I remember seeing my grandmother drinking a glass of beer when I was about 10 and thinking it was a bit strange.
Women of her age were supposed to drink gin and tonics or wine – or cups of tea. But beer? Back then, that was mostly for men.
Mainstream beer has always been about the lads. Or certainly marketed towards a male audience. For a while in the 1990s, when “ladette culture” emerged, it was okay for a woman to drink a pint of beer. But she had to really make a point of it (think Zoë Ball or Sara Cox).
Then it went back to white wine and vodka tonics as the preferred lady drink. And the occasional beer – but only if it was from a long-neck bottle or had a lime wedge in it.
Now it seems more women are drinking beer – but this time it’s the good stuff. And while bearded men in lumberjack shirts may be stealing the limelight, you’ll spot a lot more women at beer festivals and in craft pubs these days.
Because it’s so varied, with so many styles and strengths, craft beer has a more wide-reaching appeal.
Ask any true beer devotee and they’ll say good craft beer is about quality, appreciation and subtlety of taste. Which is something that women, who have more sensitive palates, are pretty good at picking up on.
I’m not saying the microbrewing world isn’t male-dominated or a bit macho sometimes, or that you won’t come across slogans such as: “Made by men, not machines.” But it is certainly better than what came before.
Sitting outside on one sunny Saturday afternoon recently , I drank O Brother’s light and fruity 4.4% Max session pale ale. Later, I had one of my favourite recent discoveries: Mescan’s Wesport Extra.
This is a big but very, very drinkable strong golden ale – it’s just for girls, though.