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It's Not All Beer and Skittles - A Guide to British Ale - Eat Your Words
Life isn’t all beer and skittles – a brilliant phrase. It simply means that life isn’t all fun and games (Skittles is a game, a bit like early Ten-Pin Bowling). Thomas Hughes uses it in ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays,‘ and Dickens talks about ‘all porter and skittles’ in ‘the Pickwick Papers’. Britons love their ale, and we have finally regained our pride in the properly excellent range of beers we make (although we now call them ‘craft ales’, and they all have to be made in a local ‘micro-brewery’ to prove their authenticity, but I digress). There are a number of styles we would heartily recommend you trying (responsibly, of course), and some that may be worth avoiding. Here are our top tips. And yes, our American cousins, we do drink them all ‘warm’. The ABV bit means Alcohol By Volume – how strong it is. Bitter – this is the one you will find most often in the hand pumps in pubs in the UK, and in brown bottles with amusing titles in the supermarkets these days. Usually copper or bronze in colour, it is very hoppy (hence the name), but the bitterness is balanced by lots of lovely biscuity malts, …