Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Man: The Provider

It's great working as a beer retailer. I always say that it's the best job in the world, apart from the hours and the money.

But one of the main benefits is reaping the fruits of my labours. Over the last three or four years, I've made a real effort to source the best of the best for our customers, and they have appreciated it. In fact, it's led to me discovering a new, unknown brewery, which I hope to be delivering to the good people of Leeds in the next month or so. The beer that really turned my head was a 3.5%abv blonde session beer that had so much flavour packed into it that when I gave to a friend and told them the strength, they said "F*ck off!". But the main thing I thought was: "Leeanne would love this".

My partner Leeanne is one of those rare females who loves beer. OK, I know that they're not really that rare, but as long as I've known her, real ale has been high on her 'to do' list. Early on, the phrase "ooh, they have Bass, a pint of Bass please" made me realise that I'd unearthed a rare treasure, and since then, I've done all I can to keep her interested. One of those things I have to do is Wednesday night beers.

Wednesday night is special, because Leeanne has Thursdays off. Wednesday night is like a private Friday night sneaked into the middle of the week. It's not really a proper Friday night, but because she doesn't drink on school nights, we have a few beers together. Tonight it's been a BrewDog Trashy Blonde and a couple of Odell's St Lupulin.

Lately, Leeanne has developed a preference for a certain style of beer. Pale, well-hopped beers are what she likes, although she will drink Brooklyn Lager and Sierra Nevada without complaint - nay, she will drink them with gusto. If the alcohol goes beyond a certain point, or the colour goes beyond a certain point, they get rejected. There's a very clear interplay of colour, intensity and %abv that she detects quickly and decisively.

This was demonstrated tonight by having a glass of Odell's St Lupulin (6.5%abv) and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA (6%abv). I offered her the choice of either, and after tasting them both, she wrinkled up her nose at the DFH 60 (sorry Sam). I told her: "It's not as strong as you think - the St Lupulin actually has more alcohol in it". "Then why would I want that? I'll take this one thanks", and retired to her end of the couch with the St Lupulin.

So that's my responsibility as a beer provider. I need to make sure that there is an appropriate beer at any point that it is required. If I was catering for a less discerning palate, it might be a tiresome chore. But having someone who is interested in the variety of flavours, colours and intensities keeps me on my toes, and close to the top of my game.


  1. I didn't think much of the 60 minute IPA either so maybe I need to give St Lupulin a go.

  2. You should. It's a proper ladies beer *cackles evilly*

  3. St Lupulin is 6.5%?

    "F*ck off!".


    Good stuff. I think women that like beer really are pretty rare though, at least in comparison to the number of men that like it. Not trying to be sexist, I just think it's a fact ... look at the number of men to women at GBBF this year.

    Your job sounds great. No doubt a substantial part of the experience when visiting the shop is being able to talk to someone with a great passion and knowledge for beer. If only it wasn't miles away!

    Ed: I agree with you about the DFH 60 minut (and 90 minute for that matter). Always dissapointed when I've had them.


  4. Our lass has a similar sort of radar when it comes to the pale hoppy stuff, she has a limit which she turns ales away at, i might try her on the St lupulin tonight as she is at work all weekend as she needs a friday night...

    I was dissapointed wih the DFH 60 and 90, i wonder if it's just because they have been built up so much that you expect more...

  5. That 3.5% session blonde intrigues me, as to find a beer with masses of flavour and quaffability is a rare thing indeed! When will you be able to point one in the direction of it's identity and availability, exactly?

  6. Talking of fridays hope your at work this friday afternoon? Am planning on finally visiting your place and having a weekend in Leeds.

  7. You're so lucky, my wife has a gluten intolerance. Have you tried gluten free beer?

  8. I've tried a couple of them rich.....all i can say is she has my deepest sympathies!

  9. Mark - I think the tide is turning. It would be interesting to see some stats about how much of the rejuvenation of the ale market has been down to women adopting it as a drink of choice.

    Andy - I think like all classics, DFH 60 is showing its age a bit, but I'm not sure its any less of a beer for it.

    Peter - it's from a small and new brewery, and we'll be stocking at the shop in Leeds soon. I'm sure word will get out eventually. We also hope to offer it mail order too.

    Rob - sorry, but Friday is a writing day for me - I'll be in the library the whole afternoon, I'm afraid.

    mBt - that is a shame. Wold Top's Against the Grain is OK, possibly better than no beer at all if you're gluten-intolerant. I still don't understand why GF beers need to be insipid - I'm sure an armful of Citra would brighten most of them up immeasurably.

  10. *the secret of Zak's beer knowledge - at last* he has a lady to keep happy! wonderful! but yeah, like you say, keeps you on your toes. You must have got through hundreds of rejected beers before getting to this point, though?

  11. Leigh - it's a Wednesday ritual at the shop, believe me. And she's always up for a cheeky beer in North while the nipper's asleep. She's a keeper.

  12. My better half has a failsafe tactic which she will use at beer festivals or when faced with unfamiliar beers:
    • Points to her hair
    • Asks 'have you got anything this colour?'
    Said hair has almost exact Pantone reference to Marble Bitter. This system has so far proved to be relatively foolproof.

  13. Chris - that's a great example of a woman using her charms to get what she wants.

  14. 'While the nipper's asleep...' ha! - wonderful....!

  15. Nice post. It reminds me, there's a theory isn't there that some people are "supertasters", and that more women than men come under that category.

  16. Leigh - well, at least he's well-behaved while he's asleep!

    Simon - you're quite right. And Leeanne has a great taste memory, although she denies it (for some reason)

  17. My other half likes Babycham & Ribena!!


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.