Sweden: Meet the female brewers tackling prejudice in the real ale world

femaleHeavy flannel, forearm tattoos and a thick beard. The cliché craft-beer brewer is an image that comes quickly to mind when we begin to think of beer snobbery and the craft behind it. However, one group of Sweish women are doing their best to combat the stereotype by taking on the hipster men in their own arena.

The idea started, as all good ideas do, with a small group of women. Gothenburg-based FemAle was a place for female beer fans to get together and share their love of alcohol. But now, several months after the project first started, the group is venturing into new territory by launching its own brew.

The ‘We Can Do It’ beer is a beer by women and not for women. “It’s nothing to do with feminism”, FemAle founder Elin Carlsson told UK-newspaper The Guardian. “It’s about equality – we wanted to show we can do it”.

Carlsson and her fellow beer lovers were inspired by their shared frustration with the beer world. From overly feminised advertisements for women-targetted brands to the prevailing cliché that women can’t enjoy a ‘real ale’, the world of beer seemed to be a male-dominated one.

Many of these women met at first at beer festivals and gatherings. They describe the early days of the group somewhat like an island. A sanctuary for women in another male-oriented culture.

They were a rarity it seemed: real women enjoying real beer.

But FemAle hope that their partnership with a local brewer Ocean will do a lot to combat the stereotypes surrounding beer and women.

The first batch, which is still being made, promised to be a hoppy and rich brew – full of complex flavours and tastes. It was created with the direct input of the group, who tasted and tested early batches until they agreed up a mixture that was they felt was right.

“All the girls are different” claims group member Emma Henriksonn. “There is no typical women beer-lover.”

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