Women in the Tap Hole

Women’s Hour today has a terrific show– not only do they talk to some fascinating knitters, but they also discuss women and beer.  Increasing numbers of women are drinking real ale, as well as brewing it.

Jenni Murray makes the point– which I’ve been trying to tell most of my wine drinking friends, that beer is less fattening than wine.  If they won’t listen to me, or to CAMRA’s press release, maybe they will listen to her.

The Yorkshire barman they quote says he never used to see “Women in the tap hole,” nor did he have to clean lipstick off a pint glass.  Those days are over.

Though the Landlady of the Grapes says she seldom sees women going alone into the pub– it seems despite more women drinking beer, many  pubs still feel like a male domain.  I often go to pubs alone but always feel a bit conspicuous doing it.  The Jolly Butcher is one exception to this– I feel perfectly comfortable there and that’s down to the friendly staff who now greet me as a regular.

Change is happening.  In the Observer:

More than half the students working on doctorates at Britain’s biggest beer studies department, at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, are women. At the three other main universities that offer a PhD in brewing, numbers of women either match men or are catching up fast.

I look forward to the increasing number of women in brewing, reclaiming the ancient tradition that once belonged to alewives, brewsters and goddesses.

Soon enough, women will work alongside men in equal numbers as equals, brewing in greater numbers.  We can hope that in turn the last hurdle preventing women from enjoying beer– puerile, macho marketing– will be a thing of the past.

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4 Responses

  1. I must try to listen to that show, sounds right up my alley. When I worked in the brewery the head brewer was a lady and there were many women working there. I wonder if more women brewers will bring about change from the inside, it’s probably harder to have sexist advertising when a lady is stirring the mash tun. Strangely enough that kind of advertising isn’t as common in Ireland. We don’t have enough craft breweries I suppose but the ones that are here just don’t go in for that stuff as much.
    I also wonder if women would brew differently tasting beer. I notice women have different taste to men in beer so maybe they would.

    • Laura, I thought the piece about knitting was even better than the beer one, actually. It was very moving to hear women who had knit all their lives.

      I wonder what the beer of the future will be like if more women are involved (genuinely– and not as hollow marketing fronts). I have heard that women’s palates are different but I’m not sure I believe it– my palate is quite manly then! Haha.

      I think a lot of that patronizing attitude towards women and beer is unique to Britain. You don’t really find that in the US either. Or Germany, from my experience.

  2. Grrr… pint glasses with lipstick on… it’s apparently impervious to normal cleaning practices.

    • I know what you mean– Whenever I get one with lipstick on it, it makes me worry about the cleaning practices in general. I somehow manage to wash it off my glasses at home with ease.

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