A thought struck me as I sat in a London bar nursing a pint of lukewarm Belgian beer that chilled me to the bone more than a dip in the Thames at the height of January.
Australians love a good beer. As such, with the legendary British pub culture and a boozer on every corner, you would imagine that the pub in London would be a place where Aussies and Poms alike could gather and bond over our mutual love of a cold beverage.
I have been in social situations with a pretty wide range of British people since coming to London, from chavs and hipsters to the rich and (semi)famous. A lot of those situations have been in pubs, and has revealed the shocking secret lingering beneath the surface of British society: no matter what subculture they belong to, Poms just don’t like a beer as much as an Aussie.
“Wait, they spend half of their life in the pub!” I hear you shout, and you are right. But – listen to what they order.
A posh boy will wander up to the counter of a City bar: “Alright mate? What is your house wine? Oh, really? Nothing French?”
A tracksuit-wearing lad steps into a local boozer in Bermondsey: “Ay bruv, you got three pints of cider and keep ‘em coming, innit?”
A hipster walks into the latest obscure Shoreditch venue: “Can I have a cold chai latte? Alcohol is so mainstream.”
I am not saying the Brits do not drink beer. There are still some true believers left. I salute the old geezers at Wetherspoons pubs across the city, who unfailingly have three empty pints of bitter sitting on their table when you venture down for a cheap breakfast at 10am.
In many ways you go native when in London: your speech pattern changes, you may even get a rough twang in your voice and your skin will probably go all pastey English pale. When it comes to beer, however, always call Australia home… if only the Poms could pour a pint properly.
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