Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weekend Cooking...A Nice [Not Too] Cold Beer

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal had an interesting article related to a subject near and dear to my Specifically, the article explores the idea that women, while not the largest consumers of beer, may have a distinct advantage as beer testers.
"...the British company SABMiller PLC decided several years ago to reach deeper into its employee pool to find adept tasters, inviting marketers, secretaries and others to try their hand. The company concluded that women were drinking men under the table.

"We have found that females often are more sensitive about the levels of flavor in beer," says Barry Axcell, SABMiller's chief brewer. Women trained as tasters outshine their male counterparts, he says...

Today, 30% of SABMiller's 1,000 advanced-level tasters are female, Mr. Axcell says. The number of women tasters has roughly quadrupled in 10 years."
One point that I did notice in this article is that it appears many of these companies employing women tasters are brewing what I might call American style beers..and I afraid I do not mean that as a compliment. Of course, most of the major sellers in the US market of these sort of beers and you usually have to go the micro-brewery route to find something more interesting. Miller, Coors, Bud  are light lagers, to my taste, rather watery and flavorless. I totally refuse to even taste Budweiser after I toured one of their breweries and found out, as they proudly tell you, that they use rice in making their beer. Don't get me wrong. I love rice, but not in my beer! A sin...These sorts of beer tend to be light on the hops, which if you watch the video, the one woman claims is the flavor women typically dislike in beer.

Well, speak for yourself dear.

While I actually do not drink much beer {or anything for that matter} when I do, I want a good beer. My history with beer goes way back, or so I was told. When I was just a wee Caite, maybe 3 or 4, my father came home from work on day, poured himself a beer and sat down to read the newspaper. He reached for his full glass, only to find it almost empty. And wee Caite sitting on the floor, next to the empty glass. What can I say. Some kids like peanut butter, some kids like beer.
I like my beer dark and hoppy and full flavored. Maybe a fuller bodied ale, or even a stout or porter, made with roasted malt or barley. Tap or draft beer is almost always to be preferred over bottle or {{shutter}} cans, the exception being a place that just does not sell enough for the beer to be fresh. Beer is alive and it doesn't live forever once tapped.

And then there is the whole issue of temperature. In the US, it is usually the colder the better for most beer drinkers. Might I suggest that the typical, best selling beers in the US are made for people that do not really like the taste of beer. They want something that they can drink very cold..which kills any remaining flavor..and which is 'lite' enough that they can drink a great deal of it. Beer become, as I read somewhere, simply an alcohol delivery system. Quantity over quality. The fast food of beer.
For a more full flavored, aroma filled beer, you really want to go a bit warmer to really appreciate it. That would be above 50 degrees, all the way up to 60 for really dark, strong beers. No storing on ice, no chilled, icy glasses. You want icy cold, may I suggest a nice glass of water. Very refreshing. :-)

I am rather curious exactly where one goes to apply for these beer tasting jobs. Maybe I need a career change!

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. I'm not a big beer drinker, but I do like it once in a while.

    Never been a fan of American mass market beer, but neither do I go for really heavy beers. I light a medium ale like Carlsberg or Asahi or Becks.

    Although if you can drink Guiness in Ireland, it's quite awesome.

  2. I'm not a beer drinker either (ugh), but even in America the serious beer drinkers go for the micro-breweries...some of the best are in Colorado, or so Mr. RR tells me.

  3. am I the only beer aficionado here. well, that if fine, to each their own. ;-)

    Michelle, I have never been to CO. but there are fine micro-breweries in the states I have been. Maine comes to mind...

    Lenore, the Guinness in Ireland is very nice...and yes, drinking it in Ireland helps..because you are in Ireland, which is also very nice.

  4. I thought I hated beer for most of my life. Then I went to Belgium. Turns out I hate American larger beer. Give me a Belgium beer (I mean in Belgium) of almost any type and I'll happily drink it. The Guinness I've had in the UK is nice but a little to heavy for my tates.

    In the U.S., I don't drink beer. In Germany and Belgium, it's another story.

  5. I think the biggest reason why so many people (women) hate beer is because they've never had the good stuff. Poland has the BEST beer. I'm not a huge beer drinker primarily because of the calories, but over there, I have a great big one every day for lunch! So good...

  6. Interesting post, even though I hate beer. But being German of course beer is a definite conversation topic. I don't think anybody drinks more than the Germans.

  7. Hooray for the female of the species! Very interesting post, Caite. I'm not a big fan of beer either, but it looks like I need a trip to Belgium and Poland.

  8. OMG - I laughed out loud at the wee Caite story!!

    I prefer wine - but I do enjoy a GOOD beer too. I also hate the American brands as they are too watery. I tend to only drink micro-brews. For me that means Boulevard in Kansas City.

    I am learning to acquire a taste for hops. I typically enjoy Wheat Beer - but Ales are starting to grow me.

    Hope you have a nice bottle (or two or three) this holiday weekend :)

  9. I am finishing off a nice ale as we speak..

    Molly, not sure anyone else laughed at the time.

    Margot, there are many good, small beers in the US. Most American just want to drink swill.

    Rikki, well the Germans are certainly known for their fine beers..

    and Sandy, I am sure Polish beer is very nice, but the best. I am not sure about

    BethF, if you look at the selection in the top picture, there is a Belgian beer, a bottle conditioned imported beer with a CORK! some people buying beer in the beer aisle at the liquor store recommended it.

  10. I've never been much of a drinker, but back in the day when I went out dancing, I would occasionally drink a "Little Kings" which is a cream ale by Schoenling. It tastes yummy, where others taste (and smell)awful to me and I couldn't gag one down if I was paid to.

  11. I prefer wine over beer, but there are times when nothing but beer will do! Don't think much of the American beers, though - rice in Budweiser?? Ack...
    I enjoyed reading this post.

  12. We just toured the Dogfish Head Brewery here in Milton, DE, and they were telling us about how the big brewers use rice is their beer. That's part of the way they keep the calories down. We're not such fans of domestics...we definitely prefer Dogfish!

  13. I'm not a beer drinker at all, which is unCanadian of me, but I don't like the smell.

    My husband is a connoisseur. He's very fussy. We once had a beer made only in Nova Scotia (Alexander Keiths) until it was bought by Molson. He says it hasn't tasted the same since.

  14. Vicki, I can't say that I ever found one bad enough I could not drink it. ;-)

    JoAnn...I always think I should like wine better, but no, I like the beer.

    Beth, I saw I brochure for Dogfish when I was in Lewes at the ferry terminal and I really have to get there..I see a weekend road trip in the near future.

    Chris..Really, not like the smell? They may toss you from Canada. Next you will say you are not a hockey fan! I actually had an Alexander Keiths on one of my trips to Canada..NB or Nova Scotia or PEI...I forget. So many beers....

  15. I'm so glad to see so many women frankly admitting a taste for beer. I like a bottled, unpasteurised ale, served at room temperature. I dont drink Guinness unless it has a drop of raspberry cordial in it, and most pubs dont do that anymore. By the way, all Irish people recognise that tragic look of illusions dashed that comes on the faces of our American visitors when we take them to have a Guinness and they realise it's served unchilled (or 'hot' as one particularly disillusioned guest put it). Best wishes from Cork

  16. I do admit to a taste for a wee bit of beer..say a pint.
    My father was form Co. Cork and I have family there..and in Dublin, which may be in Ireland. ;-)


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