Yard of ale

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This article is about the measurement of beer known as the yard. For other definitions, see Yard (disambiguation).
A yard of ale

A yard of ale or yard glass is a very tall beer glass used for drinking around 2 12 imperial pints (1.4 L) of beer, depending upon the diameter. The glass is approximately 1 yard (0.91 m) long, shaped with a bulb at the bottom, and a widening shaft which constitutes most of the height.[1]

The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England where the glass was known also as a "Long Glass", a "Cambridge Yard (Glass)" and an "Ell Glass". It is associated by legend with stagecoach drivers, though was mainly used for drinking feats and special toasts.[2][3]

Drinking a yard glass full of beer as quickly as possible is a traditional pub game; the bulb at the bottom of the glass makes it likely that the contestant will be splashed with a sudden rush of beer towards the end of the feat. The fastest drinking of a yard of ale (1.42 litres or 2.50 imperial pints) in the Guinness Book of Records is 5 seconds.[4]

Description

The glass is approximately 1 yard (0.91 m), shaped with a bulb at the bottom, and a widening shaft which constitutes most of the height. In countries where the metric system is used, the glass may be 1 metre (1.1 yd). Because the glass is so long and in any case does not usually have a stable flat base, it is hung on the wall when not in use.

History

The glass most likely originated in 17th-century England where the glass was known also as a "Long Glass", a "Cambridge Yard (Glass)" and an "Ell Glass".[5] Such a glass was a testament to the glassblower's skill as much as the drinker's. John Evelyn records in his Diary the formal yet festive drinking of a yard of ale toast to James II at Bromley in Kent, 1685.

Yard glasses can be found hanging on the walls of some English pubs and there are a number of pubs named The Yard of Ale throughout the country.

Usage

Drinking a yard glass full of beer is a traditional pub game in the UK. Some ancient colleges at Oxford University have sconcing forfeits.[6] Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke was previously the world record holder for the fastest drinking of a yard of beer,[7] when he downed a sconce pot in eleven seconds as part of a traditional Oxford college penalty.[8]

In New Zealand, where it is referred to as a "yardie", drinking a yard glass full of beer is traditionally performed at a 21st birthday by the celebrated person.[9]

Boot of beer

German themed bars in America may have boot shaped glasses, often engraved with insignias or logos, which may be passed among drinkers as a drinking challenge. These glasses are supposedly based on German "Bierstiefels" used in drinking events though the origins of the boot glass are unknown and subject to speculation; the Germans call them "Stiefel" or "Damenbein" ("Ladies Leg").[10]

The challenging aspect to drinking from one of these glasses is that beer in the toe of the boot is suddenly released when enough beer has been drunk to admit air into the pocket, dousing the drinker, just as with the bulb at the base of a yard of ale. To correctly drink from the boot, the glass needs to be rotated as it is drunk.

See also


References

  1. ^ Rabin, Dan; Carl Forge (1998). The Dictionary of Beer and Brewing. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  2. ^ "Yard-of-ale glass (drinking glass) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". britannica.com. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  3. ^ "The Yard of Ale : Our History". theyardofale.com. Retrieved 2010-03-10. 
  4. ^ The Guinness book of records 1999. Guinness. 1998. p. 60. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Suffolk Glass". suffolkglass.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  6. ^ Allan Seager (2004). A frieze of girls: memoirs as fiction. University of Michigan Press. p. 201. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Carbone, Suzanne (2003-12-03). "Spiffing leader? Just apply spit and polish". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2010-03-09. 
  8. ^ Bob Hawke (1994). The Hawke Memoirs. Heinemann. p. 28. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  9. ^ http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/38850/turning-21-doing-a-yardie
  10. ^ "Stiefel". trv-rhenania.de. Retrieved 28 February 2012.