Monday, 30 November 2009

Traditional watch

Look, I know my work is littered with examples. Pot, black, kettle, etc. I'm a reformed man. But I haven't had chance to correct my past writings yet.

Traditional. A word as vague as it is handy. It covers any period more than 20 years in the past. Or earlier than you can remember. About as precise as that. Don't know any exact dates? Just use "traditional" instead.

Now I've realised that, every time I see the word it jumps off the page (or the screen). That gives me an idea, why don't I post the most flagrant and gratuitous uses of the word "traditional"? I could make it a regular feature of the blog.

Before you ask, this isn't an innovation. Private Eye have been doing something similar for years.

For no particular reason other than I just stumbled across them, here's a couple of outstanding examples of how to obscure history by the use of "traditionally" from Charlie Papazian:

"Contrary to popular belief the original Guinness draft stout is not strong ale; it’s no more than about 3.8% alcohol, even today. The bottled stout labeled “foreign export” traditionally reaches up to about 6% alcohol."

"Stout’s deep brown/black color suggests strength, yet traditionally this beer was brewed to lower strengths. Even today, draft stouts in Ireland are at about 3% alcohol."

Random. Totally random.


The Beer Nut said...


Bottles of Guinness Extra Stout bear the legend "Traditionally Brewed" meaning, presumably, that there's hot water involved somewhere.

Matt said...

It always makes me smile when the advertising department of a multinational brewer tries to convince us that Guinness Extra Chilled is the same beer that Arthur Guinness was producing in 1759 or that Stella Artois is what European peasants have been supping since the Middle Ages.

rod said...

"Stella Artois is what European peasants have been supping since the Middle Ages"

This a particular favourite of mine - Belgians in the early middle ages were drinking a pale, Pilsner-type, crystal clear, bottom-fermented beer which contained maize..... not that Belgium existed in those days of course.

Mike said...

I'd like to suggest a game: what if these people writing fiction about beer and beer history, were actually writing about something else. Imagine, for example, that Charlie Papazian had become Albert Einstein. What would the Theory of Relativity look like if written by a fiction beer writer?

Or how would Charlie Papazian write a political history of the 20th century? Winners get a full set of Ron's Mini series books (why should beer writers have all the fun? I want to write fiction too.)

Tim said...

Mike, you'll be glad to know that Charlie has a degree in Nuclear Engineering. I learned that from one of his books so it must be true.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tim, I'm relieved he decided to concentrate on beer instead of the nuclear industry.

Mike said...

Tim, if he's a nuclear engineer, why is he writing about a different subject than one he knows? And, if he writes fiction in the newspaper, why should we believe what he writes elsewhere?

Barm said...

There's a splendid bit of nonsense from Coors here: "Stones was established in the Cannon Street Brewery in Sheffield and is brewed today, using the same principles as it was in 1865." -- the same principles presumably being mashing, fermentation etc.

Anonymous said...

I see your kids use "random" the same way mine does, Ron.

Barm said...

Charlie has a new beer fiction site at On almost every page there's something which is just jaw-dropping nonsense. Like the assertion that the nonik glass was introduced "shortly after" the adoption of the imperial pint in 1824.