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It's quite simple, really.
January 8, 2013 10:16 PM   Subscribe

We’ve got ponies, glasses, middies an’ pots, see, the first man said. Now a pony’s four ounces – The second man said, Two to four. All right, two to four. But who the hell drinks two’s? [more here]
Visiting Australia? There are just a few things you need to know when ordering a beer ...

A pint's a pound the world around1, but in an Australian pub it's 25% larger,2 except in South Australia where it's what other States call a schooner and holds 15 (Imperial) fluid ounces. Schooners are the same everywhere (again, except in South Australia, where the measurement is called a pint) but this wasn't always the case. If you want a half pint you can order a pot everywhere except New South Wales and Western Australia, where it's a middy; South Australia, where it's called a schooner; and Western Australia, where ordering one will either get you a full pint or a strange look. And nobody knows why South Australians drink butchers.

Anyway, here's a table to sort it all out for you.

1 I.e., in the USA.
2 I.e., an Imperial pint. Hence, A pint of pure water weighs a pound and a quarter. Except, perhaps, in South Australia.
posted by Joe in Australia (92 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
More important than size, what do you get when you order a schooner? What are the default beers in Aussie land?
posted by MartinWisse at 10:29 PM on January 8, 2013


I think the table is a few decades out of date and overly complicates things, though they acknowledge that at the end, saying that "[s]ome of these terms may rarely be used by residents ...". At least for the ACT and WA (in my non-inconsequential beer-drinking experience), just drop out everything but pint/schooner/middy. I certainly like the sound of a WA pot, but I'll be goddamned if I've ever had one in the Perth metro area or up north around the mining areas.
posted by barnacles at 10:30 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


MartinWisse: "More important than size, what do you get when you order a schooner? What are the default beers in Aussie land"

If you order a schooner and don't specify the beer? I think what you'd get is a weary look of "do you have to be so difficult?"
posted by barnacles at 10:32 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I used to get schooners in South Australia, they were about ten ohnces or so of beer.
posted by Scientist at 10:32 PM on January 8, 2013


The important part to me has never been what you call it, so much as that what you are getting is clearly marked on the glass so you know what you got.

If it's a 20oz pint, mark a 20 on it.
Schooner, mark it 15.

The problem over here in the states is that a 'Pint' can be anything from 8 to 20oz and unless you've got a beer gauge, you generally have no idea what it is.
posted by madajb at 10:39 PM on January 8, 2013


Also they were usually Cooper's Dark, if I remember correctly. On my tour of the country it seemed like each province had its own regional brewery which typically made three main ales, which if I recall were Dark, Bitter, and Sparkling. Also nobody drank Foster's and I was given to understand that only bogans drank Vic Bitter.

It was a while ago thoigh. Looking forward to what the Australian Contingent has to say here.
posted by Scientist at 10:39 PM on January 8, 2013


So that's where Starbucks got the idea.

Can I just ask for a "large beer" and be provided the largest one?
posted by notyou at 10:40 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gawd, we needed this at the Duck a few weeks ago. I'm a native and still don't understand the bloody lingo.
posted by taff at 10:43 PM on January 8, 2013


Scientist: "Also they were usually Cooper's Dark, if I remember correctly. On my tour of the country it seemed like each province had its own regional brewery which typically made three main ales, which if I recall were Dark, Bitter, and Sparkling. Also nobody drank Foster's and I was given to understand that only bogans drank Vic Bitter."

When were you here? There's a great (and growing) selection of boutique beers available in many places, especially Victoria and NSW. A few beers are better known in certain areas, but you can get a lot of what used to be regional beers farther afield (e.g., VB, XXXX). I've only ever seen Resch's in NSW and Emu bitter out in WA, though.

Regarding Foster's: years ago, on fieldwork, I was staying in a country pub in alpine Victoria. While propping up the bar one night, I saw a local come in who was clearly known to the regulars. He grabbed a case of Foster's from the small cold room, paid for it at the counter, and left (and he had an Australian accent, so no transplants). So, while almost nobody drinks Foster's, at least one old guy up in the Victorian high country does.
posted by barnacles at 10:45 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ooh! I've been researching this as I run the grad society at a university which includes a licensed restaurant, and the students are from drinking cultures all over the world... So some get miffed if our beer is not in the right size and I am plotting a poster to demonstrate beer measures of the world vs ours
So please let me know your favourites and from whence they hail!
posted by chapps at 10:52 PM on January 8, 2013


The first time I ordered rum & coke in Australia, the barman asked if I wanted a "pint or a jug". I assumed these must be different terms than the measures I knew from New Zealand, but they were not. Australians are just really good at drinking.
posted by lollusc at 10:54 PM on January 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


I've been in Sydney 10 years and I'm still not sure of the difference between a 'schooner' and a 'middy'. I did find out this weekend that even in the country (Taree) you can get cider on tap.

I drink Coopers Green when I need to drink beer or whatever weird German beer my friends have scrounged.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:02 PM on January 8, 2013


In answer to notyou: asking the staff for a 'big girl* beer' will get you the largest drink.

*vary specified gender as you fancy.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 11:03 PM on January 8, 2013


It's a cute chart but really, 99% of Australian pubs have pots (small) and pints (large) with jugs being exactly what they sound like and meant for sharing. If you order a pint of something and they don't do pints, they'll tell you what they do have and show you the glass.

As for what to order, anything on tap but XXXX, VB or Fosters and you'll be fine.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 11:05 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do Queenslanders call it XXXX? As if a Queenslander can spell beer.

Emu bitter out in WA

Emu Export thank you very much.

He can't really be blamed for not knowing about WA. This is what people from the east coast think Australia actually looks like.
posted by Talez at 11:08 PM on January 8, 2013


Talez: " Emu Export thank you very much.
He can't really be blamed for not knowing about WA. This is what people from the east coast think Australia actually looks like.."


Ha! Considering I'm practically a stone's throw from the south bank of the Swan this is a little embarassing. In my defence, I never drink the stuff!
posted by barnacles at 11:11 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like VB.

There's no frills, no airs, no stuffing around with artisanal this and boutique that.

Sometimes you just want a beer.
posted by AD_ at 11:13 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm continually astounded at HOW MUCH Australians drink on a normal basis. I consume as much as anyone, but somehow I'm labeled a 'non drinker' because I don't get utterly smashed at every opportunity (though it feels like I do).
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 11:17 PM on January 8, 2013


In my defence, I never drink the stuff!

No sane person in WA has since the beer monopoly was broken in the 80s.
posted by Talez at 11:19 PM on January 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, the best advert for beer ever made.
posted by Talez at 11:20 PM on January 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Missing from the table is the evil "schmiddy", which is a relatively recent invention, halfway between a (large) schooner & (smaller) middy.

It's a glass that kinda looks like a schooner, but narrower, and often embellished with designey bevels & crenellations & buttresses & things that make you feel as if you're getting more than you actually are - because the weight of the glass is half the total weight.

I first saw it appear in wanky bars, where they worked out you could sell schmiddies at schooner prices, and nobody would notice because they're too busy frotting themselves through their trouser pockets.

Since then, schmiddies have infiltrated the mainstream and almost become *the* standard large drink size, whereby the next enterprising fuckwit bar owner will need to invent a new even smaller standard glass called a schmididdie or something.

Then some bright spark in another bar will differentiate himself by offering ENORMOUS drinks instead of compoundingly vanishing schmiddiddididdies. He'll emphasise their enormous size by calling them "Pints!" even though they're more like half a litre.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:28 PM on January 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also:

In NSW, the standard glasses are middies and schooners/schmiddies. Whatever else they listed in that table basically doesn't exist.

In Victoria, it's pots & pints. Again, anything else in the table exists only in history or theory or somebody's fevered imagination.

If you ask for "a beer" (generically), in NSW the barperson will assume you mean a (larger) schooner, whereas in Victoria they'll pour you a (smaller) pot. In my observation, Victorians tend to default to pots even when asking, even though it costs more to buy more drinks of smaller size. In NSW nobody drinks middies by choice, except for strange geriatrics at opening time on pension day.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:41 PM on January 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's all pots and pints in Melbourne. Trying to get the idea across in a Yankee accent in a pub aroar with chat and music, though - there's a lot of pointing and "THAT ONE". People, even ancient barflies who drink all day, seem to drink pots by default in Melbourne - maybe they like their beer to stay cold?
posted by gingerest at 11:50 PM on January 8, 2013


Another peculiarity...

In most Australian states, a carton of 24 stubbies or cans of beer is called a carton, or a case.

In Victoria, it is a slab. As in "Can I get a cold slab of VB'. Dunno why I love the name 'slab' so much, but I do.
posted by tim_in_oz at 11:51 PM on January 8, 2013


Slab is common in NSW as well. I think all 3 terms are used interchangeably, but yes - slab is by far the best.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 PM on January 8, 2013


WA uses slab and carton interchangeably.
posted by Talez at 11:56 PM on January 8, 2013


I ordered a pint in South Australia once.
There were worlds with the bartender.
posted by Mezentian at 12:05 AM on January 9, 2013


I take your Australian beer ad and counter it with a Kiwi one..

Export Dry

... crappy beer though.
posted by midnightbarber at 12:34 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Slab tends to be more for cans and cartons bottles, as far as I have ever worked out.
But I like VB.

What would I know?

Of course, WA no longer brews a mass beer as of last year, which is sad.
(Matilda Bay doesn't count - it tasted like bananas).
posted by Mezentian at 12:43 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Strange geriatrics!!!!??? I resemble that remark!
posted by taff at 12:46 AM on January 9, 2013


Mezentian: "Of course, WA no longer brews a mass beer as of last year, which is sad.
(Matilda Bay doesn't count - it tasted like bananas)"

Mezentian, do you not consider Little Creatures to be a mass brewer? They're hardly a microbrew these days.
posted by barnacles at 12:53 AM on January 9, 2013


This wouldn't have helped me a whit before going to WA over Christmas.

As it was I learned the appropriate vocabulary on-site:
- stubbie (bottle of beer)
- stubbie-holder (beer bottle sleeve. mine has cherry-pickers on it, nya)
- esky (cooler; ice chest)

And after the contents of a few eskies had been downed, I had a crash course in comprehending stories about the varying uses of utes (such as circlework) and swags.

I miss Australian ginger beer. It actually tastes like ginger. Friggin' awesome.

(No worries, my memories are much richer than the drinking-related bits :) )
posted by fraula at 12:53 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


VB is a beer-flavored alcohol drink, but it's not actual "beer" by a long shot. Maybe not quite as bad as XXXX, although it's a close call in terms of horrible-ness.

Cannot compare either with Fosters, which I have never tasted or even seen, and suspect is actually a myth.
posted by moorooka at 12:58 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Little Creatures.... I suppose they must be. That stuff is everywhere these days.
posted by Mezentian at 12:58 AM on January 9, 2013


Most of these seem rather small measures, unless I'm misunderstanding. I don't think it's physically possible to drink two ounces - the most you can do with that is wet your lips.
posted by Segundus at 12:59 AM on January 9, 2013


I like VB.

There's no frills, no airs, no stuffing around with artisanal this and boutique that.


No escaping the tangy vomit aftertaste, no smoothness, no avoiding the metallic zing.

There are only two things worse than VB: Melbourne Bitter (maybe), and XXXX (definitely). Carlton Draught is far superior if you need a bargain-basement drop. I love beer. I wish it didn't make you pissed and eventually fat. There is on thing VB is good at though:

Also, the best advert for beer ever made

Surely you jest.
posted by smoke at 2:08 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


No escaping the tangy vomit aftertaste, no smoothness, no avoiding the metallic zing.

You've had my homebrew then?
posted by Mezentian at 2:14 AM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The best beer in Australia is Matso's mango beer, followed closely by their ginger beer. There is no glass big enough for me if it has Matso's in it.
Then for everyday drinking there's the Little Creatures pilsner.
I also had a Young Henry's Newtowner at the Couthouse in Newtown on the weekend. It was good stuff.
I think I need a beer now...
posted by MT at 2:46 AM on January 9, 2013


I like the Matso's mango, but the best Aussie beer experience is Stone & Wood Pacific off draught in the summertime. There's not a finer summer ale to be found anywhere.
posted by GamblingBlues at 3:25 AM on January 9, 2013


Mango beer? Honestly...

A slab's a slab - I may be a Queenslander who can't spell "beer" but if it's in cans it's a slab, stubbies it's a carton. Don't forget the wee 250ml stubbies lovingly known as "grenades" around here. XXXX is really only the default beer in working class pubs these days. We're posh now, you have to say what brew you want. Cooper's is becoming a bit more the default, but then, I don't drink beer so what do I know?
posted by Jilder at 3:37 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, and you can totally get a pint of anything here. Backpackers from the UK are too much of a big moneyspinner to ignore. I've even asked for a pint of gin and tonic and gotten it.
posted by Jilder at 3:38 AM on January 9, 2013


The table on this Wikipedia page is surprisingly useful. Better than the one on that Choice page in the post in my opinion. It highlights the common name in each state/capital city.

These are missing the 'jug' which is exactly what it sounds like: a jug full of beer that you share with a group that holds about 4-5 pots/middies. You'll get asked how many glasses you want, and they'll be pot or middy glasses.

I must admit to feeling a little let down by my countrymen when I was in Austin, TX late last year and spent time in a pub with 100+ beers on tap (The Ginger Man). Proper pints for $US4. The local microbrews were delicious, including a tremendous chocolate stout that lived up to the name.

Sadly, I am not aware of a similar establishment anywhere in Oz.
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 3:45 AM on January 9, 2013


For 100 beers on tap, try the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst just off Oxford St. Some are great others less so. Also the original Taphouse (same owners) in Melbourne ... Carlton I think?

My faves are White Rabbit and also Lord Nelson 3 Sheets. But never seen them on tap just bottles. For widely available tap beer I don't mind some from Matilda Bay ... like Big Helgas. Someone mentioned Young Henry which I enjoyed too but the same brewer also makes something called Growler which is god-awful. Do not drink XXXX unless it's at the Breakfast Creek Hotel in Brisbane where you can get one "off the wood".

I've always known the 250ml bottles as "throwdowns" not "grenades".
posted by joz at 4:20 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Don't forget the wee 250ml stubbies lovingly known as "grenades" around here.

I've heard them referred to as 'throw downs': ie they are small enough for you to 'throw one down' before they get a chance to warm up. A curious invention from a culture that loves a beer and is terrified that it might warm up a bit before they've drunk it all.
posted by tim_in_oz at 4:22 AM on January 9, 2013


As a Victorian, I'm obliged to defend VB. Its a full flavoured lager, Just have to feel like it. As for Fosters, I can confirm the rumours of hard old curmudgeons in the outback that walk 10km to their local just to pick up their daily slab... enough said..

In Melbourne, if you only specify size, you'll most often get Carlton Draught. Maybe VB. At least they have some flavour. In this variety, you cant got wrong with Coopers Pale (green). Delicious.

Yes please and more to Little Creatures Pale. Get a little amber and I prefer James Squires Golden and Amber Ales... now we're talking. Coopers do a good dark or two.

I can also confirm Australians like their beer cold. Even English Ales (nitrogenated) are served cold, same as the lagers. Which possibly explains the difficulty of finding English Ales. Naturally, Guiness is available most pubs, and often Kilkenny.

..and here I only mention the major brands... particularly in the cities, boutique beers are common. As with many things, we're spoilt for choice.
posted by bigZLiLk at 4:22 AM on January 9, 2013


Hmmm. I got the names wrong for the Young Henry beers... they are apparently all called Young Henry but there are several varieties. I can't remember which I liked and which I hated. The night became messy...

"Growler" is the name of the returnable bottle the beer comes in,which is returned to the brewer for washing and reuse. So at least it's environmentally friendly.
posted by joz at 4:36 AM on January 9, 2013


Can I just ask for a "large beer" and be provided the largest one?

Probably not as Australia seems to have a rather dainty relationship with alcohol. What is all of this talk about brands and sizes of serving vessels?

In Sweden - where drinking is serious business - you can go into any bar and order a "stor stark" which means the largest size of the least expensive and strongest beer. Yes, it is crude, but it is also a model of ruthless drinking efficiency.

I mean by the time an Australian can get out of his mouth even one order for some craft-brewed soft drink, a Swede will have already downed about a dozen alcohol units and isn't that what drinking is all about?
posted by three blind mice at 4:54 AM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


We call them "growlers" here in The US too.
posted by octothorpe at 4:55 AM on January 9, 2013


Yes, we've just taken the US name of growler. The Kiwis came up with their own name: "riggers".

What I've never understood is why the normal glass size gets bigger as you go north. In Tassie (OK, there's been fine weather their recently) people drink their vile frigid pale lagers in 8s, but up north they drink it in big glasses where even if you're an open throater it's too warm by the end.

Mind you, I'm currently drinking a Danish imperial stout at 14C in a Duvel glass, so obviously things vary a bit.
posted by hawthorne at 5:12 AM on January 9, 2013


I did think it was odd that when we would go to a bar in Melbourne with local friends that we would just drink LOTS of rounds of small glasses of beer. I guess it makes it easier to trade off rounds.
posted by smackfu at 5:29 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


~"Growler" is the name of the returnable bottle the beer comes in,which is returned to the brewer for washing and reuse. So at least it's environmentally friendly.
~We call them "growlers" here in The US too.


That seems to refer to the old-school returnable 12oz bottles of yore, before screw-tops became the norm for big-brand bottled beer in the US.

In my neck of the US, "growler" refers to large (1/2 gallon) re-fillable jugs that customers buy to take tap beer home, drink, then bring back to the pub for refilling. Repeat as needed.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:59 AM on January 9, 2013


No, growlers are indeed 1.89l (64 oz). But often here they are provided on a "swap and go" basis - you hand in yours and they give you a cleaned, full one. The smaller 32 oz version is known as a squealer.
posted by hawthorne at 6:21 AM on January 9, 2013


Cool! Now explain about Australian names for espresso drinks, and I'll be all set.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:12 AM on January 9, 2013


When I was in Sydney about 10 years ago I remember it being mostly schooners, not pints, on offer and they were pretty small. Of course here a 'pint' is a twenty ounce glass with 16oz of beer in it, so maybe a schooner was a 15oz glass with 12oz of beer in it?
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:12 AM on January 9, 2013


How do Australians feel about Sheaf Stout? Found it at local hypermart a few years ago; shockingly cheap but a pretty good basic stout (though it has some batch consistency issues). It is apparently now owned by the Fosters people, so I am particularly curious how it used to taste before it was bought up.
posted by curious nu at 7:17 AM on January 9, 2013


Cool! Now explain about Australian names for espresso drinks, and I'll be all set.

Flat white is half coffee, half steamed milk and resembles an earlier Italian style cappuccino using microfoam instead of dry foam. Long black is an Americano made backwards so it doesn't destroy the crema. Using skinny as a prefix means using 2% milk.

And drip coffee has gone the way of the dodo bird. Which was kind of funny when I first met my (American) wife in Melbourne.

"Where can I get coffee?"
"Well there's a donut place over there..."
"No I mean good coffee"
"Uhhhh... don't quite follow..."
"Like a latte"
"They'll have an espresso machine"
"No they won't"
"Trust me... let's go"

Sure enough. Walk in, donut place has an espresso machine. She's absolutely astounded some dinky little donut place has an espresso machine. She was apparently expecting some crap drip coffee or something. Apparently she didn't realize that Melbourne is latin for "biggest coffee snobs in the universe".
posted by Talez at 7:56 AM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Am I mis-remembering, or are schooners bigger in New Zealand? My brain is telling me that schooners are usually around 16-20oz, but who knows, I moved away in my mid 20s so my memories are pretty beer-soaked.
posted by gaspode at 7:58 AM on January 9, 2013


smackfu: "I did think it was odd that when we would go to a bar in Melbourne with local friends that we would just drink LOTS of rounds of small glasses of beer."

I don't get the obsession with bigger glassware for beer. For me anything bigger than a pint glass is too much. I'd rather just order another beer than have a monstrous glass.

As long as there's an attentive bartender I like the small glasses. Maybe it's just a cultural thing since the first bars I saw (as a kid with my parents) served either bottled beer or beer from a tapper served in little 8 or 10 oz glasses. My wife grew up around the same thing, and we both refer to those glasses as "old man bar" glasses. The beer doesn't have time to get warm and it makes it easier to rotate a few different beers, but my love for them is probably mostly just being nostalgic. Pint glasses get regular use at our house, but the old man bar glasses have made a resurgence lately.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 8:05 AM on January 9, 2013


I've heard them referred to as 'throw downs': ie they are small enough for you to 'throw one down' before they get a chance to warm up.

Or, given our tendency to abbreviate anything that stands still long enough, "throwies".

How do Australians feel about Sheaf Stout? Found it at local hypermart a few years ago; shockingly cheap but a pretty good basic stout (though it has some batch consistency issues)

Ah, the old Tooth's Sheaf Stout, one of the few remaining Australian milk stouts. Keeps you fit, as the old pub signs said.

Someone's still buying it, but they're definitely a niche product. You'd never see it on draught, and it'd typically be in the dustiest corner of the bottlo. The other example you might see is Abbotsford Invalid. There are a couple of other export stouts by macros, like Coopers Best Extra and Southwark Old.

I miss middies. Such a sensibly sized beer. I also like Resch's Draught, so it's possible I'm a pensioner trapped in a young man's body.

Cool! Now explain about Australian names for espresso drinks, and I'll be all set.
Short black - espresso.
Long black - espresso added to hot water. (Like a backwards Americano.)
Flat white - more honoured in the breach than in the observance, but theoretically it's an evenly mixed strong latte. This seems like a pretty good summary.
Iced coffee - Not cold coffee, but something like a sweet coffee milkshake.
posted by zamboni at 8:11 AM on January 9, 2013


Ok, I think I have the beer terminology down. But I have another question. When you get a sandwich on a long roll, is it a 'hero', a 'wedge', a 'hoagie' or something else. Going to need to eat something after all those pints.

Speaking of old man bar glasses, when I first went off to Buffalo to meet my in-laws, my girlfriend took me to the bar she used to drink at in high school. It was an old man bar. I ordered two beers on tap and got those smaller glasses. Bartender says to me 50 cents please. Turns out on Tuesdays it was 25 cents a glass. I put $20 bucks on the bar and told him to keep them coming until there was $5 left. At that point he should ask us to leave and keep the change.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:15 AM on January 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ok, I think I have the beer terminology down. But I have another question. When you get a sandwich on a long roll, is it a 'hero', a 'wedge', a 'hoagie' or something else. Going to need to eat something after all those pints.

A sandwich, or sanger, comes on flat bread, just as God and Tip-Top intended. That said, Subway has been around for a while, so it's possible 'sub' is worming its way into the Oz vocabulary.
posted by zamboni at 8:21 AM on January 9, 2013


I miss Australian ginger beer. It actually tastes like ginger. Friggin' awesome.

Public service advisory: Bundaberg ginger beer is available at BevMos, Cost Plus World Market, and a bunch of other places in the US.

this may not do you much good, fraula. Sorry.
posted by zamboni at 8:30 AM on January 9, 2013


Also, an Australian pint (570ml) is 2ml larger than a British pint (568ml), presumably due to rounding differences when each respective system fixed their customary measure to the metric system.
posted by acb at 8:45 AM on January 9, 2013


Public service advisory: Bundaberg ginger beer is available at BevMos, Cost Plus World Market, and a bunch of other places in the US.

I've seen it in various bars and eateries in the UK as well.
posted by acb at 8:46 AM on January 9, 2013


This is a terrific thread. Highly instructive and entertaining.

I just reread it top to bottom with an imagined Crocodile Dundee voicing the comments (even those possibly authored by non-Aussies), and that made it moreso.
posted by notyou at 8:53 AM on January 9, 2013


Ok, I think I have the beer terminology down. But I have another question. When you get a sandwich on a long roll, is it a 'hero', a 'wedge', a 'hoagie' or something else. Going to need to eat something after all those pints.

What you need is a "kebab", my fine friend.
posted by Jilder at 8:57 AM on January 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cannot compare either with Fosters, which I have never tasted or even seen, and suspect is actually a myth.

I went on a cruise (from the US) a couple of years ago and did some math to discover that the cheapest drunk on the boat was an oilcan of Fosters. I drank quite a few of them--once my tremendous mug of smuggled G&T ran dry--and found them to be agreeably inoffensive after a moderate buzz had already been achieved by other means.

On returning home, I picked up an oilcan from 7-11 to do some paper-bag drinking around town and found it revolting to the point of being impotable when insufficiently lubricated.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:54 AM on January 9, 2013


'Pint' worked fine on my recent visit to Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth. What didn't was paying $9.50 for one. I guess I'd been watching too much TV because I was looking forward to visiting rowdy pubs and merrily chugging pint after pint but it turns out I would've had to take out a second mortgage.
posted by ftm at 11:17 AM on January 9, 2013


How do Australians feel about Sheaf Stout? Found it at local hypermart a few years ago; shockingly cheap but a pretty good basic stout (though it has some batch consistency issues)

I like it, but as zamboni suggested there isn't really a stout culture here. Sheaf & Southwark would be my favourites, with Coopers as a fallback option. I need to keep in mind which bottlos stock which stout, because it's rare for a range of stouts to be available, if indeed any stouts are stocked at all. In a typical pub you'd often be lucky to find they have a stout on offer, and if they do it's as likely as not to be the watered-down local version of Guinness, which is more like a very dark ale than a stout.

A friend & I refer to Southwark as "insanity stout", because for some reason it gets you more crazily buzzed than Sheaf, even though they're both about the same strength (around 6.5% alcohol, from memory). I don't know what the active ingredient is, but it makes you quite loopy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:52 AM on January 9, 2013


For 100 beers on tap, try the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst just off Oxford St. Some are great others less so. Also the original Taphouse (same owners) in Melbourne ... Carlton I think?

The Melbourne one is in Windsor, I think. Memory is a little hazy.

There's a couple of craft brew orientated bars or that have them on tap just to the north of the CBD, one in North Carlton, a couple clumped close by on Lygon St in East Brunswick, as well as Temple Brewery, which has its own tasting bar. None come close to 100+ taps, but one does have 12.

Best Australian beer for me last year was the Mornington Imperial Stout, 9.5% and smoooothh! Not very widespread though.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 1:59 PM on January 9, 2013


Can someone do the calcuation to determine how many of each size glass one would need in order to extract a dose of LSD?
posted by LiteOpera at 2:43 PM on January 9, 2013


In the case of Insanity Stout, about half a middie.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 PM on January 9, 2013


The Melbourne one is in Windsor, I think. Memory is a little hazy.

Close, it's in Carlisle St Balaclava, near the corner Chapel St. Their menu is quite decent too, and they'll match the beers for you.

Sacrilegious, I know, but I got to drinking ale shandies when I was in England -- the funginess of the ale went really nicely with the lemonade, haven't been able to reproduce the experience in Melbourne (at least partly because no on wants to be seen with the shandy-drinking chick :( )
posted by prettypretty at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2013


What I love about this thread is that you can tell what time the Aussies went to bed and the Americans took over by the change from metric to imperial in the comments. The thread becomes completely impenetrable to me half way down (and even google doesn't help until I remember that you have to ask for FLUID oz in your conversion.)
posted by lollusc at 3:34 PM on January 9, 2013


Ok, I think I have the beer terminology down. But I have another question. When you get a sandwich on a long roll, is it a 'hero', a 'wedge', a 'hoagie' or something else. Going to need to eat something after all those pints.

As someone said above, "sub" is kind of in use nowadays, but most people would think you meant specifically one from Subway. If you made it at home, or bought it at an independent cafe, you'd probably call it a "filled roll". Or if it's based on roast meat, it would be named for that. E.g. "chicken roll", "beef roll", "bacon roll". You can't guarantee that that would get you a long roll rather than a round one, but the long roll is more likely. In particular, I've never seen a "bacon roll" on a round bun.
posted by lollusc at 3:37 PM on January 9, 2013


And just about NO ONE in Aus has heard of a hero, wedge or hoagie. I didn't know until right now that the term "wedge" existed for sandwiches, and "hoagie" is one I've heard but wouldn't have known the definition of. I've heard of "hero"s, but I read a lot of American internet. I think most Aussies/NZers would not know that term.
posted by lollusc at 3:38 PM on January 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I generally just think of them as banh mi.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:54 PM on January 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Unfortunately banh mi have not reached Canberra yet. I wish they would. I hadn't realised they were a thing anywhere in Aus, actually. I am only familiar with them via delicious looking NYT photos.
posted by lollusc at 3:56 PM on January 9, 2013


Unfortunately banh mi have not reached Canberra yet.

Not true: Viet bakery at Fyshwick markets. I used to work at the markets and they were my introduction to banh mi. Also, a reunion with explosive diarrhoea. Keeping pate on the bench during Canberra summer is a pretty bad idea, so I cannot, in good conscience recommend you try it. Stick with the churros stall, instead.
posted by smoke at 4:02 PM on January 9, 2013


No banh mi in Canberra [on preview, other than Fyshwick Markets]? The one that most people say was the first in Sydney has been serving up delicious rolls for 26 years now, and still has people queueing up outside the door on a daily basis. There are plenty of other hotspots wherever Vietnamese have settled, like Marrickville, Bankstown & Cabramatta, but these days every second suburban bakery is run by Vietnamese, and the first thing they do is set up a little banh mi counter.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on January 9, 2013


Derail: Battle of the Banh Mi

Yum. With beer they're even better.
posted by joz at 6:17 PM on January 9, 2013


If anyone is interested in finding out more about craft brewing and places where you can get craft brews in Australia the Crafty Pint Website is pretty good.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 10:21 PM on January 9, 2013


I just reread it top to bottom with an imagined Crocodile Dundee voicing the comments (even those possibly authored by non-Aussies), and that made it moreso.

You might have to leave the thread now....

When you get a sandwich on a long roll, is it a 'hero', a 'wedge', a 'hoagie' or something else

Economically, it's a roll in most places.
We're lazy.
posted by Mezentian at 12:09 AM on January 10, 2013


Surprised it's not a "rollo".
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:13 AM on January 10, 2013


Rollo is a kind of chocolate. We'd get confused.
posted by Mezentian at 2:23 AM on January 10, 2013


My best mate was nervous before a job interview and his dad passed on a bit of wisdom, saying he always used to have a pony (of beer) to calm his nerves. Due to an ill-informed conversation in the pub the previous week, my mate thought a pony was a pint and a half and turned up drunk. I know some hipsterish pubs in Melbourne have started offering ponies again in a fit of nostalgia, but to my knowledge no one has actually bought one in the age of colour television.

It does seem crazy for decent drinkers to buy pots instead of pints (unless drinking outdoors at an insufficient speed) but it's standard for social drinking because you buy a jug and poor it out. You generally get 5 pots out of a jug - pub etiquette dictates that if there are only four people present, the person who bought the jug gets the fifth.

If you order a pot or schooner or whatever without specifying the beer, the bartender will either ask you what you want (possibly with a look that suggests you are some kind of idiot) or you will get something fairly cheap and inoffensive - generally whichever brand of mass-produced lager that establishment subscribes to, usually VB/Carlton/Tooheys/XXXX). You are basically saying that you don't care what you're given and won't complain when you get it.

The problem with all these names for beers of different sizes is that it's further confused by the use of imperial sizes that we're now measuring with the metric system. 10 fluid ounces seems like a perfectly sensible measurement, but the glass says 285ml and almost no one would have any idea how much a fluid ounce is because it doesn't help you when you're buying drugs.
posted by notionoriety at 12:44 PM on January 10, 2013


Ah, but is a 750ml bottle a tallie or a longneck?
posted by goo at 5:07 PM on January 10, 2013


Are they still 750mL? (Apparently, yes).

The answer is a longneck, a king brown or a Darwin Stubby.
posted by Mezentian at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2013


"Surprised it's not a "rollo"."

I was surprised when I discovered that a chiko roll was completely different from a chicken roll. (Not as surprised as I was when I ordered an iced coffee.)

Aw, Lovecraft in Brooklyn, where are you tonight? (This afternoon, but, y'know, poetic license.)
posted by gingerest at 7:25 PM on January 10, 2013


The Chicko Roll has seen better days.
posted by Mezentian at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2013


Aw, Lovecraft in Brooklyn, where are you tonight? (This afternoon, but, y'know, poetic license.)

Why, right over here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:36 PM on January 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Long necks? Don't mention the dead marines.
I've had plenty of beers in all states and territories (barring NT...must be corrected) but I can only speak with authority about NSW.
Middies and schooners are the usual. Almost every pub will also be able to accommodate a pint, but they'll only have half a dozen of the glasses so they will get the shits if you all ask for them (they exist to hold Guinness).
Traditionally, the most common beer in NSW was Tooheys Draught, called New. When I was a boy, Reschs and KB gave it a bit of a run, but about 25 years ago shake ups in the brewing industry resulted in Tooths, their brewer, being fucked up by some 80s spivs at Adsteam. To be sure, they brought a lot on themselves by not adapting to a changing market.
The brands ended up at CUB, and in the early 1990s they introduced VB on tap in NSW (I did a market research night on beer where the questions revolved around buying preference if VB were available on tap in NSW, so feel partially responsible - hey, I was young).
At the same time, CUB dropped Reschs (silver bullets, cause of the can packaging) to 4% and KB the same so they could pay less duty and sell it for $20 a slab.
Until this point, a carton of throwdowns was that price and full size beers were about $27.
This must have worked, as Tooheys introduced Red to the same price point (vile stuff) then upsized it the a 30 can 'block'.
And Chuck Hahn sold out his premium brewery and started Sydney Bitter, another option at the $20 price point, but in 330mL bottles only.
You might detect I was a fairly price conscious drinker in the early 1990s.
Nowadays, any place with a view or that sells tapas will have schmiddys, as Ubu accurately derided up thread, but suburban and country pubs will have no truck with them.
More worrying is the infiltration of bloody Carlton Draught, a beer with the personality of XXXX and the winning taste of a Fosters light. Or fucking Extra Dry.
If you're going to drink mass produced 'local' beer, at least stick to the regionals. Nothing is served by shipping VB, xxxx or Carlton around when you can get an almost identical New already.
But everyone I know who has the least interest in what is in there glass has moved to Coopers, James Squire, Little Creatures and Matilda Bay.
A good thing too.
posted by bystander at 10:36 PM on January 10, 2013


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