Australian Beers and Beer Measures
In my earlier post about drinking and driving in Australia, I mentioned I’d had two Cascade Lights and they were only schooners. I promised I would clear all that up and so I will.
Mids, Lights and Heavies.
We never much had this sort of thing in England, but I think it would be a good idea if we did. Mids, lights and heavies are well established terms that refer to the strenghts of beers.
A light beer will typically have an alcohol by volume of around 2.6% so it is closer to a lemonade them a real beer. But, in fairness to lights, they do taste a bit like beer whereas the “low alcohol” beers I remember in England simply tasted like, well I’m reminded of gnats again. Not nice!
Mids are usually around 3.3% to 3.5% alcohol by volume and here in Queensland XXXX Gold is hugely popular. It even acts as a currency; want to give a tradie a tip? Bung him a carton of Gold.
Apparently, back in the 1970s and early 80s, drink driving was more or less an Australian sport. When the government realised that this sport was killing people, they clamped down on it. The 0.5 alcohol limit was introduced and to the astonishment of the average Australian bloke, drivers were getting arrested! The breweries, concerned when sales started to fall, came out with mids.
So, mids were originally brought to market for drivers, but these days they have become very popular for all drinkers, but in particular those who do not want to wake up in the morning feeling like they slept all night in a tumble drier. The success of mids lead to the creation of lights.
Then there are heavies. Heavies have an alcohol by volume content of about 4.5% or more. My preference is for what is called XXXX Bitter, (red box, 4.6%) but I have no idea why they call it bitter. Its lager!
So, if you recall my incident when I was breathalysed at an RBT over at Bateman’s Bay I had had two Cascade lights just before I was breathalysed. I’ve got to tell you, this system works. If I had had two heavies I am sure I would have failed. As I am a guzzler, having just one drink probably wouldn’t have worked for me. So I love the system.
What’s a Schooner Then?
This is going to get a little bit confusing. Remember we have eight different territories/states and each has its own rules. Let’s start where I am in Queensland. A Schooner is 425 mL so it’s about three quarters of a pint and is probably the most common measurement that a typical Aussie man would ask for in a bar. Alternative measures are a pot, which sounds bigger but isn’t, it’s 285 mL. Or you could ask for a glass which would be 200 mL.
Over in New South Wales, schooners and glasses are the same but a pot is called a middie. In Victoria it is all the same as Queensland but in South Australia a glass becomes a butcher, a pot turns into the schooner and a pint is only 425 mL, which is a schooner in everybody else’s language.
In Western Australia a glass is a bobby, a pot is a glass and a schooner is a pot, according to some sources. But others say it works out the same as it is in Queensland except a pot is a middie as it is in New South Wales. That’s because in Western Australia a pot is 575 mL which is slightly more than a pint but close enough to be called a pint by all the English people who live there.
I am not making this up, it’s for real.
In Northern Territory a schooner is a schooner but a pot is a handle and a glass is a seven. Although another source tells me that a glass is a six not seven, because the seven is actually a pot and the handle is 425 mL which of course, in most other places is a schooner.
Stick with me on this, we only have Tasmania left to go.
In Tassie, just as in N.T. (probably) a glass is a seven. But a pot is a ten and a pint only 425 mL.
If it all appears confusing, throw this into the mix. No Aussie bloke worth his salt will go into a bottle-o and buy a four pack can of beer that is held together with some plastic loops around the top of the cans. He would buy a carton of beer. This is a box of 24 bottles or, sometimes, 30 cans of beer. And the size of those bottles or cans? 375 mL.
And that’s a measure that is not available in any of the pubs in any of the seven states/territories. But it’s what we drink around the home and at barbecues all the time and they are called stubbies (for bottles) and tinnies (for cans).
There. Told you I’d clear it all up. Now I need a pint!
And Now: The Weather.
If ever there was a day that could be regarded as the middle of winter here in Queensland, today is it. If ever there was a day that could be regarded as the height of summer in England, then today would fit too.
My thanks to Google for the info. This is a feature I will be bringing to you each year, you lucky people. This is how it turned out last year. Although my blog hasn’t been going for that long, I did mention it halfway down a post I made about Surfers Paradise. Check it out, it’s no fluke.