We’d like to dedicate the first episode of Season 2 to our friends who, though all very lovely and supportive of our podcasting efforts, just do not like beer.
As much as we’d like to simply shake the nonsense out of them, we’ve got to admit that there are very few people in the world who enjoy every taste or flavour they come across.
For example, Louise and I both find that most seafood makes us think of fish poo and decaying dead things. Lou has some sort of genetic predisposition to hate coriander, which I love, and she’s not that big a fan of very hoppy beers, as she’s more sensitive to bitterness than I am.
Everyone’s palate is different. But, beer is not just one homogeneous taste. There’s a whole spectrum of different tastes and flavours out there that we’d love our pals to consider trying. In preparation for this episode, we asked around to find out some of the key reasons why they don’t like beer...
1. It’s fattening…
“It makes you bloated and get a big belly.”
Well, thanks for noticing, love.
Whenever the calories of beer and wine are compared, beer does come out as the most fattening. The NHS website compares a 175ml glass of 12% abv wine against a full pint of 5% abv beer. In terms of alcohol for your quid, yep, beer has slightly more calories, but the main reason that people get ‘beer bellies’ is excess.
There’s an assumption that beer should be drunk in pints, often three to five in one sitting. Yeah, that’ll bloat you. That is a crap-tonne of liquid, with cereal at its base.
Actually, in the past year we’ve have replaced a lot of our usual wine intake with beer, and haven’t had to change jeans size yet. We’ve just focused on drinking high quality, flavoursome beer. We also favour cans, bottles or the 2/3 of a pint glass over the full pint. We’ve found that we take more time over a glass of something with more flavour, and we don’t have to drink anywhere near as much to be satisfied by it.
Also, cheese is fattening, and everyone loves cheese…
2. Oh, the memories…
“The smell makes me think of my time working behind a bar in an arena where I’d go home stinking of beer and cider because you’d have to pour drinks from the cans.”
“It reminds me of drinking beer when I was younger because there was nothing else available, like at a festival. It was always too warm, served in a plastic cup and everyone stunk of it because people would throw it all over you during a gig.”
While I find the musty-sweet smell of a beer-soaked carpet nostalgically charming, some people find it harder to shake those old associations with sticky shoes, overpriced ‘sponsored by’ festival lagers, and never being 100% sure if what someone just threw all over you was beer or piss.
The only way to shake this one is to start drinking better beer, in nicer places!
3. It’s boring
“The flavour’s not fun enough for a whole pint. It’s OK for a couple of sips, but then you’re like, meh…”
This one's easy - try more beers, try better beers.
Most commonly available lagers are created to be crisp, refreshing and easy to drink a lot of. The popularity of this style is maybe why some people think beer is homogeneous and boring.
But look a little harder - there are tonnes of beers available with flavours that are so complex that they could easily rival some of the best wines or cocktails I’ve tasted. You may have to pay a little more for them, but it’ll still be a lot less than the average bottle of wine in a pub or restaurant.
4. It’s bitter
“I prefer sweet drinks, beer leaves a bitter taste. I’m more of a cider drinker.”
It’s a fact that some people are more sensitive to bitterness than others, and those people are less likely to enjoy big, hoppy beers like IPAs (Lou is one of them).
But we’ve tried loads of beers in preparation for this series that have little to no bitterness at all. Sour beers, wheat beers, even some big brand lagers (like Budweiser) will all surprise you. We’ve tried sweet beers, sour beers, salty beers – there’s definitely plenty available for people who dislike bitter flavours.
5. It’s ‘laddy’
Actually, none of our pals said this one. We were expecting at least one of our friends to say they think of beer as a ‘laddy’ drink, but no one did, which is brilliant!
But gender-biased marketing is still around, preventing more people from enjoying beer. Even us, a bit. We’d like to think it doesn’t happen in our hipster London bubble, but just in the last couple of weeks, we u-turned out of a pub in Bermondsey due to a set of gender-biased pump clips. Simultaneously boring and annoying, and very bad business practice in an area so ripe with great places to get a beer.
Thankfully, though, those breweries seem to be very much in the minority now. There are a huge amount of wonderful breweries who would love any and all people to try their beers, and wouldn't dream of alienating half of their potential consumers through dodgy old-fashioned marketing. Yay :)