In an attempt to break the stereotype that beer is a masculine drink, Belgium’s Brewers Federation is offering a free beer to women across the country who turn up at designated bars on the 7th of March. The event is called Apero Nationale and takes place between 6.30 and 7.30 pm, on the eve of International Women’s Day.
“It’s a rather simple concept,” says Sofie Vanrafelghem a beer sommelier who helped organize the event. “The goal is to get women to raise a toast together across Belgium.”
Vanrafelghem developed a tasting wheel for the event, designed to ease in beginners to the world of beer tasting, without jargon like yeastiness or top fermentation.
“In case women join us and say ‘what do I order, I don’t know what I like,’ all the Belgian beer styles are in it,” she says of the wheel. In French and Dutch, women can seek out flavours like peach, mint or citrus, and turn the wheel.
According to a recent report by Flemish Food Consumer Organization VLAM more than 60% of Belgian women find that beer is just as much of a woman’s drink as a man’s.
In the survey of 1,000 Belgian women between 25 and 54 years of age, a third (33%) said they drink beer, and 89% said that they are proud of Belgian beer. The survey also debunked the myth that women generally prefer fruit beer. Women who regularly drink beer, are more likely to order a lager or a Belgian speciality beer such as a tripel. “If I feel like an ordinary beer, I sip a Vedett or Passchendaele,” said one respondent. “But if I am looking for something special, then I choose an Omer, Leffe, Grimbergen and Rochefort. These are heavier beers, so I’ll only drink one.”
The Apero National will be truly national, with bars in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels taking part and courtesy of Tourism Flanders, women arriving into Belgium via Brussels Airport or the Eurostar will also be treated to a free beer.
Women will also be able to avail themselves of a free copy of Belgian Beer and Food Magazine’s Women and Beer Issue, at many of the participating bars and at the Eurostar welcome area.
See http://www.fiersdenosbieres.be/aperonational for more details.
Belgian Beer and Food The Women and Beer Issue with Sofie Vanrafelghem.