Beer Sizes in SA and Where to get a Brew

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Beer sizes in SA and where to get a brew

When it comes to beer, South Australia likes to keep things interesting with its unique glass sizes and quirky names that have left both locals and visitors scratching their heads. In a land where a pint holds a different volume and terms like schooner, butcher, and pony come into play, the origins of these peculiarities remain as mysterious as the depths of a beer lover's pint glass.

While the rest of Australia associates a pint with a generous 570 millilitres, in South Australia, it takes on a distinct character, measuring a modest 452 millilitres. If you're ordering a schooner in South Australia, prepare for a slight downsizing compared to its interstate counterpart, as it contains a refreshingly cool 285 millilitres. And then there are the enigmatic names like "butcher" for a 200-millilitre glass and "pony" for a charmingly petite 140-millilitre serving.

Now, let's dive into the fascinating theories behind the origin of the term "butcher" glass. One tale suggests that the influential Temperance movement, notorious for pushing early pub closures in the early 20th century, also championed smaller glass sizes to curb alcohol consumption. Alternatively, the smaller pint may have emerged as a response to the austerity measures of World War I or the Great Depression in the 1930s.

In the bygone era of the 1850s, South Australia embraced imperial half-pints, but the tides shifted during World War II. As part of the war effort, the federal government imposed higher beer taxes, much like they did during the First World War. While other states like New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia opted for price hikes, South Australia cunningly decided to keep the prices the same and instead reduced the size of their glasses.

The prevailing theory behind the name "butcher" glass takes us to Adelaide's Newmarket Hotel, nestled near a 19th-century abattoir on the corner of North and West Terraces. Legend has it that abattoir workers found solace in this smaller glass, perhaps because its size made it easier to handle with their bloodied hands. However, other pubs located near butcher shops or meatworks also claim to have birthed the name, with its origins traced back as early as the 1880s. Some even speculate that the glasses were initially given to young boys delivering meat to hotels. And let's not forget the possibility that the name itself hails from the German word "becher," meaning a drinking vessel.

Now, armed with this newfound knowledge about South Australia's beer glass curiosities, it's time to embark on a delightful pub-hopping adventure in Port Adelaide and Coast. Here are six pubs where you can wet your whistle:

  1. The Lighthouse Wharf Hotel
  2. Port Admiral Port Adelaide
  3. The British Hotel
  4. Largs Pier Hotel
  5. Fed on Semaphore
  6. Palais Hotel

But wait, we can't forget about the breweries that will awaken your taste buds! Here are four breweries that deserve a visit:

  1. Pirate Life Brewing
  2. Big Shed Brewing Concern
  3. Brewboys Brewery & Taproom
  4. Sweet Amber Beer & Pizza

As you hop from pub to brewery, keep an eye out for those distinctive South Australian glasses, each brimming with stories of their own. Raise your glass, toast to the enigmatic past, and savour the flavours of this truly unique beer-drinking experience. Cheers to the mysteries that make South Australia's pub culture an absolute delight!

Remember to drink responsibly and enjoy the journey of unravelling the mysteries of beer, one sip at a time.