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.


A Contribution for Session 59: I Almost Always Drink Beer, But When I Don’t …

I drink brewed things.

Brew -To make (a beverage) by boiling, steeping, or mixing various ingredients: brew tea.

My primary drink (yes, I even drink this more than beer) is tea – iced tea. Like any good Texan, I love iced tea year round with any and every meal. Like any good southerner, I like my tea with sugar. There is no other tea besides sweet tea. And in my house we drink gallons and gallons of it each week.

This is the way we make it.

Four bags of black tea (whatever brand you like, we’ve been using Smith’s or Krogers or whatever)
One gallon of boiling water
One or two cups of sugar

Pour the sugar in a one gallon pitcher. Pour in the hot water and steep the tea bags for a while (this is an arbitrary amount of time based on your preferences; my kids have an internal clock for this so I have impressed them into tea making service). Add it to a couple of gallons of cold water and that’s it.

See, just like home brewing, only less ingredients and less time involved.  I used to make it with four cups of sugar to one gallon. It was fabulously sweet. My mom still makes it that way.

In the mornings coffee is consumed.  It is also a brewed beverage.

From time to time we will drink some wine. My wife likes sweeter wines, so we’ll drink Pinot noir, Rieslings, Zinfandel. We like the Yellow Tail brand. I also like Jack Daniels and Seagram’s 7 whiskey’s.

Those are the staple drinks. Yes, I suppose there’s always water but, come on, it’s a constituent ingredient in all the other drinks so I’m covered.


Sometimes You Just Gotta Go Home

I was born in Texas.  I like Shiner Bock.  And other Shiner beers.  Because they were brewed in Texas.  I’m sure I’ll be mocked for this but I shall make this point stand out clearly:  I’d drink Coors if it had been brewed in Texas.  I thank all that is holy and pure and good in the universe that Coors was not brewed in Texas.  They were obviously too intelligent to make such a product.  The point is … well, I just like stuff from Texas, right.

Let’s go on.

Shiner Bock looks a lot like that Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot that I just drank. 

It looks like iced tea as it pours (which is brilliant because, really, Texas is home to the best sweet tea in all the planet).  The head did not last nearly as long.  Not hardly at all, in truth.  But, there are no hops evident in the aroma.  I am so happy!  I could smell raw grains, but no hops.  There didn’t see to be much else evident in the aroma.

I was surprised to learn that Shiner is a bit low in the abv category.  It’s only 4.4% according to their website.  I ain’t complaining, mind you, I’m just saying that most bocks are in the 5-6% range.  It’s not quite as malty and heavy as other bocks I’ve had.  So, if I go looking for a bock, well, this one isn’t necessarily first on my list.  But, if I want a good beer that complements fried chicken just right, it’ll be Shiner.

Now playing: Steven Schoenberg – Day and Night
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Now playing: Savatage – Somewhere in Time/Alone You Breathe [*]
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