Wednesday, April 18

I'll have a pint of 70, please...

Dear Angus,

What does it mean when a person ordering a beer asks for a pint of 60? I'm familiar with the term pint, but become confused with the use of the number 60. Is this some kind of secret code?


Dear Baffled,
The number used when ordering a pint stems from the old form of beer classification. Shillings of duty (tha' British fer tax) were payable on each barrel of beer/ale. Tha' stronger tha' ale, tha' higher tha' duty. Today this system is purely fer tha' character indication of the beer/ale, rather than tha' amount of duty ta be paid. 60 shilling is a light beer, 70 shilling t'was a heavy, an' 80 shilling t'was an export. Today tha' word 'shilling' is implied rather than stated, as in, "Twa pints o' tha' 80, please!"


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