I like a beer. Whether I’m at the pub with a few friends or relaxing at home on an evening off, there’s nothing like sipping a well looked-after, perfectly poured pint.
I’m not talking about any beer, mind. While I have in the past been known to nurse a glass of crisp Continental or Antipodean lager, for me it has to be real ale. And, no, I don’t have a large unkempt beard. I also do not keep my own pint jug on a hook behind the bar, or sit with my dog in the corner of a gloomy pub with sticky carpets, a torn-open packet of pork scratchings scattered across the wonky table.
This may come as a surprise to some readers, but the old stereotype of beer drinkers is seriously outdated. In its place have come a new generation of “brewsters” – female brewers – that are breathing life into the industry and driving the popularity of real ale.
Brewing has traditionally been the preserve of men, but a welcome shift has been seen in recent years. The Master Brewer of Marstons, the 10th in its 173-year history, is a woman, and Brains Brewery, in Cardiff, took on its first-ever female earlier this year.
Women have been the driving force for innovation. As more set up microbreweries across the country, new flavours are popping up, including lighter fruity varieties that aren’t so harsh on the unsuspecting palate.
So while I’m savouring my quiet pint this weekend, I’ll also be sinking my hard-earned cash into British businesses. Probably my best-ever birthday present involved a case of British beers from different microbreweries. Now I just need to decide which one I like the most. Chocolate-flavoured beer, anyone?