“This time of year I often recommend the Winter Warmer at our first pit stop on the Along the Thames Pub Walk. Recommend it because it's dark, strong, has great stick-to-the-ribs characteristics AND it's delicious. Notes of roasted nuts and molasses, etc.
It's technically classified as an ‘Old’. The other classifications being Bitter and Stout. Lager is of course ‘a foreigner’.
Veteran British boozers often order it as a Half and Half* - a pint that mixes half a pint of Bitter and half a pint of Winter Warmer.
Now a sign of our changing times: in the benighted bad old days that drink was known as a Mother-in-Law. You could go into any Young's pub and ask for a Mother-in-Law and the bar staff would know exactly what you were on about and pull you one properly - the half pint or Ordinary in first, because it's lighter, followed by the half pint of Old, of Winter Warmer. Heavier it would sink into the Ordinary and you'd get proper ‘dispersal’.
And the reason for the name Mother-in-Law? Got it yet? It's pretty hard core, unreconstructed, bad old days stuff. In short, Mother-in-Law because it's ‘Old’ and ‘Bitter’.
Young's other standard bitter is called Special. It's slightly stronger - and slightly sweeter. You ordered a Half and Half* that was half a Special and half a Winter Warmer you'd ask for a Queen Mother. I.E., Old and Special!
*Thus the natural ‘fit’ for Adam's upcoming Half and Half Pub Walks. The term is a long-standing feature of our pubby/drinking lexicon landscape!”
The Half-and-Half Pub Walk is a London Walks Pub Walk with a difference – not only is it a walking tour, it also features a PUB QUIZ! With prizes! Join the first one, THE SOHO HALF-AND-HALF next Monday night 15th February meeting at Wyndham’s Theatre by Leicester Square Tube at 7pm!
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