Friday, 18 May 2012

The Bride and The Beer

This morning on Twitter I found a beer-related article that shocked me with it's ridiculousness.

In New Zealand, the photo of a woman drinking a beer while wearing a wedding dress has shocked people and caused claims that the photo is 'disgusting'.  The woman photographed, Katrina Hayman was backstage at a Bride of the Year competition and was snapped by the Taranaki Daily News drinking a beer.  The photo was used on the front cover and caused controversy with readers claiming it was disgusting and the organisers of the event asking for a retraction as it showed the competition in a bad light.

The problem I have with this is people's perception of a bride.  Why can't a bride drink a beer?  I'm sure many have and will; why is it considered 'disgusting' for a woman to drink beer on her wedding day?  Why should she have to drink wine?  My mother does not drink alcohol, not for any other reason than she doesn't like the taste.  She never has.  On her wedding day, instead of champagne she had lemonade, but so no one would know they wrapped the lemonade bottle in a towel.  Over 30 years later you would think that we were open-minded enough for a woman to drink whatever she wants on her wedding day!

When I get married, I quite fancy toasting the day with a vintage beer rather than champagne that I'm not too fond of.  And if that's what I want, that is what I will have no matter what anyone thinks!

Here is a very good article by Natasha Burton from the Huffington Post discussing the issue quite nicely:  Why There's Nothing Wrong With A Bride Drinking Beer 

Here is the article about the incident in The Daily Mail with the original photo: Photo of Bride Swigging Beer Branded 'Disgusting'

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

American Craft Beer Week!

I think I've mentioned that I work on cruise ships and that gives me the opportunity to travel a lot.  Well, I just did a quick fill-in contract that took me to 8 different European countries in 3 weeks.... my beer adventures from there will be blogged soon :-)

While I was away there was an excellent radio programme on BBC Radio 4 about craft brewing in the USA called The New Beer Frontier.  I finally got to listen to it this week (the internet on cruise ships is a bit sketchy) which falls in line quite nicely with American Craft Beer Week.

Here's a summary of what I found interesting in the programme:

Originally, American brewing was influenced by British brewing techniques but this changed in the 1850s when an influence of German and Czech styles took over.  In fact, brewing in American became almost entirely German oriented, with meetings even been held in German.  Prohibition (from 1920-1933) skuppered the industry and when it was revoked, after WW1 a happy eye was not cast against an industry that was German run.

American brewing soon found the innovation of bottom fermentation, which led to the popularisation of lager beers that lasted longer but didn't have very complex taste (I'm looking at you Budweiser!)

The Craft Beer scene that we know and love today really took off in 1979 when home brewing was declared legal practice.  Also around this time air fairs were slashed so more people were taking trips to Europe and experiencing the beers available there.  The Americans came back from their European adventures and wanted to replicate the amazing flavours they had discovered.

In the 1980s, Boston was the place to be to taste new and exciting beers - Harpoon Brewery being one of the main culprits.

The Americans are now experimenting with many different styles and techniques.  New World hops are giving beers bigger, fruiter flavours and aromas and breweries like Cambridge Brewing Co in New York are trying out barrel ageing with wine, spirits and port wine barrels.

There are a few breweries mentioned in the programme that I need to look up the next time I am drinking beer in America.  The programme is still available on iPlayer here if you want to listen for yourself.