers (making her the first woman to do so). My point is that these all things which are pertinent to the article and they are mentioned because they are interesting things and are important within the story. Had this article been written even five years ago there would have been a tone to the story which reading between the lines read “Hey lads, look at this! There’s a person brewing beer thats not terrible, and he’s a she!” like the most important thing about this beer is the brewer has different genitals. Mind you, I would be interested to hear about a beer being brewed by this bloke…

If you don't get that joke.. watch this

If you don’t get that joke…
watch this

Another thing I’ve noticed is that less and less women who blog about beer, brew beer or are in some way involved in this little bubble of beer geekery that we find ourselves in seem to feel the need to make such a big deal about their gender.  In the past there was clearly a need to make the point that these people were women as well as beer geeks. Some of the twitter handles make my point: @TheBeerWench @beerbabe @bierebelle. @realalegirlShea @BeerBeauty. More women, such as our illustrious host, are just using their name, because there is nothing wrong with that.

Finally I’d just like to say in the six years that I have been going to beer festivals I have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of young women attending. Yes, it’s true. Not just CAMRA propaganda. The first beer festival I went to was Bedford Beer festival, many years before I started any blog, and the only girls that were there were clearly all being dragged along by partners and husbands and friends. Indeed, our group was no different, ladies present because they were basically told that “this is what we ARE doing tonight”. The most recent festival was also Bedford, this year, and I can report that was a marked improvement in the numbers of ladies. I have to be honest, there were still women those who had the look on there face which read “bloody hell, not this shit again. Every bloody year he drags me here”, but there were young groups where everyone was having a good time, and they weren’t all congregating around the one barrel of sweet cider either, they were actually trying the beer and enjoying it!

So there you go, three things about beer and women which I have noticed change in the past few years. I think together they sum up as being a girl is becoming less important and the beer they brew/blog about/drink is. Will this do Nitch?


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