The Beauty of Beer: Why a pint can a party girl’s best friend

Kelly Ward

iStock_000006814506XSmallIn ancient Mesopotamia, female brew masters were among the most respected of citizens. Babylonians had priestesses brew their suds and reserved certain ales solely for spiritual ceremonies.

And yet, in 2008, only 8% of women reported regularly choosing beer as their cocktail of choice, even though beer makes up 46% of all alcohol sales in Canada. Why is it that beer has moved so far away from its feminine roots?

Sybil Taylor, head of communications for Steam Whistle Brewery, calls herself “a great advocate for the cause” of bringing women back to the tap.  “There are about 250 varieties of beer available in Canada” says Taylor, “If women were to educate themselves about beer, they’d be much more confident about buying it.” And that education starts with dispelling the myths that women have come to believe about beer.

Myth #1: Beer has more calories than a Big Mac.

There’s no escaping the fact that beer isn’t light on calories or carbohydrates. But to put these beer belly fears in perspective, one regular 12 ounce bottle of beer contains 13 grams of carbs and 150 calories. One vodka and cranberry: 18 grams of carbs, 172 calories. One daiquiri, made at home with a mix: 49 grams of carbs, 314 calories. With caloric content per ounce among the lowest of all alcoholic beverages, it’s not fair to blame all those big guts on poor old beer.

Myth #2: Beer is not as sophisticated as wine or spirits.

As Taylor points out, beer can be as nuianced and delicate as fine wine.  In the same way that a good grape harvest makes for better wine, a good barley harvest makes for better beer. “Hops are the spice of beer,” says Taylor, “and Canadian brewers are known world-wide as experimental brew masters.” But Canadian breweries aren’t the only ones leading the charge to put beer back on the pedestal of great taste. Fine dining restaurants, such as Toronto’s The Beer Bistro are building entire menus around beer pairings and beer-infused cooking. Pilsner maki roll, anyone?

Myth #3: A beer is a beer, is a beer.

Variety and depth of beer selection is often overlooked in restaurants. Taking a close look at many on-tap menus, you’ll find that most pubs have a sponsorship relationship with one particular brewing company. This can make for a boring set of suds, but the depth of beer possibilities is nearly endless. In addition to regular darker and lighter brews, exciting beer fusions such as ciders and fruit-infused beverages take beer out of the frat house and make it the perfect complement to a girls’ night out. KLB Raspberry Wheat, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, and Früli, a strawberry Belgian beer that goes down as quickly and tastily as any cosmopolitan, are great starting points.

With a price point lower than most wines and mixed drinks and lower alcohol content, it could also be argued that beer is the more responsible choice for a night on the town.

So, next time you head to the bar, think twice before ordering the old-standby, and give a pint a chance. You may just end up giving the frat boys a run for their money!

Image courtesy of  © Skip ODonnell/IstockPhoto

Comments

  1. Hi Kelly,

    It’s really interesting to hear that many of the stereotypes and myths that exist around beer are the same in Canada as they are in the UK. Over here in the UK, the beer industry has also ignored women to the extent that beer sales in the UK among women are among the lowest in Europe. I work for an initiative called BitterSweet Partnership, which has been set up by Molson Coors Brewers UK to address the same myths that you brought up in your article; from dispelling the myths about calorie content, to addressing stereotypical and sexist advertising.

    On the note that “A beer is a beer, is a beer,” we have been looking at different possibilities for enjoying beer and have developed a number of beer cocktails. You can check out some videos of the recipes on http://www.youtube.com/bittersweetpartner, and our website is http://www.bittersweetpartnership.com – we’d be interested to know what you think!