Friday, February 1

Secret schooners unmasked

Last Saturday we caught up with friends for lunch. However, our afternoon soon morphed into a evening at the pub that continued until closing time. Thank goodness for Burger King, purveyors of fine dining for the intoxicated. Its hallowed halls fuelled us for the night bus, reminding me of another subtle difference between Australia and the UK.

It took me more than a year to work out why three beers in Australia found me in fine form, while three in London left me much worse for wear. At first I put it down to the random cruelty of getting older. That is, until someone pointed out I was drinking the equivalent of a fourth beer after three transactions at the bar.

In Sydney we typically order beer on tap by the schooner - the largest glass behind the bar. Each one contain 425 ml of amber fluid. The same order in London is served using a pint glass. At 568 ml a pint glass contains at least 143 ml more than a schooner. Three such pints and you've unwittingly downed a fourth glass by Australian standards.

Futhermore, the average alcohol content of most tap beer in the UK is higher - up to 1.0% more. As a result, as a third pint glass empties, I've consumed the equivalent of a fifth schooner. The mystery of my London hangovers has been solved. Thank goodness for 11.00pm closing.

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