When I was in England, I couldn’t help but notice that my drinking preferences completely clashed with those of my female companions. While I craved heady British ales, my galpals opted for gin and elderflower cordial (which I could enjoy) and pink wine (which I could not). Later, an English girl I encountered in Toronto would confirm what I had already suspected: that “nice” girls across the pond simply do not drink beer in public. Me and my pints must have been a terrible embarrassment.

Thankfully, drinking beer is okay here. A swig of lager doesn’t make you a “chav;” it makes you normal. It, after the requisite double double, is the beverage ‘of the people’ around these parts. This means that if you happen to be one of those poor, unfortunate souls who can’t digest gluten, you may as well hang your head in surrender.

My friend J is one of these people.  She and I had dinner yesterday evening at a cheap and cheerful bar where one cannot possibly order anything but a beer, and the dilemma presented itself: do we chance it with wine? Do we risk the shame of vodka? No, she decided. It had to be beer.

To J’s luck, the place sold a gluten-free beer. Even luckier, it’s a tasty one. It’s from Quebec and it’s called Messagère, made of buckwheat and rice. It’s a beer I would choose to drink, even though I don’t have to. You know, because I’m a “nice girl.” Etcetera.