27 October 2008

Beer by the Litre

Back home in the UK where small quantities of beer turn the typical city centre into a late night war zone every weekend the prospect of our 'lager louts' chugging back beer by the litre rather than the pint is frightening. (In case your grasp of litres and pints is a little hazy you should know that one litre is equivalent to 1.76 UK pints or 2.11 US pints.)

Here, though, beer by the litre is commonplace, especially in beer tents and beer gardens. In some of these, depending on the kind of beer you are ordering, a litre is the only option.

Nor are these one litre measures the preserve of young men. On summer mornings, while walking my dog in the English Garden, I regularly came across respectable middle-aged German men at the Chinese Tower supping their litres while perusing Süddeutsche Zeitung.

At Oktoberfest, where beer by the litre is the only option, everyone was partaking - men and women, old and young, locals and visitors, respectable and not so respectable. A handful of older couples, who were perhaps no longer up to the challenge, would buy one and share it between them.

In restaurants the beer is more commonly served by the half litre but even here I now decide whether to have another on the basis of how many litres I have consumed. I'm not a heavy drinker - I have no desire to be drunk. But, whereas in the UK I would have limited myself to two or three pints, I now find that I am limiting myself to two or three litres.

Of course, sometimes I would happily swap two litres of the local brew for a pint of something different. But that's something for the next post.

(The picture above is courtesy of the Bavarian Brewers Federation, Munich, Germany.)

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