Beer for the Soberer Sex

by Cecil

on tap 2

Women are beginning to notice that beer can taste good, look good and be good for you. The average 12 oz beer contains about 130 calories, whereas even a modest mixed drink like an 8 oz margarita can easily have twice that amount.The gut reaction to beer for many women is to imagine something bitter, unpleasant and full of belch-inducing carbonation. The stronger flavors associated with beer, like the bitterness of hops or the burnt flavors of roasted barley don’t seem to please the palates of most novice beer drinkers, but there are a whole slew of entry-level beers with subtle flavors that almost any palate can get behind.

Wheat beers of almost all varieties are a good recommendation for an easily offended palate. Specifically, beers like Hoegaarden, which is a Belgian witbier (wit-beer), and any hefeweizen (heffa-vicen) have almost no off-putting flavors. These beers, specifically hefeweizens usually have fruity flavors most often associated with banana, orange, clove, bubblegum and sometimes licorice. You’ll notice the hefeweizen glass as looking like a very tall tulip-topped pint glass. The enlarged top of the glass shows off the hefeweizen’s rich, white head and allows the drinker to enjoy all of those fruity aromas every time they take a sip. Frequently, bartenders will ask if you would like a wedge of lemon or orange in your wheat beer, but the wax from the rind can spoil the head. The etiquette is not exactly cut and dry with regard to getting fruit in your wheat beer, but it’s best to err on the side of avoiding it.

Speaking of fruit in beer, it’s a tradition that is almost as old as beer itself. Fruit beers are very popular with women, as they mimic higher calorie and alcohol mixed-drinks in flavor, have the effervescence of champagne, and they are often served in champagne flutes. The brewery Lindemans offers a line of beers known as fruit lambics. Lambics are a style of beer fermented with wild yeast strains, which creates a slightly sour-acidic flavor. To balance out the tartness, the brewers use a large amount of sweet fruit, such as raspberries, apples, peaches, and cherries. Lindemans offers all four varieties of lambic beer. Fruit lambics don’t tend to be very complex, but at least you’re drinking beer and not some over-priced calorie-bomb.

Belgian beers of all types seem to lean towards beginner-friendly territory. It’s true that Belgium has a ridiculous multitude of beer variety, so you would think it would be hazardous to paint them all with the same brush, but a surprisingly large majority of Belgian beers are surprisingly accessible. Everything from the simplest Belgian golden ale, to Belgian quadruple abbey beers are all very palatable. It’s noteworthy to mention one American representation of a Belgian style: Victory Brewing Company’s Golden Monkey. It’s a tripel abbey style beer, with lots of flavor and lots alcohol. There’s a saying in Victory country: “everyone has a monkey story”, and they’re not kidding. Many Belgian beers have the ability to mask the alcohol content with spicy, fruity aromas and flavors. It’s important to ascertain how much alcohol is in any beverage, but the rule is especially important with regard to Belgian beer. Abbey beers in particular were brewed by monks to sustain them during fasting periods, so they tend to be rather drinkable, but also high in alcohol.

Any new beer drinker shouldn’t be afraid to try even the most flavorful types of beer. Most bartenders are happy to give you a small sample taste. They would rather sell you something that you will like than watch you choke down a beer and walk out of the bar. Not to mention the fact that it’s way easier to pour a glass of beer than it is to make a mixed drink. Don’t be afraid to ask. Trying new beers can be exciting, but it shouldn’t have to be unpleasant

*picture source robholland