And now for something completely different. I would like you to imagine a scenario.
A woman goes up to the bar and studies the beer selection. In the absence of any detailed information on the beers, she asks the bartender for advice.
“What kind of ale is this?” She asks.
“It’s a real ale,” he answers.
This is an answer, but probably not the answer she was looking for. A real ale could be a stout, a porter, a mild, a bitter, a golden, or any one of a number of other variations. Seeing that she is not going to get any more useful information, she decides to try a different method.
“Can I try it?” She asks.
Now the purpose of the bartender telling her only that the beer is a real ale is to let her know that it is not for people like her. This becomes apparent from his next answer.
“If you like lager, your probably wouldn’t like it. It’s an acquired taste.”
At this point the woman (who is this instance is Kamala, but could be any woman who enjoys beer) samples the beer, ascertains that it is a golden ale, orders a pint and drinks it. Because she does like lager, but she also likes golden ales, and stouts and porters and the many other beers which fall under the umbrella of ‘real ale’.
This is sadly, all too common an occurrence for women who drink beer.
A few weeks ago I was in a bar with some friends, and got chatting to a man at the bar.
“Oh you’re drinking stout?” I said, about to ask him how it was as I was considering ordering a pint myself.
“No, no.” He said. “This is a very special oatmeal beer.”
At this point I could have told him everything I know about oatmeal stout, and everything I know about mansplaining, but instead I foolishly told him I write a blog about beer, at which point I became officially desirable and had to spend the rest of the evening dodging his advances.
I have, of course, had positive experiences discussing beer with men, on both sides of the bar. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a conversation with a fellow beer enthusiast. But the kind of conversation I’ve detailed above needs to stop. Men do not need to explain beer to women.