Top 5 Things Women Need To Know About Beer

Guys and beer go hand in hand like sand and surf. Chicks drink wine or some fruity mixed drink, right? That stereotype, deserved or not, seems to be changing as more and more women are learning to love a fine craft beer. Evidence? The growing percentage of women we see at beer bars and festivals. So we decided we would consult with Ting Su, one of the leading ladies of the burgeoning Los Angeles beer scene. Su even has a doctorate degree in beer. Well, she has a doctorate degree in physical therapy (her day job), and co-owns Eagle Rock Brewery in Glassell Park with her hubbie, Jeremy Raub, and her father-in-law, Steve Raub, two dudes who brew some really great beer.

Su, herself an ardent fan of the froth, said it became a personal challenge to her when women would come into the brewery tasting room, step up to the counter to order, and say, "I'm not a beer drinker, what should I try?" Su decided to start a women's beer forum that she conducts at the brewery on the third Wednesday of every month. The first four have averaged about 70 women per month who have come to learn more about beer and their own palates. Su tells us, "You have to realize that the notion that women don't like beer comes from the fact their experience with beer has usually been the tasteless macrobeers like [choose your boring beer], or some sweet, syrupy beer that some guy recommended because that's the preconception of what they will like."

5. Learn to recognize what you like. Do you something a bit more bitter, or something sweeter? Something aromatic? Roasty? Hoppy? Or something malty?

4. Try everything at least once. Explore as many beer styles as possible to decide what you like and what you don't like. And try them with an open mind -- not a preconceived notion that you will or won't like it because, let's say, it's hoppy.

3. Don't judge a beer by its glass. Again, there are preconceptions of what a beer will taste like based on whether it is served in a tulip or a snifter versus a pint. A Belgian and a double India Pale Ale (IPA) may both be served in a tulip but they are extremely different beers, so don't assume the glass means anything.

2. Knowledge of beer is the easiest way to impress a dude. Su points out to women that "knowing your beer is strong social currency to have your back pocket." Guys don't expect women to know their [stuff] when it comes to beer and, quite honestly, it's a bit of a turn on when they do.

1. Good craft beer is [freaking] delicious! We recently wrote Brian Hunt at Moonlight Brewing to commend him on his ridiculously tasty Reality Czeck pilsner and pointed out, "We never considered ourselves pilsner drinkers." Hunt responded, "So it wasn't that you weren't pilsner drinkers. It's that you are good pilsner drinkers."

"Granted, beer culture is still very much male dominated so it can be intimidating to women who are uninitiated to craft beer," says Su. "But in actuality women are more keen than the men to pick up the nuances in flavors and can learn to enjoy a nice beer as much or more than the dude sitting next to them."

Thanks to Daniel Drennon of LA Weekly Blogs for the insight.


The fine line...

thebeerwench's picture

Naturally, discussing women and beer is a very sensitive subject for me -- which is why I'm quite certain that I was pointed towards this article.

Although women do make up a small percentage of the craft beer market, I don't think that we should really be focusing on them as a separate target audience.

I think that your recommendations above can easily be applied to EVERYPNE who doesn't drink craft beer, not just women. After all, only 5% of beer consumers chose craft beer -- a pathetic number. Instead of figuring out how to get more women to drink beer, I think we need to just inspire everyone as a whole.

Only thing I will say is that #2 on the list is silly. I've never tried to impress a dude with my knowledge of beer. Do I impress men? Yeah, but I also impress my mom. Soooooooo...

All in all, great post.


The Wench

Sex does not define who needs to learn about Craft Beer

AngelaArp's picture

I have to wholeheartedly agree with the Wench on this one!

Non-Craft drinkers have one thing in common, & it isn't their sex, it is that they've not had their lives enlightened to the beauty that is Craft Beer ... yet.

I believe that targeting women as an entirely different market, and insinuating that they need 'extra' education in order to learn to like Craft Beer is sexist and demeaning (although I don't think the guys that are trying this approach mean it that way at all)

I agree with the authors notion that women don't drink B.M.C. beers because they lack flavor, but I believe that once they realize beer CAN be flavorful, they are easily converted. It would seem to me that it could be more difficult to convince a B.M.C. man to convert to craft, as they are not used to such flavors in their beverages - but this is completely anecdotal on my part.

IMHO, the BEST approach to educating people of both sexes, about craft beer, is for Craft Beer to become common place, in the most common of places! If Craft Beer were more plentiful in non-tap house bars & venues, those B.M.C. folk might be more apt to give it a try. **Seems odd to me that so many major venues have little or no craft beer presence. i.e. Major League ball parks, larger concert halls, chain restaurants etc.

Regarding #2... I also have to say that being a woman knowledgeable about Craft Beer, talking to a guy that drinks a B.M.C. beer can be Über frustrating!
[I could make some stereotypical assumptions here about dumb jocks and their Mic-Ultra here, but I will refrain ;-]

Prosit ~ Angela