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Denver girlfriends (from left) Hanna Camp, Alyssa Auck, Jackie Laundon and Annie Roethel enjoy the beers on tap during happy hour at Finn’s Manor in RiNo. —Photo by Kathryn Roethel Rieck

The Rise of the Girly Beers

Recent research finds that there are certain types of brews that females prefer—and they’re flying off the shelves. 

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Is there such thing as a girly beer? New survey data says yes—and they’re some of the fastest-rising brews on the market right now.

A Harris Poll published in late 2015 asked men and women to select their favorite types of beers from a list of 37 styles. Seventy-five percent of the brews listed were more preferable to men, but a few landed more frequently on the ladies’ lists. They include sour/American wild ales, fruit/vegetable/pumpkin-flavored beers, herb or spiced brews, shandies/radlers, Hefeweizens, blonde/golden ales, and Saison/farmhouse blends.

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Blonde/golden ale was the most frequent favorite among women, with 36 percent naming it one of their top styles. (It was also a favorite with 31 percent of men.) Ladies’ second preferred brew was fruit/vegetable/pumpkin (31 percent). Only 19 percent of guys put that category on their list. And the “girliest” beer of all? That distinction goes to sour/American wild ales, which women were 75 percent more likely than men to name as a favorite.

Consumer research group Nielsen recently aligned these poll results with craft beer sales data and found that all but one of the beers that females preferred—Hefeweizen—ranked in the top 20 for sales growth in 2015.

The research doesn’t come as a surprise to beer sellers in Denver. Dan Chacon, beer department manager and buyer at Argonaut Wine & Liquor, says sours are flying off the shelves, and shandies and radlers are especially popular in hot weather. But he hesitates to call any of them girly.

“I like all these beers,” says Chacon, who’s worked at Argonaut for nine years and watched these styles grow in popularity. “It’s not just women drinking them. I think all the different craft brewing styles have opened the doors for a lot of people to try beers they haven’t been introduced to before.”

Men are still responsible for almost two-thirds of the nation’s beer consumption, and Chacon points out that, overall, Argonaut’s top craft beer sellers are IPAs—a style men reported preferring more than women did (and one that is popular here in Denver). But, come fall, he says, there will be a surge in sales for another one of the women’s reported favorites. We’re just a few months away from pumpkin beer season.

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For ladies who want to raise a pint of one of these beers—or gentlemen who’d like to swing the data in their favor—here are a few good local options to try:

Dry Dock Brewing Co.’s Apricot Blonde: This apricot-flavored beer, canned by the Aurora-based brewery, is a top seller at Argonaut, and its new sister beer, the Apricot Sour, is proving nearly as popular.

Denver Beer Co.’s Princess Yum Yum Raspberry Kolsch: The seasonal beer is fermented with raspberries, but we give it extra points for this tagline: “Because there is a pretty pink princess in all of us.”

Spangalang Brewery’s Beatrice Saison: Available year-round, this saison has notes of clove and lemon. Spangalang also has a seasonal sour saison, Ethel, featuring citrus and tropical fruit.

Platt Park Brewing Company’s Watermelon Berliner Weisse: It’s sour and wheat and it has fruit flavors. Triple beer score.

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Bonfire Brewing’s Coloradler: You have to travel to Eagle, Colo., to get this one, but it’s worth the drive, as one of the few locally brewed radlers. If you thought this name was clever, you’ll love the rest of their menu.

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