Saturday 24 October 2015

An American's view of British drinkers

I was irritated by the BBC's coverage of certain aspects of the visit to the UK of President Xi Jinping of China. While I have serious reservations about the deal concerning the new nuclear power station, it's not that particularly piqued me. It was the stage managed visit to the pub, especially when the BBC newsreader referred to the President being given a pint of warm beer, thus reinforcing the stereotype promulgated by John Major 22 years ago: "Britain will still be the country of long shadows on cricket grounds, warm beer ..."

Another foreigner, Scott Waters from the USA, has visited us recently for a long holiday. He has written about his impressions of life in Britain, and these have been circulating on the Internet. His observations are quite witty, many pertinent, and I'd say quite affectionate, although it's clear that some of our ways are slightly mystifying. It's always interesting to see an outsider's view of ourselves. I have extracted from his list those comments that refer to drink:

I was in England again a few weeks ago, mostly in small towns, but here's some of what I noticed: 
  • The pubs close too early. 
  • Pubs are not bars, they are community living rooms. 
  • If someone buys you a drink you must do the same. 
  • Avoid British wine and French beer. 
  • Beer comes in large, completely filled, actual pint glasses and the closer the brewery the better the beer. 
  • The beer isn't warm, each style is served at the proper temperature. 
  • Cider (alcoholic) is quite good. 
  • Excess cider consumption can be very painful. 
  • Drinks don't come with ice. 
  • Every pub seems to have a pet drunk. 
  • Their coffee is mediocre but the tea is wonderful.
  • The universal greeting is "Cheers" (pronounced "cheeahz" unless you are from Cornwall, in which case it's "chairz")

It's interesting that an American tourist understood beer temperature better than a British newsreader or a former British PM. To anyone who's not convinced: if you think our beer's warm, try having a bath in it. You won't linger.

Have a look at the full list - it's here.

1 comment:

  1. I picked up that pathetic comment, typical lazy BBC reporting. Always fall back on cliché.

    I'm glad you highlighted Scott's comments as often pertinent and affectionate; it was one of the best analyses of our country I've read.


Comments, including disagreements, are welcome.
Abuse and spam are not and will be deleted straight away.
Comment moderation is installed for older posts.