Friday, November 09, 2007

"...and Yards To Go Before I sleep."

A "Yard of ale" glass originated in Merrie Olde England when a pub person would hand up a "tall beer" to the coachman driving the carriage.

These weird-shaped glasses still exist today and are a wonderfully funny concept now that we don't ride in or drive coaches and open beer is seldom allowed on the streets. Well, except in Savannah or in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Pictured are a couple of my newspaper buddies back in the 1960s the night we discovered this British contribution to World peace.

What we didn't realize was that at one point, when the glass is raised high and the beer is racing down the narrow tube toward your waiting lips, air enters the bulb and you hear a loud "GLUG" that makes you laugh in surprise.

At the same moment that your mouth is distracted, the beer arrives at Mach 2 speed and you get a beer facial and spots on your clothes. It usually takes 2 or 3 glasses to master drinking a yard of ale.

A few years ago I started going to Backstage Deli on the Market and reintroduced myself to this long-handled stein. The owner and I got to know each other and when he opened in North Charleston, closer to my home, I became a regular there.

He started a "Hall of Foam" and, after drinking 60 different beers, you won free meals, a t-shirt and other prizes.

After I had gone through the 60 beers several times, I suggested one of his yard glasses would make a good prize. He agreed and soon I earned one.

One sunny afternoon as I was taking my Mom out for a drive, I suggested we stop there and I'd have a beer. She agreed and, when Mom commented on the unusual glass, I posed a picture of her pretending to drink. The glass was almost as tall as she was. Around us, we heard the chant of "go Granny, go!"

His people used to break several of these each week as they tried to wash them and the bartenders collected your drivers licenses to ensure patrons did not leave with the unique glasses.

Eventually they were all gone and half-yards of ale were the norm.

When Guy decided to shut down his bar, he took me aside and gave me two other glasses that now are displayed at home. The "Foot" size is smaller than the Half-Yard and the smallest of all - holding just over an ounce - is the "Toe" glass. All are sitting in their distinctive wooden racks.

I don't know of any place in Charleston that serves these "tall beers" now.

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At Wed Dec 12, 12:06:00 PM , Blogger ジェームズ (JET) said...

Backstage...that's old school man!


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