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May 10, 2010 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Beer sexism

This week I’m not going to talk about specific beers, because there’s something about beer culture that has been bugging me. I’ve noticed people using a phrase a lot recently: “girly beer”. It’s got me thinking. What makes a beer ‘girly’?

Beer is generally considered to be a man’s drink. Think about the last ten beer adverts you’ve seen. They’re all squarely directed at men, showing fantasies of beautiful women falling over some handsome man holding a particular brand of piss lager. And it seems people are buying into this sexist image—glancing around the bar as I write this, I see two out of ten patrons are female.

Maybe it’s biological. I’ve heard that male and female tastebuds are different, with females tasting bitterness far more than males. However, a quick Google search proves this to be untrue. The tastebuds just transmit information to your brain, then it’s up to the brain to decide how you taste it. Beer doesn’t care whether you call it ‘girly’ or ‘manly’, it tastes the same regardless. It’s up to each individual to decide whether they enjoy it or not.

So perhaps the male-centric culture surrounding beer is giving people negative preconceptions about it, making ladies think they don’t like beer? I think we’re just unaware of what beer is out there.

On my first taste of bland lager, I hated it. But, because I knew I was supposed to like it, I grinned and beared it. It wasn’t until I tried a well-crafted ale years later that I genuinely enjoyed a beer for its flavour. If I didn’t have that expectation then I probably wouldn’t have given any more beers a fair go. I’d probably be a wine writer.

So it’s in the beer industry’s best interest to stop marketing beer just to men. Beer marketed to females these days are generic low-carb, light or fruity beers—how patronising. After all, what is stopping a woman from appreciating the deep, complex flavours of a barley wine, or the robust taste of a stout? Nothing. And why can’t a guy enjoy a refreshing framboise or kreik after a hard day’s work and not be mocked for having ‘girly beer’?

The perception of beer might be one of the last remnants of the sexist society of days gone. We need to appreciate beer for what it is and ignore any stigma surrounding it. A woman can be prime minister. A man can be a stay-at-home dad. We can all enjoy good beer.

If you have any questions about this week’s beers or any comments, please contact me at


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Comments (6)

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  1. Stu says:

    Here here!

    I’ve done a fair bit of analysis on this subject and have found that women tend to love hoppy black ales…

  2. Christa says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post about sexism in beer culture. You’re totally right! We should all be able to enjoy beer no matter our gender. It’s silly and inefficient to only market beer to men; beer companies miss out on half a market and women don’t know what’s available.

  3. Annika says:

    I’ve always been a fan of dark, hoppy beers. The fruity and sweet drinks that women are “supposed” to like make me want to vomit. Thanks for commenting that we can like the dark, heavy beers without being “one of the boys”.

  4. SummerSpice says:

    Its that good you are focusing on the real evils of sexism!

  5. Sam Whitney says:

    Nice I liked the part about the stay at home dad! My girl loves the IIPA’s the more hoppy the better. Her favorite brew Hop Stoopid, Lagunitas 104 IBU’s.

  6. Pints says:

    I know a lot of women who like beer, but call me sexist because predominantly you will ALWAYS without fail see women at the bar, an event or at a party with a glass of white wine. But at one party I went to recently the guy was drinking the wine and his girlfriend was a beer connoisseur which was a nice change for once…

    What women see in white wine when there is beer on offer I can’t understand, wine is ok when there is nothing else (like at some events) but personally I prefer beer as wine dries your mouth out and gives a worse hangover…

    But 100% agree with the cliches of the advertising, they are usually very munterish blokes in the ads… Some more realistic adverts would be welcome change (even if not everyone in the ad isn’t drinking beer, as long as there is a variety of people of both sexes)…

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