american or british

Uriel   Mon May 08, 2006 4:20 pm GMT
Bailey's makes anything taste better!

I like both coffee and tea, myself. Hot chocolate, of course, is even better!
Rick Johnson   Mon May 08, 2006 4:36 pm GMT
<<I've never seen a tea shop.>>

In Britain they're only really found in rural tourist hotspots.

In answer to the question about Canada and tea- it's about the only place outside of the UK where I've been served a proper cup of tea. And beer comes in proper pint (20 oz) glasses, not the 16 oz ones that they call a pint in the US. However, in defence of the US they do have quite a selection of decent local beers, something which is sadly becoming more rare in the UK!
Damian in Dun Eidann   Mon May 08, 2006 6:37 pm GMT
I don't think that tea shops are only found in rural touristy spots....there seem to be some in a district of Edinburgh called's a wee bit of a posh residential suburb full of proper residential suburban elderly ladies who speak in the famous (and much derided here in Scotland) posh residential suburban version of the Edinburgh accent and I reckon they all meet up there to gossip over china tea cups and posh residential suburban cakes.

OK I know about English beer....some of it is great and some of it is unadulterated gnats pee...I had some of it in London over the week but if you want the proper stuff try this (och I doing a wee bit of the Adams here) Nae matter... it's just great to be back hame.

We have the best up here....if you've no tried the Belhavens or Skulsplitter you havenae been to heaven in your life!

A Guide to Scottish Beer

I Thought They Just Drank Whisky. The Scots do that as well. However, a lot of beer is drunk in Scotland. Scotland has all the commonly-seen beers of the British Isles (ie, from watery yellow to black as tar) but mostly with a Scottish spin. They also drink the trendy foreign ones in Scotland, but that's of no consequence here. The number of breweries in Scotland is also somewhat large; the number of microbreweries is increasing by the year. One of the nicer things is that your average pub will sell this microbrewery produce. The Scots have been brewing for thousands of years, with Fraoch being the first beer about 2000 years ago, which incidently has recently made a comeback. Anyway, onto the stuff itself.

60, 70, 80, 90/-

/- means shilling1 in British Imperial lingo and these beers used to be taxed according to their alcohol content. Thus, as you increase the shilling value, the beer gets darker and stronger. 80/- (or just 80 as it is often called) is popular.

80/- is also known as 'heavy', which is very useful when you can't be bothered picking a name. This also covers 70/- when the selection is bad. Please note that this only works in Scotland; if you're in England you should ask for a pint of bitter, in which case, you'll get something similar.

McEwans/Belhaven 80/-

McEwans 80/- is palatable and Belhaven 80/- is drinkable, if there's nothing else. They are similar in taste and content and can therefore be judged together:

Belhaven 90/-

Now this, on the other hand, is a pint a lot of Scots would crawl over hot coals to drink. Mostly due to the fact that after a pint most people wouldn't be able to feel the pain anymore, it having an astoundingly high alcohol content. It also has the lovely touch of tasting like totally harmless barley sugar.

Caley 80/-

This beer is the standard by which all Scots Heavies should be measured. Caledonian 80/- having won the Camra2 Champion Beer of Scotland several years in a row - is a fine pint. Meaty enough to give you something to chew on, but light enough to enable continued drinking. Almost never bags you up and creates the well-known 'two pints of Caley' (2POC) feeling. The 2POC feeling is unique to Caley 80 - simply drink two pints, put on some Pink Floyd and relax. Man.

Isle of Skye Red/Black Cuillin

Ah - the greatest beer on Earth from the most beautiful island on Earth. After drinking this you will feel ten feet tall and almost certainly bulletproof. The Red is light-ish, but satisfying, while the black is deep and malty - only a couple of these are required to slip into blissfull relax mode. The Black's a bit heavy for continued drinking, but the Red can be consumed all night long. A good brewing process also makes for little or no after-effects. The only downside is that it's difficult to get hold of outside the island.

Tomintoul Wildcat

A five percent-er, this one grabs you by the privates and shakes you round its head - sharp and strong tasting, don't attempt to down this one, or you'll have the clawmarks on your throat to prove it. An ideal third or fourth pint, to pep up a slow session, but not recommended as an opening gambit.

Stuff Made by a Bloke in Strathhaven, Lanarkshire

Fraoch, Heather Ale, is officially made to an ancient Celtic recipe involving heather flowers and it's lovely. According to the bumph on the back of the bottle, this is the stuff on which the Magic Potion of Asterix3 fame is based. They also make Grozet (Gooseberries) and Alba (Pine Cones) both of which are strange tasting, but not unpleasant.


India Pale Ale is an English-style ale which dates back to the British Empire. India Pale Ale became the only brew that could survive the long sea journey from England to India. IPAs were traditionally brewed to mature while being shipped from Britain to India and were heavily hopped to stay fresh.

In the 18th Century, although India was self-sufficient in most things, the hot, humid climate was not conducive to brewing beer. For the British colonists residing in India, the situation was intolerable, to say the least. So traders from London began shipping this pale ale to India, promising that this brew would arrive clean, dry, sparkling, and full of flavour. It did, and India Pale Ale became a popular choice not only in India, but in England as well.

That aside, it's a very pleasent pint. Should you find yourself slightly ahead of the game during a night's drinking and wish to cut back, IPA is for you. A particularly good version is Deuchers IPA, made by the same guys that do Caley 80/-. It's light, refreshing and all the other things lager claims to be.


Dark Island and Skullsplitter are the two main drinks from Orkney. Skullsplitter speaks for itself.

Orkney Dark Island

Whahey!!! The mysterious Dark Island tastes like it's kiddy juice, and begs for you to finish the keg - but beware - beneath its taste, lies a hit which will leave you flying. Deep, dark and chewy - it's the big pint that really satisfies.

1 Before 1971, the British money system was pounds, shillings and pence, known as the Imperial system (the current money system in Britain is known as the decimal system).
2 Camra is an organisation which campaigns for the promotion and production of real ale.
3 Asterix was a cartoon Gaulish warrior and a magic potion gave him super human strength.
Jim C, York   Mon May 08, 2006 9:24 pm GMT
If I'm not sure if I'll be ok to drive on a pint of the stronger stuff I have an IPA, Deuchers normaly, a very nice ale. You have a shed load of different beverages up your way! I had no idea!

Ive got a whole window cill full of Yorkshire Bitters, so for balance....

Unlike Scotland, Bitter is Bitter and its down to the brewer to decide the recipe etc. We don't have the same grading like they do over the border. So if there is a guest ale on tap, you don't know what your getting, best to ask the lad in the corner what its like if your new to world of real ales.

On to a small selection of what I my favourite bitters.

"Riggwelter: from the Old Norse: rigg-back and velte – to overturn. When a sheep is on its back and cannot get up without help, local Yorkshire dialect says it is rigged or riggwelted. Riggwelter is a full flavoured strong Yorkshire ale brewed using the unusual Yorkshire Square fermentation system. The result is a well balanced, deep chestnut coloured ale."

Its nie on 6% as well, meaning you'll be on your back in no time ;)

The company that makes this bitter is Black Sheep in Masham, who's bog standard bitter is my favourite, at 4.4% it'll get you through the night in style.

Old Peculiar "The Legend" is another great bitter from Masham, this time from the brewer Theakston, 5.6%, and is pretty famous.

Yorkshire Terrier, "A premium bitter with a rich, creamy malt and full hop palate finish.

The story goes that one of the original brewers in York had a pet dog, which he would take to work. He would tie the dog alongside the Mash Tun where it would wait patiently all day for the work to be done. The dog remained loyal to the brewer for many years until, due to old age, the dog died. Curiously the brewer believed that the dog's loyalty continued after its death and that, in spirit, it remained with him. Unexplained happenings began, and the spirit developed a mischievous and characterful presence. Yorkshire Terrier Bitter continues the story and its lively character reflects all that is good in " man's best friend ".

ABV 4.2%"

But for the Daddy of all brewerys visit

Samuel Smith, the best beers, and the best pubs.
Rick Johnson   Mon May 08, 2006 9:30 pm GMT
Guide to Glaswegian Beer

I Thought They Just Drank Meths. The Glaswegians do that as well. However, a lot of beer is drunk in Glasgow. Some of my favourites are by the Houston Brewing Company...........damn fine ales!!
Ed   Tue May 09, 2006 1:17 am GMT
It depends what you mean by a tea shop, the fancy ones are only generally found in tourist places, but every town has a variety of less touristy places.

Tea is also served correctly in South Africa, I would assume such would be the case in any country that has had relatively recent links with Britain.

On the other hand I had some fairly apalling tea in Cuba, and the weak dishwater-like liquid served at Starbucks is rather similar.
Jim C, York   Tue May 09, 2006 3:28 am GMT

I thought this was rather funny, explaining Pubs to children.
Hermione   Tue May 09, 2006 8:41 am GMT
>>In answer to the question about Canada and tea- it's about the only place outside of the UK where I've been served a proper cup of tea<<

Outside "of"?

You obviously haven't seen much of the former Empire, Rick.
Uriel   Tue May 09, 2006 9:07 am GMT
I despise all beer, unfortunately. Nasty stuff.

What exactly constitutes a "proper" cup of tea, anyway? How hard is it to set a bag of leaves in hot water and NOT get the same results everywhere? Or are we back to the milk thing?
Jim C, York   Tue May 09, 2006 9:18 am GMT
A University acutaly worked out the formula for the perfect cup of tea, ill have a look for it today and post later. To me it deffinatly is how long you let it mass for, and how many scoops, or bags of tea you use in you pot. Milk pouring has to be accurate also.
lu   Tue May 09, 2006 12:31 pm GMT
Do you always pour milk in your tea??
Damian on tea break   Tue May 09, 2006 3:11 pm GMT
All this stuff about making a "perfect Brit cup of tea" is all blethery crap. I think it goes back to the days when the sweet old ladies I told you about made it with loose leaves in a china teapot with straight off the boil water from the kettle, stirred (but not shaken), left to infuse under a wee woollen tea cosy, then given another stir and left a wee while longer then poured out of the pot into their wee china teacups and then the milk poured into it from the dinky wee milk jug and then a sugar lump or two or more maybe added to taste.

Nobody normal makes tea like that now....who the **** has the time? What happens here in Britland is this - a tea bag is dumped into a huge mug, preferably one with whatever motif or slogan you Heart of Midlothian FC.....then boiling water is poured into the mug, then with a teaspoon it's sloshed around and around and around until it's the desired strength, then the soggy tea bag is taken out and dumped then milk poured in and stirred around...with our without sugar. I once saw a bloke in a restaurant put six spoonfuls into his mug....I asked him if he needed a hand to stir it. Me: - without sugar, not too much milk but so strong it probably tannin stains the gullet on the way doon to the waim. That's for started in the morning.......then it's mostly coffee at work...again - strong and black and really hot Leo in Leith :-)
Damian   Tue May 09, 2006 3:19 pm GMT
started = starters....a wake up brew

There are a whole range of words in the UK for the act of making tea, depending where you mask, to brew, to mash, to wet, to soak. Fancy a mask? in Scotland or "hey pal, it's your turn to make a brew!"
Jim C, York   Tue May 09, 2006 4:32 pm GMT
We used to use loose tea in our house, they stopped selling it though. Still make a big brew up for every one in a pot, a single mug affair like you say is what I do if im by my self.

I think most people know how to make a decent cuppa, so the idea of a perfect brew isn't relavent, but if you have ever had a really awfull cup of tea, you'll understand that it can ruin your afternoon.
Rick Johnson   Tue May 09, 2006 6:29 pm GMT
It isn't a question of the perfect cup of tea as Uriel says "How hard is it to set a bag of leaves in hot water and NOT get the same results everywhere?"

In many countries the teabags vary greatly from those sold in Britain. When I was in Australia many of the teabags were very small and produced very weak tea. The closest I found, eventually, was Bushell's extra strong teabags for homesick poms!