The Dead Liver Society #6 – How to Get Your Girlfriend Into Craft Beer
Welcome to another addition of the Dead Liver Society, JAY here with a topic near and dear to me. A lot of people have thrown around the ‘beer snob’ label in my direction, and to be honest I don’t quite get that. A ‘snob’ has one major difference with me: they don’t want to let people in on the fun. They want it to themselves because ‘being in the know’ is more important than what they actually like. Me, on the other hand, I want everyone in on the fun. I like playing the role of introducing people to the world of craft beer, and today’s post is about how to introduce craft beer to the hardest of subjects: women. Now, this may seem impossible to some, but if you follow these guidelines you’ll be seeing your ladyfriend trying new beers in no time.
First, two ground rules. Obviously these can be broken at anytime should the girl in question develop a taste for beer that is beyond what even I could imagine, but for the most part these rules are solid as it pertains to females.
1. Do not start them out with IPAs. The harsh bitterness of the hops, no matter how well balanced with the malt you may think it is, tastes even more bitter to women. Or it doesn’t, and men just have more of an appreciation for bitterness. Either way, men and women experience bitterness in different ways. This presents a problem with IPAs as women have mostly been conditioned to think ‘alcohol=fruity beverages with maybe a slight alcohol flavor or watered down light beer’. Whether it be a light beer or a vodka cranberry, the main go to drinks for many women do not come with the bitterness of an IPA and therefore they have been conditioned to expect a completely different flavor experience when they drink alcohol. Sad to say, but your Stone Ruination is not the way to go when starting your significant other out in the world of craft beer.
2. Similarly, do not attempt this conversion with stouts. Some stouts can be tried, such as a good cream, coffee, or maybe even a chocolate stout. The familiar flavors could help women like it more than they thought they would. However, the standard stout for most people, Guinness, is not the crowd pleaser its commercials would lead you to believe. The flavor, to me at least, is too harsh and yet the mouthfeel is too watery making for a very odd drinking experience. Stouts on the whole usually contain too much flavor from the roasted malt, causing the beer to have a flavor profile that is, again, too out of the ordinary for most women new to beer.
So, now that we got that out of the way, we can actually discuss how to introduce women to the wide world of beer in a way that will not scare them away. As you can tell from my ground rules, figuring out how to find beers that contain flavors similar to what women would expect from a beverage is key. Naturally, fruit flavors should be the first thing to pop into your head. Many different beer varieties try to use fruit flavors in their beer, and some are more successful than others. It is not always a sure bet that a beer with fruit flavors in it will be easy to drink for most women, or even men for that matter. Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat is a tremendous failure, as the cherry flavor is too cough medicine-like and overpowers what seems to be a well made beer underneath. Lambics, especially Lindeman’s offerings, are big hits with women. Lambics are beers made with spontaneous yeasts that produces a dry and very sour flavor profile. While these beers are very sour, lambics are also usually overloaded with fruits of all varieties to produce flavors that women seem to enjoy in moderation. They are not beers that women, nor men for that matter, will drink heavily. But for one glass worth’s they are not bad choices.
Magic Hat #9 is a success in bridging fruit flavor (apricots, in this case) with a well made beer. I like using this beer because while the fruit flavor is prominent (beware, Magic Hat #9 varies quite a bit from batch to batch), the flavor of hops comes through as well though not enough to scare off most women. It is a great ‘gateway’ beer, however, the beer that tops all others in being a ‘gateway’ beer is……..
“Blasphemy!”, you say, “No self respecting beer geek would write about the virtues of a beer made by COORS!“. Well. Here I am doing it. Just try and stop me. The mass market witbier has citrus notes that make it easy for women to try the brew, and the hints of coriander serve as a nice stepping stone into the world of spiced beers. Witbiers, or Belgian wheat beers, are flavorful beers with nice citrus flavors, minimal hop bitterness, spice notes that usually do not overpower the beer, and wheat beers are refreshingly easy to drink. Blue Moon, with it’s marketing campaigns and familiar flavors has already captured a strong female following, and with this men can use it as a gateway for their counterparts to get into more complex beers.
Similar beers to Blue Moon are all over the place if you look for them, and many of them are of higher quality than Blue Moon. Ommegang Witte is a solid choice to try with its spice component being much more subdued that most other Belgian whites and its orange component taking more of a front seat. It is well made and easy to drink, and since it only comes in wine sized bottles it also makes a nice dinner beer to split with your loved one.Allagash White is another strong choice, though I should caution you as the spice flavor comes out strongly in this beer. It is still high quality and deserves a try. St. Bernadusalso has a witbier of their own, and it is excellent. It is well balanced between the citrus and spice flavors, and it comes in four packs so if it’s a failure with your ladyfriend you still can keep some in the fridge for yourself! Awesome.
If you know a girl is into wine, you could also try Dogfish Head’s Red & White, which is a fusion of a witbier and wine components. It is very good and in my eyes can easily be used at a fine dinner instead of wine. After you experiment with these beers, you can try having your significant other branch out more into the world of beer. Maybe she will develop a love as deep as yours. The search for new beers has been quite the bonding experience for me and my fiancée, and if she can get into craft beer and even have her birthday party at a bar famous for its wide beer selection, than I believe any girl can.
Thanks for reading, and remember to always look for new brews! But this time with your trusty ladyfriend beside you!
Don’t be an asshole. Don’t drink and drive!