I'm sometimes amused, or slightly irritated depending on my mood, by the language that certain real drinkers tend to use. For some reason, there can be a tendency to speak or write in the pompous style of a country squire bestowing his custom upon the local inn. Some examples:
Sample ~ drink. "I sampled the Timothy Taylor's ..." i.e. I had a pint of ...
Partake of ~ drink. "I think I'll partake of the Copper Dragon." i.e I'll have the ...
Wickets ~ row of handpumps.
A pint of your finest ~ pint, please.
Mine host ~ licensee, as in "Mine host in the Pint and Cliché was ..."
My good man ~ yes, I've heard this. Cringe-making.
Serving wench ~ I've actually heard this, and it's even more cringe-making.
Beer engine ~ handpump. Technically correct, but still naff, as hardly anyone uses the term.
It's no wonder that Viz magazine so tellingly took a pop with their 'Real Ale Twats' comic strip (worth googling), which Wikipedia described as, "Three rather pompous men who speak in an affected style and only drink real ale, even going so far as to keep extensive 'reviews' of all the real ales that they have supped. Also known to criticise lager drinkers."
In a recent CAMRA magazine I saw a female brewer described as a 'brewster', with an explanatory note that this was the term for a women brewer. Well, it was once, but it isn't now: a woman brewer today is called a brewer. My Collins Dictionary doesn't even list the word 'brewster' (except as a person's name), because it is now completely obsolete. You wouldn't refer to a woman working in a bakery as a 'baxter', or a woman who spins cloth as a 'spinster'. Explaining the obsolete word may be interesting, but using it as a current term is pretentious.
Then there are the dismissive terms for lager: chemical fizz, chemical lager and one I've only just come across, zombeers. It is here that real ale lingo ceases to amuse and begins to grate. I recall working at a beer festival (I forget which one) when a group of young women came and asked for lager. My neighbouring CAMRA stereotype folded his arms and said loftily, "This is a beer festival", so I stepped in and found them golden beers they were happy with. But he was wrong anyway: lager is a beer. If you're going to be a pedant, better make sure you get your facts right, but it was his attitude that was wrong: supercilious, bordering on hostile. No prizes for guessing whom they came to for their refills, which I didn't mind at all.
Does this matter at all? I think it does, because as a real ale drinker I don't want to associated with pomposity, pretension, crass condescension or arrogance. In my experience, most real ale drinkers don't talk or write like this, but those who do help reinforce the stereotypes that some people like to foist upon us all. Also, it makes sense, particularly when you are trying to communicate with the general public, to use everyday language. In-jokes, jargon, archaic language and gratuitously insulting people's drinks will at best make reading your text heavy-going and at worst put people off altogether. Not a successful method of getting your message across.
P.S. I'm surprised I omitted the word "quaff" for "drink" from my list.
Always look on the bright side
3 hours ago