Monday, December 4, 2006


A recurring theme with beer drinkers who have stepped off the Mainstream Lager Express and happily boarded the Slow Steam Engine Of Interesting Beer Styles is the problem of pronounciation. While the Beck’s and the DABs are reasonably easy to fire off, even after a few, many an intrepid quaffer has had his pride dented while trying to order a Schofferhofer Kristallweizen or, lord help him, a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel, only to receive a look akin to that given to someone who has just asked if they might poo in your hat.

Now, while many accomplished bar staff are very patient and forgiving when it comes to those who trip over their beer labels, many, unfortunately are not. Many times these bar staff ( or drink pourers, as I like to call them ) are happy to ‘correct you’ and in the following breath, mispronounce the same thing. Tossers. It is our responsibility - nay, duty, fellow Blokes, to keep correcting them - and embarrass them, if the opportunity arises. It’s the only way they’ll learn.
and, while you're there, see if they could possibly pour a pot without smacking the glass against the spout of the tap.
I will try, whenever possible to keep you abreast of Currently Recognized Accepted Pronounciations as they become available.

In my many restaurant/bar encounters with beer folk, I have learned to get my tongue around some of the more difficult brewery and beer monikers. A Dutchman recently spent 10 minutes walking me through the correct, native pronounciation of Hoegaarden - though the beer comes from Belgium - and I have since had this confirmed by another. Unless Dutchmen have a running gag to this effect and hold secret parties where they regale each other with stories of “scht-oopid O-sis I hef fyooled “. I doubt this, tho’ as we are talking about beer drinkers here. Anyway, most unlearned pronounce this beer brand as if it was a front yard on Desperate Housewives, when, in fact it is pronounced; HOO - HHHArden. It helps to get the second H sound right if you fill the back of your mouth with half a litre of phlegm. Or, should that be Flem.

And just the other night I met a terrific ‘beer couple’, Mike and Sam. Knows his beer does this boy and one of those kinds of people I love to talk beer with. So we get talking German beer styles and we come to an old favourite - Weissbier, Wiezen, Weisse and I was nicely corrected on the use of the W sounds versus the V sounds. This has always been a tricky one because so many variants are heard in bottle shops, beer cafes and from the lips of the punters. So I can now log as true that the W in German Weissbier is V and the EISS is IZE to get VIZE or VIZEN. Now this bloke, Mike was sponsored for chess tournaments by Beck’s, so I have to trust him on 3 counts. He plays tournament chess - you’d have to trust them, wouldn’t you?, he spoke with a German accent ( unless the German’s have a lark similar to the Dutch ) and because he had a brewery as a sponsor. A dream I’m sure we all share. Back soon, I need to do weiz.

In future posts I will attempt to clear up more mysteries of the beer world.
Like, why is Budweiser (U.S.) made using such a long, complicated method and then, in the end only tastes like Budweiser, and was Carlton Cold really only made for people who want drink beer, but don’t like the taste of beer ? Hmm.

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