Gender Roles and Brewing

One of the first axioms learned in home brewing is Charlie Papazian’s Proverb:  “Relax.  Don’t worry.  Have a home brew.”  Two weeks ago I heard that refrain on the Brewing Patio at Black Bridge.  A Belgian Blonde was being brewed by two women, Rachel & Sharon.  They were both questioning temperature as the beer was being transferred to the fermentation vessels.  They were told to ‘not worry so much.’  Their response was, ‘we’re women.  We worry.’

The declaration made me wonder: do women, in fact, worry more than men?  What is the objective of their worry compared to men?  Are they concerned about their reputations?  Or are they concerned about the well being of those they serve? Or is it pointless to even make that a thing because, we are all, you know, people?  After all, let’s not forget it was a man who penned the above warning regarding worry.  Many men have read that warning and have had to remind themselves of it during a stressful brewday.

Before you continue reading, I feel I must warn you – there are no answers to the above questions.  At least, not from me.  Go forth, then, and have a full discussion of gender roles.

Traditionally women have been entrusted with domestic management.  They have always been concerned about how and known the way to take care of their family.  An important part of family life is centered around food and drink.  Beer – or wine, or mead, or alcohol of choice – has always been a part of human life; from ancient times women were usually bread makers and beer brewers. It was a home activity. Once it became a profession or an industry men arrogated it.  More women are becoming involved in the commercial brewing industry now.  Women may especially worry about their performance in this industry and others because they are working in what has now become a man’s environment and they feel they must prove themselves.  Whose fault is that?

The point?  Humans have brewed.  Humans are brewing.  Maybe we should just leave it at that.  Gender politics should not be a thing.  Therefore, I have mixed feelings on whether I should write this up the way I am. But here I am doing it.  Fine.  I’ll throw this in – one difference I noted in the Belgian brewday was the number of selfies happening.  I have no idea how that fits into the gender role discussion.

As noted above the beer being brewed was Belgian Blonde with additions of prickly pear.  That’s right, No Pricks Allowed has returned.  While the female brewers of the beer were different than last year there have been no other stylistic to the beer.  From what I recall, it was a beautiful beverage – outstanding clarity and bright purple color.  It had a light body and drank quickly and easily.  It’s Belgian-ness was not overpowering, nor was the prickly pear.

Here we are in the post-modern information age and still arguing over race and gender.  I’m simply going to argue that No Pricks Allowed was a good beer last time around.   And If I recall correctly, last year’s iteration of this beer encouraged Janelle to begin her own home brewing adventures.

Politics, gender or otherwise, may be a verboten subject at the brewery (yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s not true) but beer and brewing is always on the table so check for this Belgian Blonde in the coming week.  Raise a glass to the people in your life.


The Blond(e)

Thanks to OED I have a better grasp on the proper spelling of ‘blonde’ in context. On this blog, therefore, I shall restrict myself henceforth to the spelling “blond” for that is, evidently, the proper form when referring to an inanimate object.

Now I just need to fully grasp exactly what a blond ale is supposed to be. The joys of research are presaged.

The Brewer’s Barrel

It’s been thirteen months since I have brewed a beer.  It’s been approximately twenty-five months since I have brewed a successful beer.  Yeah, the last one just, sort of, kinda, well … exploded.  I had planned an awesome Winter of Brewing, beginning in October of 2012.  This did not occur.  Life conspires.  Time expires.

As with most home brewer’s, however, creating Art In A Glass is in my blood and eventually I shall return to it just as the Jedi returned to a galaxy far, far away.  And whence I do I’ll begin with old recipes that I have stored on my computer.  Once I need more I’ll be looking online.  Like I haven’t been doing that anyway.

Some brew recipe sites are difficult to navigate.  I like this one at the moment:  The Brewer’s Barrel.  It’s a clean site, nice fonts, good colors, easy to read.  Those are seriously important factors for me.  The site does not allow you to create your own recipes.  It is a compendium of recipes from home brewer’s around the country.  The home page lists popular recipes and newest recipes.  You can also choose to see all recipes.  They are grouped by style and indicate if they are All Grain or Extract recipes.  This site is a great starting place for a Brew Day.

While it doesn’t let you craft your own specialized recipe it does have a practical option that other similar sites seem to lack.  Once you’ve found the recipe you like you can click “Buy Ingredients.”  The Brewer’s Barrel is connected to a home brew supply company in Chicago called Brew Camp.  Once you click their link you can buy the exact ingredients in that recipe.  Now, it sends the order immediately to Brew Camp.  You’ll get an email confirming your order.  Make sure you’re ready to order when you click the link and enter your information.  The guys at Brew Camp will send you a confirmation email within a few hours and contact you for payment.

The homebrewing community is a social place and Brewer’s Barrel capitalizes on that.  Go on, check it out.  Add your own recipe.  I hope to get around to brewing it one of these days.

A Glass of Friday – Shiner Blonde by Spoetzel Brewery

Word is that the Spoetzl Brewery, maker of the Shiner line of beers, took some medals at this little beer fest we call the Great American Beer Festival.  Wish I could’ve been there.  That implies that I wasn’t there.  That implication is utterly veracious.

Upon reading that my favorite Texas brewery (for now, since I haven’t really had other Texas beers – what a horrible phrase to have written!  My very knuckles feel cursed after keyboarding such heresy!) won gold medals, I forthwith decided it was time for a series of Friday Glasses featuring the Shiner beers.

Since my last beer was a British blonde it seemed appropriate that this week I should try a Texan blonde.

In Appearance ..
It’s very fizzy, bubbly, champagne-ish.  The yellow is very bright.  The white collar is foamy and bouncy.  Bright and gorgeous and alluring it is.

That Smell …
Just like you’d expect a Texas blonde – a little earthy, slightly harsh.  It’s grain and hops, to be sure, in an odd conflation.  Honestly it’s not that appealing.  It smells like Boddington’s and other innocuous “pub” ales.  Maybe a tad stale?

But The Taste …
It’s light and watery (or ‘aqueous’ if you prefer the descriptor used upon a time by the snobs over at Craft Beer Radio).   Maybe there’s a bit of sugar in that body.  It’s a non-lagered pilsner without the hops.  It’s not bland, so to speak, but it isn’t overly exciting.  That’s, uh, disappointing.  No one wants a non-exciting blonde.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Creamy potato soup with ham.

The Conclusion of the Matter Is …
Meh.  I can’t stand that word, not sure why.  But, alas, it was so appropriate I used.  It looks pretty good, it’s a better beer than most mainstream artists – uh, beers, but there’s not a whole lot to it.  It’s a fun diversion.  Move along.

A Glass of Friday – Red Shield by Worthington’s

This is a British beer so it should be accepting of sarcasm. Being humorous, this Red Shield has a label featuring a … red shield.  The cap, however, was all white shield.  It states on the label that this ale “celebrates fresh flavours.”  (Notice the fancy British spelling).  Now, I like to celebrate special events and noteworthy things.  So, their label message seems off.

One other disturbing factoid: the back label distinctly says “brewed by MolsonCoors.”  (Some mouthy labels, I’d say.)  I shivered – the fingers on the chalkboard, tooth grinding, scratch a plate with a fork, stuck in an portable toilet with no TP kind of shivering.  Let us press on.

In Appearance …
In a stroke of marketing genius this self-proclaimed blond ale is blond. Yes, yellowy, like straw, like that bumbling guy from a movie that featured some wizard by the name of Oz.   It looked witty, without the hazy wit tincture.

That Smell …
Diddly Whompus.  That means nothing.  Wait, allow me to rewrite that sentence.  Ahem.  That means “nothing.”

But the Taste …
It was very nearly candyish. I am certain I tasted some caramel. There was also bubble gum and cotton candy, rushing me back in time to my younger days as I wandered through dusty local carnivals.  It was a fun, carefree time.  There was also the slight slickness of a liqueur.

Join Me For A Plate Of …
Well, my best friend said this would go well with barbecue or lobster.  It has a sweetness that would complement spicy barbecue.  I don’t know, he’s the genius.

The Conclusion Of The Matter Is …
This blond is youthful, light, playful and bouncy.  And it makes me want to be British.