Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Brew Dogs, beer and women.

So here's a topic that i think could use some more discussion: the treatment of women within beer culture.

Recently i watched the first and only season of 'Brew Dogs', a TV show hosted by the owners of Brewdog, James Watt and Martin Dickie, in which they travel around America, brew beers related to the current state they are in, all the while trying to take strangers "craft beer virginity". The trailer can be seen here.

They do make incredible beer.

Production wise, the show is terrible. A mush of cheap American TV cliches (double takes/record scratches galore), bad music, and a B grade action trailer voice-over. It really feels like they tried to emulate modern MTV reality shows, which i think they actually fell short on, creating a grotesque beast that would be more at home on public TV.

Content wise i loved it. Lots of brewing with weird ingredients, interviews with famous american brewers at their breweries, lots of beer tasting and food matching, and a good 'best of' breweries and pubs segment which will be useful when i head over there to drink beer. The hosts were also pretty fun to watch, and most of the time had good things to say. The beer virgin part was a bit weird though, there were some good moments, but what i found really off-putting was the fact that most of them were women. This is what i wanted to talk about.

The amount of casual sexism littered throughout 'Brew Dogs' astounded me.

About touching super-heated coins.

Aside from the fact that they would mainly target (or maybe only air) their "craft beer virgins" segment with women, in which they would demean and sleaze all over them (quite often asking for kisses on the cheek, joke about marrying them, or ask them if that was the best thing they've had in their mouth), they also would casually call each other 'women' like it was a bad thing.

As far as i can see, they are trying to have this 'one sleazy guy, and one sensible guy' chemistry which just comes across as sleazy, because Martin: the sensible guy, never actually tries to stop the ultimate awkwardness of his friend, James, as he rampages around continually hitting on every single female they come up against.

For instance, in the first episode they go to a famous restaurant to do beer and food matching. The chef is an attractive young female.

James: "And Amanda is one of the hottest chefs in the country" 
Martin: "Don't you mean hottest new chef?" 
James: "No, i mean hottest chef."

They then agree, before even meeting her, that whoever does the best pairing gets to go on a date with her, like a trophy. Amanda, who probably lives happily in reality, is really weirded out by all of this. Here is a face that explains the awkwardness of this scene perfectly.

"Please let this be a nightmare."

I could go on, but if you want to hear it all, then watch it. TO BE FAIR, THEY ARE FROM SCOTL- SHUT UP! Everyone knows that sexism is unacceptable wherever you are, and just because maybe your culture has more of it, doesn't make it any more right. One thing i will say though, is that although i found these things rather disturbing to watch, i did enjoy the show, nor will i stop buying and drinking Brewdog beers...

The reason is because this is a pretty normal way to behave in beer culture.

This isn't the first time i've seen or heard of this type of behavior within the craft beer/home-brewing scene. I often see things like "what beer should i brew that the ladiiezz would like?" or "cider is craft beer for women" online and in real life and it hurts me. It hurts me, because it hurts people i love.

Can't we come together? I mean, aren't we already fighting a war? A war against shit beer? If a guy likes shit beer or cider, you don't say "shit beer is for men" or "cider is craft beer for men"...

Why do some men seem to think they have a monopoly on beer? That unless you're a male, you don't understand beer? Is it because they are afraid? Just like how some Australians are afraid of immigrants taking their jobs, are 'BEER MEN' afraid that women will drink all the beer AND take all their jobs making it? Surely this simple minded, ignorant, offensive view can't be something that is held by people in a society so advanced as ours...