q. for English dopers on beer and pubs

I was in you country, near King’s Lynn working and living for four months in the summer of 1975. I had a great time. Both the culture of beer and pubs in the countryside was so different from North America, but judging from the discussions of the time, 1975 was clearly a time of transition as well. Which brings me to the several questions I have as follows.

Do you still get bitter ale served at room temperature?. My favourite was Norwich Bitter.
Do you get your lager served refridgerated? By 1975, the big breweries had introduced lager, without refridgeration, yuck, and publicans were losing half the beer on pouring in order to provide the full measure.
** Are there still people who swear that top pressure affects the taste of beer?**
** Have the British accepted the white line as the full measure?** In 1975 a lot of guys still demanded their ale to be brought up to the rim.
Are pubs still shut down in the afternoon? The guys I knew had a weekly program of market days in various villages in order to get around that restriction.
** What does a pint cost now?** In 1975, I paid 19 p for a pint. When I got back to Canada, a pint cost $1.00Cdn. The exchange wa s roughly 2to1, so you could say a Canadian beer cost 50 p. Now, a pint costs $4.00Cdn
Are the pubs still as friendly?. Of course I’m talking about the pubs in the towns. Everywhere I went except London, people struck up friendly conversation with me. I’m sure that everyone in Sutton Bridge knew me, and I felt quite secure in striking up a conversation with anyone in the pub. IMHO, it takes a lot more effort for a stranger to get to know people in North America.

Yes, absolutely.

Yes, if bottled. Tap lagers are usually cool if not cold.

My dad does, probably.

Not really. I don’t recall seeing white lines on a lot of beer glasses nowadays. It seems to be regarded as a “minimum point” rather than the right amount.

Not the ones I go to. There’s certainly no widespread restriction on it these days.

It depends where you are. Pubs in London can charge up to £2.40 for lager (although this is regarded as expensive), although bitter tends to be cheaper. The further from London, the further north and the further away from major cities you go the cheaper it gets. The average price of a pint across the UK broke £2.00 last year.

I can only speak for London at the moment, so I don’t know about small towns or villages. Sorry.


Originally posted by grienspace
Do you still get bitter ale served at room temperature?

Yes, but I have seen a few Guinness taps that are chilled too.

Yes, most of it is but not all, there is a trend toward drinking bottled lager, mostly by the young who don’t realise that they’re paying nearly twice the price - mugs.

The highly gassed beers are generally pretty poor, if you want decent ale you avoid outlets that sell this stuff, it’s just a substitute for taste.

In many if not most pubs the pumps deliver the correct amount automatically so the white line is just a reassurance to the drinker. Hand pumps do not however and if my pint is even a little short I ask for it to be filled, usually with a comment like “Has the tide gone out ?”

Licensing hours are far more liberal now. The Scots experimented with all day opening first and found that far from causing increased drunkeness and disorder it actually reduced it. This was put down to the fact that drinkers had more time and were not rushing everything before being put outside which led to lots of tanked up people on the streets at the same time - all looking for taxis, takeaways etc which are well known drunk flashpoints.

Now to make Matt feel envious - beer round in Caslteford, just outside Leeds, usually costs around £1.60 but you can often find guest beers at around £1.30 or in the various working mens clubs, British Legion and political association clubs you can get your ale for around £1 a pint.

Depends on the place, in small villages people will often talk to you, I find free houses are generally better, perhaps because the landlord is the owner and makes more of an effort.
There are pubs that are designed to be almost like nightclubs, these are pretty impersonal, the emphasis is on shifting product, there are usually several gaming machines, lots of noise so that communication is difficult and loads of young folk trying to ‘big it up’.

I’ll throw in my two penn’orth…

Definitely, on hand-pulled beers, as it should be!

Yes, as the others have said. Bottled lagers in the fridge, and coolers on the cask lagers. Guinness also became available as “Extra Cold” in the last couple of years.

I’d always rather have a proper hand-pulled pint, certainly. The pressure-fed ones are rather tasteless, I think.

Some pubs still have pint-to-line glasses, but the vast majority don’t. I prefer it, myself, 'cause I like a head on my beer, but I don’t want a short measure. I read recently that the J.D. Wetherspoon chain of pubs had tried re-introducing pine-to-line, but withdrew it following customer complaints. I don’t see what there would be to complain about, though.

They don’t have to, but some still do. It’s usually the ones that wouldn’t be busy anyway, in my experience.

Depends where you are. In my area (Berkshire), ales usually cost around £2.20 to £2.40 (though by choosing your pub carefully you can get down below £2), and stouts (especially Guinness) are a bit more: the pub next to our local cinema charged me £2.57 the other week.

Again, it depends on the pub. Busy pubs in large towns tend to be more impersonal than (say) free-houses in small villages. I also think pubs are friendlier in the north (and cheaper), but I’m probably biased, being a Yorkshireman!


There are two types of pint glasses: the glass which holds exactly a pint when full to the brim and the “oversize” glass, which has a white line indicating the pint level and a bit of room above it for the head.

The law as it currently stands allows a “reasonable” amount of head to be included in the pint measure, permitting publicans to serve a “pint” of beer that actually contains anything down to about 85% of a pint of liquid.

One of the obstacles to using oversized glasses was the so-called “long pull rule”, which made it an offence to serve a pint of beer which contained more than a pint of liquid. This sounds silly, but it was to prevent pubs competing on the size of their pints which, as well as making it more difficult for people to judge how much they were drinking, could have been used as a form of tax avoidance. This was abolished some time in the mid-1990s.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has been campaigning for oversized glasses to be a legal requirement. An attempt was made to change the law to this effect in 1998 with the Weights and Measures (Beer and Cider) Bill, but it failed due to lack of Parliamentary time.


Shouldn’t it be cellar temperature, bearing in mind that room temperature these days tends to be a lot higher than room temperature in “them days”

As for the white line, it’s to do with how the beer is served. There was concern that some drinkers were getting short measure where the head of a pint was accommodated within the glass, so a slightly larger glass was introduced. Of course, for those that like their beer without foam, it looked like they were getting a short measure.

Personally, I don’t find pubs as friendly anymore. Too many have been turned into ‘bars’ catering to a specific section of the market (young people with no tastebuds) rather than a good range of ages, occupations etc. AND they serve mostly lager or Boddingtons/John Smiths. It’s really sad that advertising budget counts for more than taste, and not surprising that more people now drink lager, given that choice. :frowning:

Sad but true, there is more profit in selling high price, pretty packaged, ‘designer’ drinks but sometimes the ‘beer of the moment’[sup]TM[/sup] just shows up image above content. I’ve seen young 'uns paaying exhorbitant prices for Bud, Tiger, Red Stripe and some disgusting Mexican thing and yet when you go the the countries that these brews come from they are regarded as being just regular beer or even worse.

I know a couple of experienced committee men from Working mens clubs and they tell me about the way the market is rigged by using beer subsidies from the brewers and the practice of selling lower standard beer to certain outlets but carrying the same name. If you were to follow a dray wagon about you would be surprised to see which pubs it delivers to and which pubs, ostensibly serving the same brew, it doesn’t. What happens is that those missed out pubs will get their dray delivery from a differant brewery.

Example - the best John Smiths comes from the Tadcaster brewery not far from where I live but it is also brewed under that name in Manchester and that is nothing like as good.

Both are owned by one brewery chain and the brewery offers more cashback per barrel from the Manchester brewery than the Tadcaster one, in fact they are careful to make sure that they never get mixed up.

Same thing happens with Tetleys and I’d bet it goes on across the industry.

That cheaper otulet may not be serving quite what you think.