Women in the Tap Hole
August 13, 2010

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.