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Ale Tales
One for you, One for me . . . . .

'Travelling by road from Kalgoorlie to Wiluna, in the far West,' the traveller told me , 'you pass through a township where , in the old days, the local publican was in the habit of always including himself in any round of drinks that was ordered. 'A couple of salesmen, who'd been that way before , decided it was time to pull old Bung up. One of them called for two beers, and made it abundantly clear that they wanted two beers only. 'Mine Host served them, took the money, and grabbed one of the beers for himself, saying, "Now which of you two bastards isnt drinking?"'

(Courtesy of Bill Wannan, "Folklore of the Australian Pub")

Did you know?
The familiar Scandinavian drinking toast "Sköl" derives from the word 'scole', the drinking bowl shaped like the upper half of a human skull. Originally, these bowls were fashioned from the actual skulls of enemies killed in battle.
Ye Olde Recruiting Centre
One of Englands oldest surviving Inn's, is Nottingham's 'Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem', established in 1189 AD. It is said that the venue was a recruiting centre for volunteers to King Richard the Lionheart for the crusade to Palestine.
Honey Moon
Around 4000 years ago, it was the accepted practice in Babylonia that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer, and because their calender was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know to day as the "Honey moon" .
Rule of Thumb
Before the invention of the thermometer, brewers used to check the brew temperature by dipping their thumb in, to find whether the time was appropriate for pitching in the yeast. Too hot, and the yeast would die. This is where we get the phrase "The Rule of the Thumb"
Too absorbed in his business?

In the 1890's, a brewer named Joseph Hartley was found floating , dead, in a gigantic vat of beer (valued then at £140) at the Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria. The contents of the Vat were run off down the street channels, under the vigilant supervision of a Customs Officer, and to the great grief of many spectators. A Melbourne newspaper at the time somewhat unsympathetically commented that he was "Too much absorbed in his business".

(Courtesy of Cyril Pearl, "Beer, Glorious Beer!")

Bards for the Barmaids

The noble art of the barmaid has delivered the freshest foaming pint to us for centuries, and many an ode and poem has been penned to the much put upon trade. Somewhat strangely, Herbert Hoover, whom became President of the United States in 1929, is one of those noted for dedicating an impassioned poem to the ladies of the bar. Whilst working as a mining engineer in Kalgoorlie, W.A, he took fancy to a barmaid working at Hannan's Hotel, and years later, wrote the following . . . .

Do you ever dream, my sweetheart, of a twlilight long a go, Of a park in old Kalgoorlie, where the bougainvilleas grow,

Where the moonbeams on the pathways trace a shimmering brocade, And the overhanging peppers form a lovers' promenade?

There are 22 more lines, abound with 'wild hot words'; 'summer madness'; and ' pent up fires of longing', ending with dreams that . . . .

Drift back where starts rain silver splendour from the skies To a park in old kalgoorlie, where the golden wattles grow,

Where you kissed me in the twilight of a summer long ago.

Could these words really be blamed on the effect of Hannans Lager??

(Courtesy of Cyril Pearl, "Beer, Glorious Beer!")

Shakespeare the Conner

During the mid-14th century, Ale-Conners were appointed by the City of London, with other towns following by creating local Ale Tasters. Duties included checking the measures in which ale was served and also monitoring the quality of ale on sale. They of course did not have any scientific equipment to perform these tasks, and relied solely on sight; smell and taste. Legend has it that by Elizabethan times they had another weapon in their armoury, their leather trousers. The Ale taster would pour ale onto a wooden bench, then settle himself upon it. If, after a certain period of time, his trousers stuck to the seat (or did not, depending on which version of the legend you prefer), then the ale was declared good. Ale Tasters and Conners continued to drop in at the pub for 400 years - John Shakespeare, William's father, was appointedAle Taster of Stratford upon Avon in 1556. But by 1750 they had taken on other roles, often as market inspectors, though they can be described as the prototype of the modern Trading Standards Officer. With the introduction of excise duty on beer, the quality and sale of beer came under the eye of the Revenue (Customs & Excise), but the Ale Conners still exist in London and appear on ceremonial occasions, especially the opening of a new pub!

(Courtesy of BLRA, "The Story of the Pub ")

No Room at the Inn

A certain Paddy Harrington, an original and witty man, was once mine host of the Lavers Hill Hotel, Victoria. Late one night he was awakened by loud banging and shouting at the front door. 'What do you want?' called Paddy , none too gracious, from his bedroom window. 'I want to stop here,' replied the traveller impatiently. 'Well stop there!' growled Paddy , slamming down the window to prevent any further invasion of his sleep.

(Courtesy of Bill Wannan, "Folklore of the Australian Pub")

 
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