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Dear Craft Beer: Please Stop Treating Me Like I'm Incompetent

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First appeared on Food Riot, by Caitlin Van Horn

You know, there are only so many PR events in strip clubs that a girl can take.

For this girl, that number tops off at about one. One craft beer preview event in a strip club was, trust me, more than enough.

You could definitely say I knew what I was getting into-the invitation listed the venue, after all. So why did I go? Because I love craft beer. Because a great date for me is one where I get to try beers I've never even heard of. Because I check Untapp'd more than my Gmail. Because I'm lucky enough to be able to write about beer, so, despite my romantic overtures, this was really about work.

But here's the thing-I don't get the feeling that craft beer takes me seriously, or values what I have to say. Mostly because I'm a chick.

How else am I supposed to feel when I'm at an event and most everyone there of my gender is seen as the equivalent of, at best, decoration, and, at worst, porn? I get it-craft beer is an old boys club, and maybe I should count myself lucky that at least when we think about women in craft beer, some of the time our minds go to ladies that are kicking asses and kegs like Kim Jordan of New Belgium, and Lauren Carter of Grimm Ales, the women behind BitchBeer.org and Annie Johnson, who won the Homebrewer of the Year Award-which has been all dudes since Reagan was president.

These are some fierce women, don't get me wrong, and they're all definitely a step-up from the St. Pauli girl and Coors' ubiquitous twins, but I'm going to go ahead and expect better from craft beer than I do from Coors-which is what I do every time I step into a bar. I expect to have a beverage that was carefully made, with respect for both the ingredients and the consumer. Which means: treat me with respect. Don't, for the love of god, have an event in a strip club.

Oh, and also? Don't do this.

Yeah, just in case you thought all this humorless feminist finger-wagging was directed solely at the males in the room.. well, it's not.

Starting off an article entitled "Best Beers For Women To Order" (Spoiler: any/all) with "Let's face it, sometimes, beer can be so confusing!", following up with "Other times, ordering the perfect beer can be a piece of cake, especially since some of the best beer experts out there are women!", and then not deigning to interview any of them and instead opting to get some dude to man-splain is not the best choice.

Furthermore, this article picks for us delicate, confused, swooning lady-folk:

Raspberry lambics for their "much sweeter taste, which women tend to gravitate towards,"
"Belgian ales" (pale ale? tripel? huh?) because they're a "very sweet beer because they add sugar during the fermentation process" and, Cider because it's "fruity", even though it's not actually beer at all.

Oh, and we can also add "sweet garnishes." Whipped cream and caramel for me, please!

Even though we haven't cracked the glass ceiling, I thought we'd all pretty much smashed the Sex-and-the-City-fueled idea that women only drink things resembling the shit I put in my mom's hummingbird feeder. While my taste has moved from Imperial IPAs to sessionable Berliner Weiss beers, that doesn't mean I'll ask you for half a packet of Splenda to throw in my glass, and it's kind of insulting to assume that all women are searching for liquid candy when they crack a beer.

I just want to have a beer where someone won't treat me like a piece of meat or like they're explaining the Pythagorean formula to a toddler. Is that so much to ask?

Because here's the thing, PR people, bartenders, brand reps, food writers, mom, event planners, etc:

We're here. We drink beer. Get over it.

(And get us another, while you're up.)

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