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Pregnant Women Should Treat Craft Beer Like Wine


Since my first pregnancy nearly seven years ago, I have heard the tales of women whose obstetricians or midwives condoned or recommended they occasionally consume a small glass of red wine to help with anxiety and stress. Not being much of a wine drinker at the time, my typical reaction was to shrug, smile and nod, and go on with life. Even after I developed a taste for it, it was still not something I missed during pregnancy. Although midwives and OBs okayed or suggested it, I still simply shrugged.

Here I am, now, at nine weeks pregnant with our fourth child, and I don’t miss or crave the Merlot or the Malbec. Instead, I envy that freshly poured pint of homebrew my husband just brought up from the basement. I wish I could taste that bock we just brewed, and I miss not getting to try the local brewery’s latest creation.

Before anyone gets all huffy, this is not an article about fetal alcohol syndrome or whether alcohol during pregnancy should be allowed or banned. There are plenty of articles out there, and studies to go along with the official recommendations from groups like American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and I trust women to make their own decisions about whether to partake.

A pregnant woman spends 40 weeks weighing risks, browsing studies, devouring books, and hearing advice before making decisions regarding everything from giving in to her sudden deli meat craving to taking the Zofran prescription for her unending nausea. Alcohol is just one of many decisions women make, and thankfully in this country—at least for now—we have the freedom to do so.

Craft Beer Is Rising to Wine Level

This article isn’t about any of that. It’s about beer. Good beer. Craft beer. Although many may call me a beer snob, I leave pretentious critiques to my fellow craft beer enthusiasts. Less than desiring to impress with my thoughts on aromas and mouthfeel, I’m simply interested in enjoying the craft itself.

While beer has primarily been viewed as a mere means to a drunken end, craft beer shoves aside the red plastic cups and demands a more serious audience.

Craft beer is just that—a craft. It’s an art, and with the explosion of craft beer and home brewing, the image of beer is shifting. While beer has primarily been viewed as a mere means to a drunken end, craft beer shoves aside the red plastic cups and demands a more serious audience. This beer isn’t meant to be gulped down at frat parties, consumed via keg stand, or pinged by poorly lobbed ping pong balls. Not simply a tool for inebriation—although, of course, some do use it as such—it is instead a composition to appreciate.

The shift is happening, and craft beer is rising in the ranks of society to stand with the former focus of snobbery—wine. While wine once stood front and center in all its refinement, craft beer nudges up beside. Menus offer craft beer pairings. Restaurants hire certified cicerones (the beer equivalent of sommeliers in the wine world). Beer is no longer reserved for tailgates. It has grown up, and deserves some respect.

Yet still some doctors and midwives recommend wine, while giving craft beer the cold shoulder. Why?

Reason 1: Wine Has Health Benefits

Certainly this is true, yet studies show craft beer has health benefits, as well—perhaps more so. Plus, craft beer is generally lower in alcohol, with an average range of 4 to 10 percent, compared to the approximate 11 to 16 percent of most red wines—as seen in this handy infographic.

Reason 2: Women Prefer Wine

Women have not made up a large portion of the craft beer drinker demographic thus far, but I believe we’ll see this changing as more and more women get into home brewing—just check out the Pink Boots Society—and find craft beer is as varied in flavor, body, and feel as their beloved wine.

Reason 3: Wine Has Always Been the Recommendation

And we all know how people—even medical professionals—dislike change.

Again, I’m not advocating for women to consume either beverage during pregnancy. This is simply about beer—a beverage sloughing off its former rough-edged, lowbrow image in an effort to rise above circumstance, perception, and stereotypes. This is about the American dream!

Or perhaps it’s just the mad rantings of a pregnant craft beer-loving home brewer’s wife with 31 weeks to go—but who’s counting?