Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday, January 27th, 2006:
Swedish beer

What I think:

I had a thought while visiting London over the past week.

Now, I'm not generally much of a conspiracy theorist, but I think they do something strange with the beer in Sweden. It's different from what I'm used to in England. Allow me to elaborate.

In England, it's perfectly natural for people to go to the pub and socialise, even on weeknights. One doesn't have to get totally rat-arsed, but can easily indulge in up to about five pints or so over the course of an evening. No problem.

The day after, you might feel a little hung over, but nothing a couple of aspirins, a nice shower - if you're fortunate enough to have a nice shower in the UK (but that's probably someone else's blog), a shave and a splash of medium-priced cologne, won't solve. Oh, and coffee. Maybe a Sausage and Egg McMuffin from the McDonald's at Kings Cross on the way to work. Sorted.

You get to work, start working, talk to people, and generally do your normal work things. Just another day.

In Sweden, it's quite a different story. Firstly, it's fairly taboo to go out during the week here (except maybe on Thursday evening for an "after work" - apparently it's OK to be hung over on Friday, for some reason). If I go out to my local pub (the Charles Dickens) during the week, the place is usually almost empty, especially after 6:00pm.

So, you sit in the empty pub, have a few beers, and get to know the bar staff. They're usually so bored that they're happy to chat (and practice their English, of course). You try to be sensible, and leave by about 11-ish, toddle home, and get to bed by midnight. A fairly normal evening (except for there being no other customers).

But when you wake up, the hangover is bad. Pripps beer is bad. That's my opinion. Just try to sue me.

The two aspirins have little effect, and the shower (normally very nice here, by the way) makes your head feel like Ringo's snare and floor tom combined on "She Loves You". You often cut yourself shaving as well (yes, that's the beer's fault as well), and thus the normally-refreshing cologne just bloody stings.

They've closed my nearest McDonald's (also the beer's fault, I'm sure), which never sold Egg & Sausage McMuffins anyway, so you just smoke a cig on your way to work (at least it's within walking distance).

You get to work, put in some eyedrops in the lift (US/CAN: elevator), go to your desk, and start working. After a couple of hours, the worst of the nastiness starts to fade. You talk to people, and generally do your normal work things. Just another day. Or is it?

You get an e-mail from a work colleague, whom you'd spoken to at her desk only moments before, kindly advising you that you smell quite heavily of last night's drinking. What?

After a long hot shower, a shave (with cologne), and a rigorous tooth-brushing (with mouthwash), two cigarettes, and a coffee, you smell like beer. Worse, it's not even as though you'd gone totally overboard the night before.

This simply doesn't happen in England. I'm convinced that they put weird chemicals in the beer here. And Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr Pripps (delete as applicable), I'm not singling you out here. Åbro is equally as vile.

I think it's a conspiracy to stigmatise innocent, occasional weeknight beer drinkers, both socially and professionally, and It's time that the Swedish government did something about it. That's what I think.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

English "session" ale is usually around 3.8% strength.

Swedish beer is brewed up to 5% or more, which would be considered dynamite strength in an English pub in the UK.

In addition English imported beers in sweden are always the "premium strength" versions. Swedes just don't get why anyone would want to drink 3.8% beer in a pub.

3:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buy English beer in the pub if you can that's my advice. I'm not a lager drinker in the first place but even if I was I wouldn't touch Pripps with a barge pole.

I'm lucky here in Västerås as we have a great pub (The Bishops Arms) which is the closest to an English pub I have seen here in Sweden. I drink Shepherd Neames Spitfire normally which as Paul said is only about 3.8%. My normal week consists of a couple of pints on a Wednesday night and a skinfull on Friday night. But I've never had any trouble on a Thursday morning after a few pints of Spitfire the night before.

Love the blog by the way. I hope the Swedish government don't get too annoyed with your comments and do something about it! ;-)

Now I'm off to the pub...

7:09 pm  
Blogger Annika said...

Cannot believe it's still the same in Sweden. It was 10 years ago I lived there. Guess the Swedes are not much for change (and for fun for that matter :).

6:16 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in Stockholm for 4 years andyes! I've never had a hangover like the swedish ones, affects the mind too. Pripps Starkol is lethal

3:32 am  

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