The Tart of the matter

Type the word “tart” into Google, and the first result is from the Urban Dictionary website, which gives the following definition:

A nubile young temptress, who dresses teasingly and provocatively. “Man, look at those thigh-high stockings and that little schoolgirl dress. She’s such a tart.”

The Twitter beer world descended into (relative) chaos on Wednesday when user @BottleBog re-tweeted this for the attention of respected beer writer and campaigner for equality in the beer world, Melissa Cole:

The tweet is by Thornbridge Brewery, heralding news of its collaboration with the equally esteemed Wild Beer Co. Melissa made her feelings clear, and a lengthy, and at times, ill-humoured Twitter-spat ensued. If I understand correctly, her contention is that the use of the word “Tart” gives permission, or at least an opportunity, to less enlightened pub patrons to abuse female bar staff (“I’ll have a pint of Tart, Tart” – you know the type of guff). I’m inclined to agree; these morons need little encouragement, and will view the use of this term by a brewery as a validation of their questionable views. I hope those who came up with the name didn’t have the pejorative, sexist meaning in mind – sour beers do tend to have a tart quality, after all. But even if it was a mere oversight, this presents an equally troublesome issue: the failure to think. The beer world has come a long way in the last few years when it comes to challenging sexism, with websites such as Pumpclip Parade naming and shaming the worst offenders, but this episode is a disappointing setback in the ongoing war for equality in beer.

For the record, I love the beer produced by both Thornbridge and the Wild Beer Co.; and if you takeaway the silly name, this particular beer sounds incredible. It’s just a pity that an inability to think, and a distinct lack of empathy, has made this sour beer a particularly acrid one.

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