Today is the first National Beer Day to be held annually every year on June 15th, a day championed by Beer Day Britain. While the organisers of Beer Day Britain state that it is purely coincidental, today also marks 800 years since the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215. In medieval England ale was so essential to life that it was mentioned in Magna Carta the revolutionary document that guaranteed certain civil and legal rights to citizens (and was used in legal systems of some countries of the former British Empire – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most notably in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution).
The influence of Magna Carta can also be seen in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 35 states: ‘Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and single measure for come, namely “the London quarter”’.
Beer lovers argue that beer is the nation’s greatest export, including Mild, Porter, Stout, Pale Ale, India Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Imperial Russian Stout and Barley Wine. The British pub scene is like no other in the world. Pubs are icons of Britain, and what makes it so special, “beer and pubs are still central to the social health of the nation and in economic terms they contribute £22 billion annually to Britain’s GDP”.
Beer Day Britain wants to encourage people to celebrate beer whether at the pub, barbeque, party, picnic, brewery tap room, on an ale rail, or at a Magna Carta event. In raising the profile of beer as Britain’s national drink, it wants to ignite pride for Britain’s beer and pubs, of Britain’s heritage as the world’s brewing powerhouse and its role in spreading the love and knowledge of beer to all of earth’s hemispheres. In doing so, celebrate pubs and beers as a cornerstone of British Culture.
Feel like joining in? In line with the beginning of Men’s Health Week, celebrate with low/no alcohol beers! There are many delicious low/no alcohol beers out there, and you can have a read about our favourites (and not so favourites) from our last Low/No Alcohol Beer Tasting in April at Mother Kelly’s here and here.
Broadly, in the the UK, low and no alcohol beers and wines are split into the following categories:
And, of course, we have non-alcoholic drinks, ie drinks that contain no alcohol at all (0%).
In most of Europe the situation is less complicated. Drinks containing up to 0.5 per cent alcohol are classed simply as alcohol-free and they do not use the ugly word de-alcoholised.
Some of UK drinks contain up to 0.5% of alcohol by volume. To put this into context, a normal glass of fresh orange juice can naturally contain up to 0.5% alcohol. Malt vinegar you put on your chips is about 0.2% alcohol.
So if you are cutting down or even quitting then think about what it is you are trying to achieve. It may be that you want to cut that tie with your habit of opening a beer, so finding a totally different alternative to beer rather than a no-alcohol equivalent may help. If you still like the taste of a beer but don’t want the alcohol then you may want to scout round for something that floats your boat. It is certainly easier to drink several pints of a no-alcohol beer when out in the evening than a lemonade or coke.
IMPRESS YOUR MATES:
Did you know that Erdinger Alkoholfrei is considered an isotonic drink in Germany and is given to everyone crossing the finish line at marathons and races? This year this will happen at 44 sporting events in the UK too including the Asics Manchester Marathon, as well as the Cambridge Half Marathon for the second year running. Cycling is also represented with Prudential Ride London in August 2015.
Found a beer you like? Then let your local know that this is your preferred tipple and ask them to get it in for you. That way you always know you have your drink of choice behind the bar and can easily resist temptation.
Wishing everyone a very Happy National Beer Day. You can share your experiences today by tweeting to @BeerDayBritian as well as @joinclubsoda, using #CheersBDB and #changeyourdrinking. We’d love to hear about your favourite low/no alcohol beer choices!