'I find myself having to constantly justify the fact that I just frankly like a nice pint of ale'
A little while back, I attended a trade show where I had arranged a meeting with a PR from a major drinks company. He took me on a tour of their brands, where we sampled some new products and when we got to the beer stand, he suddenly stopped and looked at me a bit hesitant before he said: "But...do you...you might not...do you like beer?" I started laughing because I didn't quite understand what he meant, until I realised it was because, well, I'm not a bloke.
I've never quite managed to wrap my head around the fact that beer is meant to be a drink for the lads, especially because in my mother land (Norway) we all drink beer, because... well, everything else is so ridiculously over-priced that we're all forced to and end up eventually liking it as a result. I've grown up with all the women in my family drinking beer, and to be fair, the only relative who doesn't like beer (or wine...only vodka) is kind of considered a bit fuzzy.
But I find myself having to constantly justify the fact that I just frankly like a nice pint of ale, with girls who say "oh yeah, you know [insert name of girl they don't like], she drinks pints to pretend to be one of the guys", whilst I awkwardly sip my beer, and guys who say "well that's not very ladylike".
I even went for a drink after a recent 10K race and had two pints of IPA, to the disbelief of the girls I was with. "Are you actually, seriously drinking ale right now?" said one of the girls. I nodded and insisted they try some of my delicious beer and three out of four actually agreed it was "quite tasty" but having a pint of it would just never occur to them.
I love sparking this debate with my friends and, as with most food and drinks people 'don't like', the most commonly cited reason they give for not liking it is because they've never really had it or tried to find a type that they like.
And although I do love a good feminist statement, this really isn't it. To me, beer is something that you learn to like, in the same way that olives, wine or anything else that is slightly unusual to the taste buds takes a while to get used to.
It's not an exclusive boys club or for girls who are trying to join it. If there's anything I've learnt from the few encounters I've had with women's beer group Dea Latis, it's that beer has more female elements in it than any other beverage. According to beer sommelier Jane Peyton, women were the first primary brewers of beer anyway.
So why shouldn't we be left to drink it in peace?