Tuesday 11 August 2009

Old Dog, New Tricks

Well, that's a surprise, Tokyo*, the controversial 18.2% beer, is something of a revelation. My delivery arrived yesterday. I was quite excited. A chance to try this beer. I guessed I'd like it quite a lot1. I was not wrong. Described by others and Mark does a good job, so no point me repeating it here. But my significant other, Ann does not generally like beer. She pulls a horrible face when she tries nearly any beer. She tried Tokyo*, and she likes it2.

This all comes neatly on the tail of a discussion over on Impy Maltings blog about "blonde" beer names being marketed to men only and possibly being offensive to women who might like to try beer.

I'm really intrigued to know how much marketing, taste, upbringing and culture have an effect on the desire or otherwise for half the population to generally snub beer. I don't know the answers, but for now, I've found another beer to add to Ann's list; Kriek, Geueze and now Intergalactic Fantastic Oak Aged Stout.

Bugger, better order some more then.

Of course we drank it out of wine glasses and we shared the 330ml bottle between two of us. It is not an everyday beer, and probably best with a good blue cheese or a rich chocolate desert, or ideally, a desert that combines the two3. Treat it like a fine port wine, that's my advice.


1I seem to detect phenols in this beer, but it seems to work. I'm still getting my palate trained to recognise various "off" flavours. What is also intersting is that I'm finding that certain flavours that might be wrong in one beer work for me in anouther. Phenols in double stout is OK, phenols in IPA is wrong. Just my view of course.

2Look at that "watchit, anymore of this stuff and you'd better be up for it" kinda look. Perhaps sharing my beer has some advantages.

3A white chocolate, cream cheese and blue cheese fondant dark chocolate crunch base bomb. Known as a Blue Bore Bomb to us. Perhaps I'll have to post about that sometime. Extreme beer and extreme deserts, fantastic.


Mark Dredge said...

My girlfriend won't touch beer despite being surrounded by it constantly!! I even left her in the pub with Melissa Cole for 10 minutes to see if she could work her lady charms but it didn't work. At least it means I've always got a driver :)

I think image is a big thing plus the fact that pints are fairly masculine objects - use wine glasses and it changes into something more familiar.

And your extreme dessert sounds amazing - perfect for extreme beer!

Rob Sterowski said...

I think there are two main factors. Familiarity and peer pressure. Most of us want to drink what our mates are drinking. As long as not many women drink beer, not many will be interested in trying it. There's nothing inherently masculine about the taste of beer. Loads of men don't like the taste of Stella much but drink it anyway because it's "what blokes drink".

Also, beer, especially bitter beer, is an acquired taste and women are less likely than men to have gone through the process of acquiring it. Did you enjoy your first pint? I didn't.

I think the glassware issue is a red herring. You see plenty of women supping pints of Magners.

Unknown said...


Yeh, most of the time Ann drives. It's great. She really doesn't drink much of anything, I suspect she has a camel as a distant relative.


No, I didn't enjoy my first pint - it's a good point you make.

I'm not convinced that the glassware is a complete red herring. There is an increasing number of women who reject the need to avoid pints due to it ruining their femininity, and this is good. Lets hope it becomes more the norm.

However, there are still women who would like to retain a glamorous look and this is perceived to be spoilt by regular British beer glassware. This seems to be more prevalent with people in my age group.

Whorst said...

I have no problem drinking from a brandy snifter, or regular wine glass for high octane beers. It's the pretension that comes with pouring everything into that over-sized wine glass. My nose is quite alright. I have to problem smelling the lush aromatics of various brews in a pint glass.

Cooking Lager said...

Pint for the fella. White wine/fruit based drink for the lady. Rules is rules. Thank you Al Murray.

I think the glasswear is relevant. A pint is considered calorific, halves are more appealing to the lasses, but half glasses are by and large naff.

Stemmed half glasses would make half a beer a attractive drink.

When you see lasses having a beer, it's often a bud or small bottle. As much the look, than anything. Better glasswear makes the halfs more appealing.

Rob said...

My wife to be wouldnt touch beer before we were together a few years, now shes into stouts, golden ales, some IPA's and various fruit beers. Most women that say they dont like beer actually will like right beer for them, they just dont know it. Melissa Cole is a legend of education in this field.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Dave. I think Barm has a point. In the US my friends were brewers and I drank what they were drinking.

I think this archaic idea of beer not being feminine might beincreasingly outmoded-- English "roses" only drink white wine? But I've seen it with my own eyes! It makes no sense.

On the West Coast of the US, many women are involved in drinking and brewing, I'm convinced a lot of this has to do with successful marketing and an idea that good, "indie" beer is new and hip-- there's more room for women to get involved.

It sounds like Ann and I share similar tastes which means I need to get some Tokyo!

Rob Sterowski said...

I should add that I have nothing against nice glassware, I just don't think it's the decisive factor as some other people seem to. Neither do tackily screen-printed glasses covered with lurid logos pass as nice glassware in my book. Let's have nice, plain, well-designed, stemmed thirds and two-thirds.

Tandleman said...

Plenty women drink beer and there isn't a fancy philosophy behind it for most. They just like it I'd say.Glassware is important though and not just for women. I have campaigned on my blog to retire the tired scratched old nonic for example.

I do find too much of this "poor little lady she doesn't understand beer" stuff insulting and misogynist. I think Impy has the right of it here.

I'm trying to persuade my lass (a beer drinker) to write a piece on the subject. She's thinking about it.

Whorst said...

"tired scratched old nonic"
Buy or ask for a new one! Famed British beer writer, Michael Jackson was a big advocate of the pint glass. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me. Shit, the way this is going, everyone will be be wearing a 3 ounce wine glass around their neck. Real People, Real Beer, Real Stemware! There ya go, APRK's first campaign!

Rob Sterowski said...

I've said before that the tired, scratched old nonic is a classic drinking vessel. It's like a leather jacket that develops character as it gets older and worn. That doesn't mean it's suitable for every single occasion.

What pint glass is better than a nonic? Surely not the hideous Shaker-style pint glasses that are displacing them? They're an abomination; they have no curves, no form, no style. And the less said about the awful stemmed Stella pint glass the better.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm sure it's cultural reasons that put women off beer in the UK. My wife's German and thinks drinking beer is a totally normal thing for women to do.

John West said...

Barm said: 'And the less said about the awful stemmed Stella pint glass the better.'

I will say more, in agreement - no point in a stemmed glass if you can't hold it by the bloody stem. Stubby little bugger.

I'm with Tandleman - better glassware per se would be terrific. I was in a Kerala restaurant (Rice Boat, Cambridge) the other day that has a solid range of bottled Thornbridge and Meantime beers - they had proper, quite tall, big volume stemmed glasses. Very elegant and perfectly formed. Nice work.

Erlangernick said...

But Ron, does your Frau drink a proper Maß (litre), or some smaller Thuringian quantity?

Ron Pattinson said...

Erlangernick, half litre or pint. They don't do litres in Thüringen.

Melissa Cole said...

@Mark - if you ever want your driver to have a day off I'll make a more concerted effort! I wasn't aware I was supposed to be crusading, my apologies (may have been a little 'tired & emotional' at the time too!)

@Rob - very kind thank you very much, I never thought I'd be a living leg-end!

Just written a post about this as someone else is showing some scepticism about the role of good-looking glassware and I've had some thoughts (doesn't happen often, need to get them down on 'paper' when it does!).

Unknown said...

Melissa's post just for completeness.