Belladonna Took wrote to say, “I would like to know about beer. Is it indeed served at room temperature in Britain? And is it real beer with hops and lifeforms in it, and not the chemically scrubbed cat piss that passes for beer over here [in the U.S.]? (I’m not referring to the good stuff one can get from a microbrewery, of course, but the stuff sold in supermarkets.) What about alcohol content? I’m pretty sure it’s lower here.”
Gee, Belladonna, I wish you’d tell how you really feel. Don’t be hold back.
I had to ask around, because it’s been so many years since I ingested alcohol that I don’t remember if it comes in a solid or a gaseous form.
First I asked Google about alcohol content and read that British beer is weaker than American—below 5%, although that will vary from brand to brand and from time to time. I also learned that British brewers, or at least some of them, began making their beer weaker in 2012 because it’s cheaper that way. For them, of course, not for the customer. They probably figured nobody would notice, and since nobody’s burned down the breweries they were probably right. Then I read a list of the alcohol content of American beers and it ranged all place, but some of it was below 5%. So the definitive answer is that it’s complicated and you should never trust me with numbers. But the British stuff is probably weaker.
Sorry, Belladonna. Don’t shoot the messenger.
Next, I asked M., who’s tasted both American and British beer. She said that beer is definitely served at room temperature in the U.K., as is ale, and that they have a richer taste than American beer, so I’m guessing that takes them out of the cat piss category.
A brief interruption here: I have an elderly cat who’s asked me to put it on the record that her piss is nothing at all like American beer and is altogether lovely. She was offended, but if you’d offer a bit of fish by way of apology, Belladonna, I’m sure the incident would be forgotten.
M. also said that lager is more like American beer and is served cold.
And hops? I didn’t ask anyone about this, but yes, hops are involved in both countries. You can’t summon beer out of thin air, even when the beer in question tastes like you did..
Finally, since I was at singers’ night at the pub anyway, I raised the subject there and learned why beer’s served at room temperature and lager’s served cold: Beer’s brewed at room temperature, so its taste develops and is at its best at that temperature. Lager’s brewed in cool cellars and its taste etc. So—unlike so much in life—there’s actually a reason for this and it all makes sense.
And finally a note: This is a bonus post. I usually post twice a week, but I’m working my way through the questions people asked and, I dunno, it seemed like a good idea. Since I’m having a good time with this, I’m still accepting questions about either the U.S. or the U.K.