5 Disney Princesses Walk into a Bar…

Saturday morning, I was eating breakfast at Wolfgangs in Grand Rapids. Great place. There was a young girl, probably six years old, at the table next to me with a giant grin on her face. In front of her sat a stack of five pancakes completely drenched in syrup and melted chocolate rounded off with a dollop of creamy whipped goodness. She was adorable. But what made the scene quintessential was her choice of dress: a pink and purple nightgown with five Disney Princess heads covering her head to ankle. Instant childhood flashbacks.

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Last week we talked about social norms. Today, I introduce you to a collection of media that has shaped female social norms at a very early age, The Disney Princesses. Now that they are seasoned and experienced, what would they tell this pancake princess about life and libations on her 21st birthday?

1. Pocahontas: Growing up, I was taught that the world is not something dead that you can claim. Every rock and tree and animal has a spirit and a name, and this is what makes life rich. When John Smith came to my village, I had to teach him the importance of appreciating our natural world. This is why an American Stout is my drink of choice. There are so many natural ingredients that can be added to enhance its taste, aroma, and mouthfeel, and until you experience many variations, you cannot fully appreciate the style. Live life with your arms open to the unfamiliar and your life will be rich.

3. Ariel: Now that I am 45 years young, there is so much I want to tell the young ladies who grew up watching my very young self fall in love much too fast! First off, I want to say that I absolutely adore Imperial IPAs. This robust beer has a bold hoppiness that just might rip your tongue out and leave you speechless! But jokes aside, to have a robust life, one filled with what makes you happy, you must learn to lean in to situations, not shy from them.  And as stated by Sheryl Sandberg, “Fortune does favor the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.” There is no life guide- you will make mistakes- but if you take chances than you will find yourself in grander situations never imagined before.

4. Cinderella: I was so dreamy as a young girl. I will always enjoy daydreaming, but I have also come to thoroughly enjoy real life; the everyday ups and downs. I have come to enjoy the wrinkles that appear around my eyes and hands, for each one represents a piece of knowledge that I earned and can share. And I want to tell you that you should celebrate every knowledge line because you earned it! No one takes you seriously when you are 80 years old and look 20. Our bodies are like Belgian Dubbels. True fans know that the older they are, the more robust and flavorful they become. Pick your fans wisely, you only deserve the ones that thoroughly appreciate you.

2. Jasmine: When I was a young girl, I lived behind tall castle walls that inhibited me from exploring the outside world. Everything I knew was given to me, my life was easy but it was also boring. Your life should be filled with experiences that give it girth. Life should be like a barleywine; strong, intense, and complex with a hint of fruit, sweetness, or bittersweetness. This variation never makes my tasting experience the same as the previous. Never hid behind walls, that is the easy way through life. Jump the walls and explore worlds beyond your comfort zone, you never know what you will discover about yourself.

5. Belle: Life is all about choices. I believe who you choose to surround yourself with tells a great deal about yourself. Keep in mind that life is hazy, like a hefeweizen. There are a lot of obstacles you will face throughout your lifetime, and if you choose to fight the haze with people who drain you (like the people who lived in my village), you will be miserable, so make the effort to find people who inspire you. This applies to your friends, community, and spouse. These people may not always be the most popular or best looking, but they will light something inside of you that draws you to them. Do not ignore that magical feeling.

All five of these characters experienced a sense of confinement and lack of choice. It wasn’t until they broke boundaries and tested their comfort zones that that they found (wait for it…) “a whole new world” of possibilities! These possibilities affected every part of their lives (including their taste buds) and so they felt compelled to share. Cheers!

Book Recommendation: Lean In by: Sheryl Sandberg

Girls Know How to Butt Across the WWW and Beyond

A Wednesday evening of googling “women in beer” led me to the site, The Pink Boots Society. I am slightly embarrassed to admit this is my first exploratory visit of the site. I have had the pleasure of getting a beer with two Pink Boot Society women and they were, and are, pretty neat women to say the least.

After hitting tabs and checking out the blog, the pink-laden site led me to two note-worthy discoveries.

1. Girl Talk HQ– A website run my a group of women who scour the world wide web to find noteworthy stories of female amazingness. This is a site worth checking out on a regular basis.

2. The Empowerment Project by: Girl Talk HQ- An “in-progress” project of story gathering and arranging into a documentary to highlight strong professional women. The documentary group ask these women how they define success and their thoughts on improving female roles in the workplace.

Girl Talk HQ’s documentary project made a stop in San Francisco to chat with Teri Fahrendorf, the first female brew master west of the Rockies, the first female brew master in California, and the first female brew master in Oregon. Teri is also the founder of The Pink Boots Society. Talk about a women kicking butt in beer…Teri is now on my people I must meet list.

teriEmpowermentProject

The film is scheduled to be released this spring and I eagerly await how the crew will portray the women’s stories, as well as portray women’s current place in the professional whelm.

Happy exploring!

Photo Credit: Girl Talk HQ 

-Pauline 

Nothing Less than the Michigan Beerfest Best

Beer fests are a people watcher’s paradise. The sights at this year’s Beer City USA Michigan Brewers Guild Winterfest were far from disappointing. We couldn’t help but snap (and share) shots of the colorful Michigan Beer scene in Grand Rapids.

Enjoy!

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Best Edible Accessory: Flavor Flav Cheese Dip. Yeah Girl!!!

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Best Jacket: What did the Fox say?

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Best Hat: Beaver Tail. Enough said.

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Best Skirt: Bringing a little class to the party.

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Best Green Outfit: Ready to ride.

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Best Winter Boots: Gravity ain’t got nothing on these.

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Best Horns: This RAMdom guy takes the gold.

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Best Ride: Northern Michigan Taxi

Beer consuming Michiganders, we look forward to what you come up with at the Michigan Summer Beer Fest. Keep it colorful, keep it classy, keep it creative. Cheers!

-Rachel & Pauline

Drinking Beer Never Looked so Good

Good news from New York Ladies. The 2014 New York Fashion week focused more on loose clothing styles than years past. Dveborah Needleman, editor in chief of T: The New York Times Style Magazine, says that this year there was a noticeable focus on comfort and that is “good news for real people.” I can be fashion forward, drink beer, and have a little room to breath? Whaaaat?!

Friday was the last day of Fashion Week 2014 and the trends noted at this event will most likely be spotted in stores next season. Keeping up with trends is time consuming and no doubt a little exhausting, but it is fascinating to see what spectacular-ness walks down those runways and comes out of those brew kettles! So this spring when you can’t decide what beer to pick up at the store or order at the bar, we recommend checking out your outfit for inspiration.

Here are three 2014 Fashion Week trends and respective New York beers that pair quite nicely.

MakeAStatementTrend #1: Making a Statement
This year, you are given the “thumbs up” to wear your feelings on your sleeve. You now have permission to tell the world how you really feel. (I was getting worried I would have to keep it to myself forever.)
Suggested Brew: Southampton Double White 

The Double White is a Southampton original. A double gravity version of the classic Belgian style white ale makes this style more complex, more alcoholic, and more intense. Just like those words on your chest, this beer is unfiltered. With citrus and spice character from orange peeland coriander, Double White will put a little zing into your life.

CropTopTrend #2: Crop Tops
 The crop top is back this spring and these are no Clueless matter. Skintight is out and the sexy modern working girl is hitting the streets. Streamline with a few simple colors, this versatile piece creates a statement without creating hassle.
Suggested Brew: Southern Tier 2xONE
Southern Tier reduces this beer down to just its essential ingredients: Mosaic hops and Specialty Pale malt. This two-ingredient recipe creates a more complex experience than one could image. Simplicity has never been so sexy.

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Trend #3: Ruffles, lots of them
Ruffles are in, but these are no girlie matter: they mean business. Models  powered down the runway in pieces that were fit for royalty. Folds of material layered itself precisely on the females bodies creating artistic sculptures.
Suggested Brew: Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
This is Brooklyn’s grown up version of Stout, an Imperial Stout with three mashes and deep, dark chocolate flavor. This stout, fit for a queen, ages beautifully and the bottle itself is quite elegant.

Photo credit: http://www.nymag.com

 

-Pauline

Pursuing Happiness with Stiletto Shoes and Piss Water Beer

Human beings are norm-creating experts. We create the norms, live by the norms, and aren’t supposed to question the norms.  The norms are the norms.  The majority of norms are not even written down but are taught through reinforcement, sometimes unintentionally.  These norms become our social compass and direct our actions, thoughts, and choices.  We are creatures who find comfort in grasping onto something, anything, if it provides the comfort of example to follow without sticking out or making us look foolish.

In today’s consumer culture, about $68 billion is spent on television advertising. Advertising helps to create and reinforce cultural/social norms.  With respect to beer, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors together spent more than $1 billion on brand advertising last year.  In the advertisements, the focus seems to be that men play the role of wanting sexy women, women play the role of being sexy, and light, fizzy beer plays the starring role in ensuring that sex happens.

Whether intentional or not, the money spent reinforces for women that their individual sex appeal leads to happiness. This sex appeal is defined by the choices women make at a bar, which include drink selection, attire choice, and behavior.  Attire: something skimpy and sexy. Show the boobs.  Behavior: flirty, willing, and cool.  A chatty personality is not necessary or desired. Drink selection: something bubbly, fruity, and flavor-lacking.  Brand name: something normal.

The beer commercials never tell us how to behave, but they show us. Over and over again, they cut and paste images in our head. And yet, the impact is rarely talked about. People protest laws all day because they are public and written down, but it is the unspoken norms that we need to talk about. We need to challenge them even though we often feel we lack control of them because they do not have a public face.

I can’t help but laugh when I read the norms above out loud, but I stop when I recall the memories of dressing scantily at the bars in college, not standing up for myself because I wanted people to like me, or questioning everything I said or did when a guy showed me attention. This was a stupid trap that I fell into many times. I know you have these memories too.

Now, however, as a young woman, I know that I have choice. I get to choose the messages I tell myself and one day, tell my daughter. Forming and delivering these messages is difficult, especially when our consumer culture makes it too easy to underestimate our abilities as women. It is time, however, for more women to jump off the norm merry-go-round and make a conscious effort to define what their happiness images look like and the behavior associated with them.

I love the beer industry, and when I got out of college and had the choice between Short’s Brewing Company and MillerCoors, I chose craft, regardless of the salary I missed out on. I wanted to be proud of the brand I promoted, and I never wanted to be ashamed of selling their message. And, I believe I made the right choice. There is no doubt that this is a male-dominated industry, but I spend my days surrounded by men who respect me as a creative individual, who expect me to be fully-clothed at beer festivals because anything less and I might be a little chilly, and who never once question my female palate when ordering a Double IPA at the bar. I chose wisely. This proves to me that there is more for me to choose from than scantily dressed sales positions if I intend to work in beer.

We need to start talking about unwritten norms so we become more comfortable with it. You are not alone; we all experience them.  But if we choose to stay silent, if we choose to play by the consumerism rules, then nothing will change. Sex will always sell, and your daughters and granddaughters will continue to second-guess their behaviors and actions as they explore the path to womanhood and happiness.

This path is a personal one that media images will never do justice. It is not cut and dry, rather it is messy and takes time. Only you know when you are happy. So take note of the moments you feel most confident, sexy, and satisfied. I am willing to bet these moments don’t involve you standing at a bar with a mini skirt, stiletto heels, and a Bud Lite.

I feel satisfied and confident when I surround myself with people who respect my personal norms and who contribute to my intellectual growth. And in my prince charming search, my choice is a man who thoroughly finds my ambition sexy, who enjoys taking part in discussion, who appreciates my small boobs, and who never makes me second guess my behaviors that make me, me. This is my happiness.

By: Pauline Knighton

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