Monday, April 1, 2013

Girly Beer

I mean no offense toward the women who read my beer blog, but this is a beer that I think is designed with you in mind.

This is not the kind of beer with which I associate guys drinking while watching a hockey game or playing poker, smoking cigars. I realize that I'm going to be doing some stereotyping in this post, but please take my words with a grain of salt, as I am writing this post with my tongue firmly pressed into my cheek.

I rewrote this post after I received some comments that pointed accusations of sexism. I left the comments in place, despite my reworking of this post, because some of my thoughts will still seem somewhat tasteless.

I do believe that the brewers of the beer in this review had women in mind when they crafted it. And I don't think that's a bad thing. There are plenty of products on the market that are gender-biased and I don't think that beer is exempt from this gender targetting. 

I don't think I would have picked this beer unless I felt some influence from a female friend and after the reaction I witnessed from some women that had sampled a similar-styled ale the day earlier. I think that other men, after looking at the label and understanding the main ingredient that is added, may pass on it.

I made a joke that some guys may drink it but wouldn't want their friends to know that they had. That was a joke. It was, perhaps, not one of my funnier or more clever jokes, but I try.

Sometimes, I fail.

Let's get on with the review. As a craft-beer lover and beer blogger, I feel I have a certain obligation to try many beer styles that I won't typically drink, but should be acquainted with.

I first heard about this beer at WinterBrewed, when my friend from Mill Street Brew Pub, Hannah, described a beer from her favourite Québec microbrewery, Dieu du Ciel! She told me the name, but sadly, over the course of that festival, the name escaped me.

Last week, on what is now my regular stop at Bières du Monde, I looked at a few bottles by this St-Jèrôme brewery. I saw some of the offerings that I have reviewed in the past, and some new ones. One, that was made with hibiscus, reminded me of a beer I tried last week, at the Ottawa Beer TAP Society dinner, which was also made with hibiscus, and I thought I would try it. I bought two bottles and then headed to my regular Tuesday haunt, Mill Street.

When I arrived at the pub, I was greeted by Pete, the bartender, Adam, the head brewer, and Hannah, who also tends the bar. Hannah told me that she had something for me, and quickly disappeared from the bar. When she returned, she told me that she had been to her cottage on the previous weekend and had found her favourite beer at the local dépanneur. She handed me a brown paper bag, and in it was the beer that I had just purchased.
Rosée d'Hibiscus Spiced Strong Beer with Hibiscus (5.9% ABV)
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
St-Jérôme, QC
Beer O'Clock rating: 3
Appearance: a murky pink, much like an unfiltered rosé wine, with a while head that quickly dissipates to a fine lace.

Nose: fragrant roses and strawberries.

Palate: the taste buds are first hit with a honeyed, crisp flavour that then turns faintly sour with a hint of peach and white pepper and takes you to a light finish.

Overall impression: this is a refreshing ale that would be perfect during patio season. It goes down easy on its own but would also pair well with a light salad of mixed greens and a raspberry vinaigrette.

From the packaging (a woman, with flowers in her hair), to the colour, to the nose, to the light, slightly sweet and fruity taste, I get the impression that this is a feminine beer.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I believe that beer is gender-neutral. But every once in a while, I encounter a beer that is light and fruity, and I think (as I did with Rosée d'Hibiscus) that it is a "pretty" beer.

Just as when I see a smokey, bitter, high-alcohol beer (especially when there's a seductive-looking woman on the label) I think that the ale is aimed at men.

That's just the impression I get. Right or wrong.

When I opened my first bottle, I logged on to the Untappd application on my iPhone and checked in with this beer. Shortly after, one of my lady friends, Miriam, told me it was her favourite beer from Dieu du Ciel, that she had had it in Montréal and loved it.

So I have two friends, both women, who have tried and loved this beer.

If any of my male friends love this beer, they are welcome to tell me to STFU.

It's a fine beer and I appreciate it for what it is. I'm glad I tried it. Will I have it again? Probably not, but only because I prefer stouts and big IPAs: you know, manly beers (that's another joke—laugh a little).

Ladies: I believe his beer is made with you in mind. Enjoy it.


  1. Hmm, I like stouts and IPAs. I also like a light ale, a raspberry wheat in the summer and (oh my goodness) wine! However, I don't like your characterization of me or anyone else because of what my taste buds prefer.

    I'm glad you appreciated the tastes and flavours of the Rosée d'Hibiscus, but I wish you would have left out the sexist and unnecessary commentary about who should or shouldn't be drinking it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, kellskitchen. I guess you don't like the term "chick flick" either.

      Like most of my writing, this review was written with my tongue firmly pressed against my cheek. My statement that this is a feminine-slanted beer is, I think, a valid observation.

      I find that many breweries (indeed, many companies) tend to label their product to cater to a specific gender. I felt that this beer had a particular feminine leaning, from its label, colour, and aromas. The beer was particularly light in flavour, which seemed to blend in with the other characteristics and packaging.

      I know many women who enjoy intense IPAs and full-bodied stouts. I also know men who enjoy fruit-infused, light ales. I respect that and never judge. One's taste is personal.

      Rosée d'Hibiscus appears to be aimed primarily at a feminine audience, much like some movies are made to appeal more to women. I don't see anything wrong with that.

      My apologies if my post seems more sexist than its intention is, of stating that this beer appears to target women. In my opinion, it does.

      And that's okay.

  2. I feel you’ve both insulted women and the beer itself! I don’t mind your review of the beer, but I don’t like something categorized as being girly and other things being called manly. What does that mean?

    I don’t understand why men should be embarrassed to drink this. Should they also be embarrassed to order a Fruili? What about a fruit lambics? I have an apricot IPA from Dogfish Head – is that embarrassing?

    Personally I don’t think Rosée d'Hibiscus is targeted towards women. I think it’s a refreshing summer beer that appeals to casual beer drinkers, new beer drinkers or palates that enjoy things on the sweeter side. Many of those people may be women, but with 78% of the craft beer market being men it's not all of them.

    1. Aw, Katy, I thought you knew me better. We'll have to discuss this over a pint.

  3. If you feel like the Rosee D'hibiscus is too girly you may want to opt for their Dieu de Ciel's Peche Mortel instead. A thick, rich, chocolatey stout that clocks in at 9.5% might make you more comfortable with your masculinity.

    Both beers are great offerings from St Jerome's finest brasserie and you can get them on tap right now at Brother's Bistro in the market.

    But personally I think the Rosee D'hibiscus, though the name may seem feminine, is more of a beer than I see a lot of guys with. Coors? Blue? Canadian? Corona?

    1. You have a good point: I'd drink Rosée d'Hibiscus over Coors, Blue, Canadian, or Corona any day.

      I reviewed Péché Mortel last week. Loved it.

      Some day, I'll pay Brother's Bistro a visit. I've been meaning to for some time but I'm rarely in the Market any more.

      Thanks for your comments.

  4. I guess that tongue in cheek, same as sarcasm, doesn't travel across the wire very well. Throw in today's obsession with politcal correctness and you will get some pushback.

    Education for all.

    Thanks for the review anyway.