Other European countries with their own rich and ancient brewing traditions have long embraced smaller glasses filled with stronger more flavourful brews rather than pounding 12 pints of straw-coloured mass-produced lager on a Saturday night. The Dutch drink their “small beers” from a ‘vaasje’ (a small vase) or a ‘fluitje’ (a small flute) dependent on the Amsterdam establishment you find yourself in. Ordering a pint in Paris, is often greeted with the words “here is your very big beer” and some non-distinct but unnerving whisperings. 125ml galopin servings of blonde beer are commonplace, you can even order one for lunch and sound both cultured and responsible. “I’ll have the meal deal and a pint of Carling” doesn’t sound quite as sophisticated. If you were to order a beer in a Spanish bar, the standard serving is a caña – a glass with a volume of 200 millilitres, just over a third of the size of a British pint. We’re somewhat obsessed with pints and the machismo we attach to their downing. It’s hard to deny that we submerge a sense of national pride deep inside a pint of beer – the reality of a night filled with pints is rarely inspiring.
This isn’t a recommendation that everyone start sipping shandy down the pub, quite the opposite. Why not opt for a bottle of barley wine? You know who drank barley wine? Knights, with swords and armour, and a horse, also wearing armour. If you drank a pint of barley wine you’d probably think you were a knight, and that the local supermarket was a snarling demonic beast with neon eyes and an army of metallic creatures on wheels. Boozy double IPAs overflowing with hoppy flavour are rather popular at the minute aren’t they? If you drink a pint of 10% DIPA then twenty-minutes later your perception of time and space will have likely been altered, plus your legs will now be independent to your brain.