Ten beers for women that aren't Animée
Unlike many of my female beer-drinking cohorts, I don't get my lacy lingerie in a bunch (mainly because I totally don't own lacy lingerie) over the fact that Molson Coors is about to release Animée, a beer made for women.
Marketing: I can dig it. But still, it's a little absurd that the company thinks that those of us with two X chromosomes are more likely to pick up a brewski if it's as light as a cool mountain stream and has the beery flavor masked by rose petals or a lemon twist. (Anecdotal proof: I didn't like beer at all when the only types I'd tried were light variations poured from underage kegs. It took a sample of stout to make me a believer, and I've never looked back.)
Herewith ten beers I find much more suitable than Animée for gatherings of female friends:
10. Duchesse de Bourgogne
Brouwerij Verhaeghe, Belgium
As refined and classy as, well, a duchess, this beer is juicy, cherry-tinged and sour, but not overtly so. It's a balanced brew that makes for a great introduction to sour beer, and because it's a vast departure flavor-wise from what most people think of when they think of beer, it's also a good one to try if you're not a beer person.
9. Black and Blue
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, Delaware
We womenfolk have a reputation for guzzling fruit beers because our delicate palates just can't take the taste of ale on its own. And while there are plenty of fruit beers on the market that are just one step away from being a raspberry vodka in Sprite, there are also several craft brews made with fruit that even the burliest dude would find delicious -- if he could get past the idea of compromising his manhood to try them. Case in point is Black and Blue, a light, Belgian-style golden fermented with blackberries and blueberries. It's almost as berry-smacked as a smoothie, without compromising the complexity or style of the beer.
Avery Brewing, Boulder
A couple of studies suggest that women are less likely to be down with bitter flavors than are dudes, which sort of justifies brewing chick beer that plays those elements down in favor of things that are more appealing to the feminine palate, like, I guess, flowers and citrus. So why include a double IPA on this list, which contains more bittering hops than pretty much any other type of beer? For one, the Maharaja is rounded out with alcohol, giving sweet balance to the pine and grapefruit bite -- and therefore tasting less bitter than a lot of other IPAs. But this one's also for women who, like me, love bitter notes in a drink -- and therefore have no choice but to conclude that their tastes in beverages mean they're actually men.
7. Morimoto Soba Ale
Rogue Ales, Newport, Oregon
It might be silly for Molson Coors to assume that all women just want light and crisp beer, but that doesn't make all light and crisp beer silly. Consider the Morimoto Soba Ale, a simple ale with toasty notes and a hint of buckwheat. It's great for drinking on a hot day and pairing with spicy (or Asian) food. Absolutely unique, it's a dainty, tasty, special snowflake in the blizzard of craft beverages.
6. Bakeshop series
Rocky Mountain Brewery, Colorado Springs
Oh, there might be some people who still believe that a woman's place is in the home, cleaning and baking pies, but thanks to our foremothers, the only reason you have to keep house and raise a brood of children nowadays is because you want to. And there's no better way to celebrate the women who secured our freedom from forced housewife slavery than by grabbing a baked goods in a glass -- like the cherry pie-like Da Yoopers or Tatonka Blueberry Cobbler -- and toasting the fact that you get to enjoy such tasty desserts without toiling in front of the oven, waiting for your man to bring home the bacon.
5. Summer Love
Victory Brewing Company, Downington, Pennsylvania
A summer love is like boba tea: not a lot of substance, but it's light, refreshing and fun while it lasts (bonus: You can make up your own clever metaphor about the tapioca balls, too). And Victory Brewing's Summer Love is sort of like that for brews -- light and refreshing, but more zippy and interesting than some dumb can of light beer. It's a good one to drink all summer long, even if you kick it to the curb for something more serious come fall.
4. Chocolate Stout
Fort Collins Brewing, Fort Collins
Chocolate supposedly has a different effect on a woman's brain than a man's, which is why we can hose a whole box of it while our man-friends take one bite and declare it too rich. Given our insanity-inducing addictions, if any beer were to be marketed specifically toward women, it should probably be a chocolate stout. Like this one from Fort Collins Brewing, which is a dark, robust beer laced with chocolate and coffee notes.
3. Colette Farmhouse Ale
Great Divide, Denver
Farmhouse ales were traditionally the first beers brewed every year, made so the workers would have something to drink while they slaved away during harvest season. Most of us aren't out hacking away in the wheat and barley fields these days, but these elegant, mellow beers still signal spring, which is when Great Divide releases Colette. Smooth, biscuity and tinged with lemon, this beer is the perfect thing to drink as winter thaws into warmer weather -- the beverage equivalent of casting off the wool sweater for a sundress.
Russian River Brewing Company, Santa Rosa, California
Russian River Brewing Company puts together some damn sexy beers, and Temptation is a favorite. This golden ale is aged in Chardonnay barrels, and the result is a tart beer offset with some back-palate honey, brimming with peach, spice and floral notes. And with one in your hand? Well, you'll be a temptation to fellow beer drinkers, too.
1. Judgment Day
Lost Abbey, San Marcos, CA
As I said, I don't have my non-existent lace lingerie in a bunch over Animée, but as a self-respecting beer-drinking woman, I can't help but throw a big old "fuck you" into the face of whoever decided chicks only like things that taste like sunshine and daisies. And here it is: Judgment Day. If Animée had an equal and total opposite, this would be it. This is a big, fat beer -- a sumo wrestler beer, even -- that takes no prisoners and intimidates some men. It's thick and heady and chock-full of dark fruit, raisins, alcohol, caramel and chocolate. It's best consumed in a heavy chalice, possibly with red meat. And in the best circumstances, I can rest one stilettoed, pedicured foot on it -- and bring it right under control.
Want something with more girl power? Should you find yourself in Wisconsin, it's worth checking out Two Women, a crisp, grassy lager that's a collaboration between New Glarus and Weyermann Malting -- both of which are headed by, yes, women.
Get the Dining Newsletter
The week's top local food news and events, plus interviews with chefs and restaurant owners, dining tips, and a peek at our print review.