I used to hate beer. Well, at least I thought I did six years ago before my journey from beer-loather to beer-lover began. Naively, I used to associate beer as something groups of “lads” would drink at festivals – crate after crate of Carling, Fosters and the rest. I believed that all beer tasted the same and that none of it was meant for me.
My journey with beer really began in the summer of 2012 during two city breaks I took with my boyfriend. I was studying in Sheffield at the time and he was down in London, so we decided to take the opportunity to spend some time together.
Our first trip that summer was to Budapest, where we frequented many of the city’s unique ruin pubs. It was in one of these pubs when I went to order my usual white wine and was amazed to be charged more than 1,700 Hungarian Forints (around £5) when my boyfriends pint of beer had cost a mere 140 Forints (40p). As a student at the time, I was envious of how much cheaper it was to drink beer in Hungary, so after some persuasion I decided to give it a try. This reluctance to order a beer seems bizarre to me now, but at the time it felt like a huge deal.
I ordered half a Staropramen and to my surprise, loved it. It wasn’t anything like what I’d come to imagine beer to be. From there I had a Soproni, a Borsodi, a Dreher – as many beers as Hungary could offer. My eyes were opened.
Our next trip that summer was to Berlin – one of my favourite cities. Having so recently discovered the wonderful range of beer on offer, I was excited to sample more in a country renowned for its beer.
Many pilsners and hefeweizens were sampled on that holiday and wheat beer is still one of my favourite styles (even now, six years into my beer journey).
I think its fair to say that since those trips to Budapest and Berlin, my appreciation of beer has grown and grown. It has become a passion and a hobby. I seek out new beers, frequent brewery taprooms and bottle shops, follow updates from my favourite brewers and fellow beer lovers and try and support as many local businesses and events as possible.
I have even started to brew – my boyfriend and I dedicating the spare room in our Manchester flat to our latest attempts. It’s become more than just a dalliance – it’s become a huge interest and part of my life.
Over the last six years, my increasing love of beer has surprised a lot of people. The view that I used to hold that “beer isn’t for me” is still something I feel today, but not from myself directly but from others. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve heard “You’re drinking a pint?!” or “You like beer?!”.
This is one of the reasons why I have decided to start writing a blog about women and beer. Although I do believe that attitudes are changing and that more and more women are openly enjoying beer and getting the recognition they deserve in the industry, I still think there’s a long way to go.
It’s obviously very early days, but as well as writing more about my own beer journey, I hope that in time I’ll be able to write about other women and their experiences with beer. I’d also love to write about some of the amazing women involved in the brewing industry and how they got to where they are!