Snakebite and black, diesel or any other term people have for it is sold (to my knowledge) in most student unions. I can even testify that we sell it in the local pub that i work in. So why is it that some Pubs and Bars in the UK refuse to sell it?

Some say it is illigal to mix 2 drinks together, but if that was true wouldn’t drinks like black velvet and mother-in-law be banned also.

I personally am of the belief that the bar staff find it a pain in the ass to be constantly scrubbing purple puke off the floors and upholstery as it stains something fierce!

But i have heard from various places that it is a well known catalyst for fights and such. Allegedly it makes people drunker quicker and also makes them violent but if that was the case then, down at our union it is litrally drunk by the bucket load (i mean everyone drinks it) , why isn’t there carnage in the bar?

I have also heard that when the beer and cider are mixed that the two fuse together to create some kind of uber-pint that has a percentage of like 20%. This i find kinda ridiculas, however in a wierd mixed up way it could be possible why some bar tender say “it’s not ethical to serve that drink here”.

There must be some clear cut answer here if any one knows it or has a good thoery why then please enligten us, because i find this very entruging.

oh and btw Snakey B is the ****est name i have ever heard it being called – sound like it should be served in a school canteen.


The final decades of the 20th century weren’t kind to Britain’s bottled beer styles. The popularity of old pub staples, Brown Ale and Light Ale, declined dramatically as their drinkers grew old and died.

In the middle of the century, it was a very different story. Light Ale, buoyed by the surge in sales of bottled beer, was a rising star of the pub trade. The dubious quality of much draft beer prompted drinkers to start mixing it with bottled beer. Light and Bitter—a half-pint of Ordinary Bitter topped up with a bottle of Light Ale—was one of London’s favorite tipples.

Light Ale had its roots in the second half of the 19th century, when a new type of lighter Pale Ale arrived on the scene. Lower in alcohol and lighter in body than stock Pale Ales, like Bass or Allsopp, Dinner or Luncheon ales were, as their name implies, often consumed with meals in the home. It was the beginning of the mass consumption of bottled beer. Until then, families either had casks at home or sent their children to fetch draft beer from a pub.

The first Dinner Ales were low gravity for the period. At the end of the 19th century, a typical one had a gravity between 1050 and 1055º. A Stock Pale Ale of the time would have been more like 1065º. And while Stock versions remained bottle conditioned well into the 20th century, Dinner Ales were some of the first non-deposit beers to hit the market; a characteristic that endeared them to customers, if not brewers.

The World Wars had an impact on the strength of Light Ales, as they did with all British beer styles. Though, along with other cheap, popular beers, such as Brown Ale and Mild Ale, they suffered disproportionately. Though gravities varied greatly, many Light Ales were around 1040º—close to average strength—in the 1920s and 1930s. By the 1950s, they were half-dozen gravity points below average, at little over 1030º.

Many drinkers preferred their Light Ales weak:

“The war years apart, the public has had stronger and better beers before it, and it has solidly preferred the weaker. It is not just a question of price, for many men will buy a light ale and pay more than they would for a half-pint of much higher gravity draught beer. In the face of this remarkable preference for the weaker drink it is commendable that brewers have persisted with their stronger beers, and that they are at present introducing new types and publicizing them widely.”
The Book of Beer by Andrew Campbell, 1956, page 199.

88FermentedCulture2The emphasis on cask beer after the rise of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) in the 1970s didn’t do bottled beers any favors, but particularly hard hit were cheap beers, like Brown Ale and Light Ale. While CAMRA fought to preserve threatened cask beer styles such as Mild, it ignored processed bottled beers. Soon, the traditional types were in terminal decline.

The Best of British Bottled Beer, published in 1994, lists 22 Light Ales. Six of them were brewed by national groups such as Bass or Whitbread, the remainder by established regional breweries. I would be very surprised if any of the 1,000 or so breweries founded in the intervening two decades have ever brewed a Light Ale. It’s not a style that gets beer geeks salivating.

And so another little piece of British brewing history is gradually fading from memory. Light Ale was never the most glamorous style, but it deserves better. At least to be remembered. I will—what about you? 


How to down a pint quickly

1. Let the beer warm up a little bit. You don’t want to get brain freeze from downing a freezing pint.

2. Try get rid of as many bubbles as possible, you can try getting another glass and pouring the beer in and out of the two glasses.

3. Right before drinking, hit the bottom of the glass on the table to release carbon dioxide.

4. Lean your head back slightly, open your throat and take a half breath right before drinking your pint.

5. Swing the glass so the beer rushes to the back of your throat. The trick is to swallow right before the liquid actually hits your throat, because the beer will essentially just pour down your throat. (This is also known as opening your gullet.)

How to down a pint without feeling sick

– Don’t forget to drink water throughout the night, especially if you’re prone to throwing up. Never down the water or drink it quickly as it will upset your stomach.

– Line your stomach with some food, obviously.

– Eat some ginger, studies have powerful anti-nausea properties.

– Know your limit and stop drinking when you know you’ve reached your limit.

– Get some fresh air and cool yourself down.

– Apply acupressure to your wrist, this isn’t a proven way to help with nausea but it works for some people.

– Don’t move around too much, it might help you to get some rest and find a seat to sit down.


The change of seasons often brings a change in one’s palate. You might seek out a hearty stew or casserole in the colder months, but come summertime, a light, refreshing bite or a fresh salad might be in order. And if you’re a beer connoisseur, your desire for a thick stout might wane as summer approaches, and you turn to light, refreshing brews, such as a shandy or radler (pronounced /RAHD-luh/), to enjoy on your patio. Some readers may have also experienced the French version of the shandy called panaché, which means “mixed” in French. 

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Charles Dickens once commented that it was the perfect “alliance between beer and pop.”

Whereas, nowadays, a shandy is considered a blend of beer with any nonalcoholic beverage, the original specifically was beer mixed with ginger beer or ginger ale. (Both ginger beer and ginger ale are believed to have originated as alcoholic brews but were then processed as soft drinks, making their names misnomers as early as mid-19th century. Typically, ginger beer has a stronger gingery flavor.) Another traditional mixer for a shandy is carbonated lemonade. 

The term shandy itself is a shortening of shandygaff, which first appears in 19th-century England. Although we don’t know for sure how the name shandygaff came about, we are fairly certain that the concept of a beer cocktail traces back centuries earlier. And we are definitely sure that a shandygaff was enjoyed. Charles Dickens once commented that it was the perfect “alliance between beer and pop.” In The Adventures of Mr. Verdant Green—an 1853 novel about a first-year undergraduate at Oxford University written under the pseudonym Cuthbert M. Bede—Mr. Green states that a friend taught him “to make shandy-gaff and sherry-cobbler …: oh, it’s capital!” By late-19th century, shandygaff is shortened to shandy, and creative imbibers begin experimenting. Refreshing, effervescent lemonade becomes an early substitute for ginger beer. Other mixers such as orange and grapefruit juice soon follow, along with cider.

Shandygaff is a compound word, but as to why the base words came together (or in what senses they are used in) is a mystery. Inevitably, there has been speculation. Some people have suggested that gaff is a portmanteau of ginger and half. That’s possible, but what about the other multiple uses of gaffthat enter the English language by mid-19th century? Quite possibly, one of those could have been applied jocularly for the beverage’s name.

The most common use of gaff is as the name for the spear or hook used for lifting heavy fish out of the water. Another gaff refers to loud laughter (as in “his resounding gaffs filled the room” or “he gaffed merrily”)—senses found in dialectal Scottish English. There is also gaffmeaning “a fair” or “a place of lower-class amusement (as at a theater or music hall).” In a 1918 collection of essays entitled, fittingly, Shandygaff, American writer Christopher Morley links the word shandygaff to the lower classes, “Shandygaff is a very refreshing drink, being a mixture of bitter ale or beer and ginger-beer, commonly drunk by the lower classes in England, and by strolling tinkers, low church parsons, newspaper men, journalists, and prizefighters.” As early as the 17th century, shandy was also being used in dialectal English as an adjective to refer to people who were wild, boisterous, or slightly crazy. Perhaps, the “place of lower-class amusement” sense of gaffand this sense of shandy were blended together. It’s certainly not unreasonable to think that people drinking shandygaffs in lower-class establishments got a little wild—we just need to find evidence corroborating this etymology. 

The radler is a lesser-known beverage—essentially, it’s a German lemon shandy—but like shandygaff, its history is uncertain. In German, the word Radler originally means “bicyclist,” and stories on the origin of the drink’s name are centered on that meaning. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the drink was conceived by an innkeeper in the early 20th century who either needed to stretch his supply of beer to accommodate his customers—who were mostly cyclists (his inn was, apparently, on a popular bike route)—or desired to provide a refreshing, less-alcoholic beverage to the riders. In either case, his solution was to mix the beer with the lemon soda that he had on hand. The thirsty customers loved it, and the beverage was apparently named after the cyclists. We’ll say that the drink likely has a connection to cycling, but we are skeptical about the name’s origin story—and its many versions.

The fact that we’re uncertain about the etymologies of shandy and radler doesn’t change what the words signify: a beer cut with a refreshing nonalcoholic mixer (and the ratio of beer to mixer is according to preference). Enjoy a shandy or radler on a hot day, or if you’re not a beer drinker, maybe mix up some iced tea and lemonade and enjoy an Arnold Palmer instead.


Lager brewing had a stuttering start in Britain. Many new lager breweries of the final decades of the nineteenth century had a lifespan measured in months, not years. Only a couple of the pioneers were able to forge a long-term business. Many lost their shirts.

So it’s odd that one of London’s big porter breweries would invest in such an uncertain venture. But in the early 1920s, Barclay Perkins built a shiny new lager brewhouse and brought in a Danish brewer to run it.

Barclay Perkins seems to have gotten the idea a few years earlier during World War I, when foreign supplies of lager were cut off, not just from Germany and Austria-Hungary, but also from Denmark and Holland. The war at sea made exporting a highly risky business, even for neutral countries. In 1915 and 1916, Barclay Perkins experimented with decoction mashing in their pilot brewhouse, brewing lager and mild with this mashing technique. 

When Barclay Perkins rolled out their lager, they eschewed faux-Nordic names (unlike brewers of British lagers of the 1960s) and went for a simple and honest “London Lager” brand. Judging by the style of its advertising, it was meant to appear classy.

Our Brew

Munich- and Vienna-style lagers were the first bottom-fermenting beers to arrive in Britain in the 1860s. The lager featured in our recipe is obviously meant to be in the Munich style and has a pretty decent gravity for 1920s Britain when the average gravity was about 1.043. The grist for our recipe is simplicity itself, consisting of just pilsner and crystal malt, roasted barley, and Saaz hops. Neither the roasted barley nor the crystal malt is very authentically Bavarian, but it seems Barclay Perkins didn’t care about that.

Learn to create crisp, cold-conditioned lagers at home with CB&B’s Introduction to Lagering online class. Sign up today! 

One frustrating feature of most brewing records is the absence of information about hops additions, which reduces me to guessing. Happily, Barclay Perkins is an exception. In this particular case, guesswork would never have worked out this hopping schedule. Additions later than 30 minutes were very rare, but in this recipe, two-thirds of the hops are added late. The 0-minute addition that I’ve listed was actually added in the hopback.

I’ve spent a lot of time arguing that Scottish brewers didn’t really boil down first runnings to get a syrup. But based on the brew sheet, Barclay Perkins did with this lager:

“6 brls [barrels] bright runnings boiled for 3 hours or more for carmelisation”

At the scale we’re brewing, six barrels is the equivalent of about a half-gallon.

The original beer was racked off into lagering tanks after a 10-day primary fermentation. It had a gravity of 1.021 when transferred and had a temperature of 46°F (8°C). For our recipe, I suggest doing something similar, transferring the beer to a temperature-controlled secondary when you hit a gravity of about 1.020. Then drop the temperature down to about 35°F (2°C) for a few weeks to knock off the rough edges. 

The longer you can keep your hands off this beer, the better. The old rule of thumb of one-week lagering for every degree Plato of the wort seems like a good recommendation to me. In this case, that would mean fourteen weeks.

1926 Barclay Perkins Dark Lager Recipe


Batch Size: 6 U.S. gallons (22.7 liters) 
Brewhouse efficiency: 72% 
OG: 1.057 
FG: 1.016 
IBUs: 15 
ABV: 5.4%


10.75 lb (4.9 kg) Pilsner malt 
2.25 lb (1 kg) crystal malt 
0.25 lb (113 g) roasted barley


0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at 60 minutes 
0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at 30 minutes 
1.25 oz (35 g) Saaz at 10 minutes 
0.75 oz (21 g) Saaz at 0 minutes 


Mash at 154°F (68°C). Sparge at 175°F (79°C). Boil for 60 minutes. Pitch the yeast when the temperature falls to 48°F (9°C).


White Labs WLP838 Southern German Lager Yeast


If you fancy doing a full reconstruction of this recipe, try the original mashing scheme (raising the temperature with steam): Protein rest at 122°F (50°C) for 1 hour. Saccharification rest at 154°F (68°C) for 20 minutes. 
Mash out at 168°F (75°C).


Batch Size: 6 U.S. gallons (22.7 liters) 
Brewhouse efficiency: 72% 
OG: 1.057 
FG: 1.016 
IBUs: 15 
ABV: 5.4%


9.25 lb (4.2 kg) Pilsner liquid extract 
2 lb (907 g) crystal malt 
0.25 lb (113 g) roasted barley


0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at 60 minutes 
0.5 oz (14 g) Saaz at 30 minutes 
1.25 oz (35 g) Saaz at 10 minutes 
0.75 oz (21 g) Saaz at 0 minutes 


Steep the specialty grains at 160°F (71°C) for 30 minutes. Bring the wort to a boil, then turn off the heat to avoid scorching the extract. Add the extract, stirring while you add it. When the extract is fully dissolved, turn the heat back on, and bring the wort to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes. Pitch the yeast when the temperature falls to 48°F (9°C).


White Labs WLP838 Southern German Lager Yeast


There were more than 4,000 different brews available in the 60s, so we cannot list them all. This is a list of the most important ones.

Keg bitters on draught

  • Worthington ‘E’
  • Ind Coope Double Diamond
  • Whitbread Tankard
  • Watneys Red Barrel
  • Younger’s Tartan Bitter
  • Courage Tavern
  • Flowers Keg Bitter

Draught bitters

Some of these were not available for the whole of the period. I have added John Smith’s because of its popularity today. It was very much a regional beer in the 60s.

  • Bass Red Triangle
  • Worthington IPA
  • Ind Coope Bitter
  • Worthington IPA
  • Whitbread Bitter (60s)
  • Whitbread Trophy (70s)
  • Watneys Special
  • Younger’s Scotch Ale
  • Courage Bitter
  • Ansells Bitter
  • Mitchells and Butler’s Brew XI
  • John Smith’s (Tadcaster) Bitter

Retrowow reader Nathaneal remembers the TV adverts for Whitbread Trophy:

I have a strong memory of the advert on telly about “Whitbread, Big Head, Trophy Bitter, the pint that thinks its a quart. It’s got the body, the body, that satisfies – It can’t be modest, no matter how it tries!” Aye, those were the days, lad!

See UK television commercials 19551985 for the full text and some other classic adverts from the 50s to the 80s.

Draught milds

Most breweries in the 50s and 60s offered a mild. There were offerings from Green King, Greenall & Whitley, Charrington, Watneys, Whitbread, Courage, John Smith’s, Ind Coope and Ansells amongst many others. One particular favourite for Midlands’ drinkers was Mitchells and Butlers (M & B) Mild.

Whitbread Pale Ale, what other luxury could you buy for 8p in 1971?

Best pale ales (bottled)

Bottled best pale ales were growing in popularity in the 50s. To a certain extent this growth was brought to an end when keg bitter was introduced. It offered similar characteristics for a cheaper price.

  • Bass Red Triangle
  • Ind Coope Double Diamond
  • Worthington White Shield IPA
  • Charrington Toby Ale
  • Younger’s No. 3 Scotch Ale
  • Watneys Red Barrel (Export)
  • Whitbread Pale Ale
  • Whitbread (Flowers) Brewmaster
  • Vaux Double Maxim

Brown ales

  • Ansells Nut Brown
  • Fremlins Double Elephant Brown Ale
  • Greene King Burton Ale
  • Whitbread Forest Brown

Light ales

  • Charrington/Hammonds Prize Medal
  • Fremlins Elephant Light Ale
  • Younger’s Pale Ale
  • Ushers India Pale Ale
  • Whitbread Light Ale


  • Guinness
  • Mackeson (Whitbread)
  • Watneys Cream Label

Strong ales

Often sold in nip bottles (one third of a pint), strong ales were gaining a following in the late sixties and early seventies. These are some favourites from the past.

  • Whitbread Gold Label
  • John Smith’s Magnet Old Ale
  • Younger’s King of Ales
  • Daniel Thwaites Old Dan
  • Watneys Stingo
  • Ind Coope Arctic Ale

Thanks to Mr L Prior for Ind Coope Arctic Ale: 

It was a rival to Gold Label and very similar. I just thought I might mention it. Ind Coope vanished like a lot of our famous breweries. My family used to work for them in Burton on Trent back before World War II. They took over Benskins in Watford in the 60s and I lived there and saw the demise of Benskins. I’m told the old Benskins best bitter recipe lives on in a micro brewery in Devon and it’s known as Vale Best Bitter.Mr L. Prior


Lager gained in popularity throughout the 60s, but did not challenge draught bitter until the 70s. These are some of the lagers available in Britain in the 60s.

  • Carling Black Label
  • Heineken
  • Carlsberg
  • Skol
  • Harp Irish Lager
  • Tennent’s Lager (canned)
  • Tuborg Green Label Pilsner

By the seventies you could also get

  • Carlsberg Special Brew
  • Stella Artois
  • Carlsberg ’68
  • Holsten Pilsner
  • Beck’s Bier

The popularity of these latter brews increased substantially in the 80s and in some cases the 90s.

Can you buy it today?

Keg bitter

As far as any of the more popular 60s keg’s are concerned, the answer is no. 

Bottled beer

A good number of the most popular bottled pale ales are still available. Worthington White Shield IPA is available, as is Bass Red Triangle. I have also read that you can buy Double Diamond at Morrisons (although I have yet to find it!).

The one great discovery for me doing this research was Whitbread Gold Label Barley Wine. It is a strong beer sold in small cans (the cans were introduced in 1975). It has quite a sweet taste and is very pleasant – perfect for a night cap.  Whitbread Gold Label Barley Wine is available in Sainsburys, Waitrose, Morrisons and some local Co-ops.


Most of the popular brands from the 60s and 70s are still available in the supermarkets. I have seen Skol, Carlsberg, Carling (without the Black Label) and Harp.


Mild has continued to decline in popularity and there are few available now. Whitbread still do canned draught mild and you can also get Sainsbury’s own brand.


1 of 20

Allagash Brewing Company: River Trip (4.8 percent ABV)

A quarter-century after it was founded, Allagash finally started canning beers in 2019, including its flagship White and the freshly released River Trip. The agreeable, food-friendly table beer contains grains from Maine and Comet and Azacca hops, which add an aromatic gust of citrus and ripe melon.

2 of 20

Lagunitas Brewing Company: DayTime Session IPA (4 percent ABV)

Lagunitas sent its citrusy session IPA on a diet, reformulating the recipe to drop DayTime to just 4 percent ABV and 98 calories. Not reduced: the fizzy, nearly clear beer’s magnified aroma of mango and papaya. Buy a six-pack of cans and your summer BBQ is set.

3 of 20

Deschutes Brewery: Da Shootz! (4 percent ABV)

The Oregonians set the linguistic record straight on their brewery name’s pronunciation with Da Shootz! It’s a contemporary American pilsner suited for lunchtime and anytime, thanks to its low ABV and lively aroma of citrus that’s supplied by Lemondrop hops.

4 of 20

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery: Slightly Mighty (4 percent ABV)

Dogfish Head designed this beer for calorie-conscious IPA lovers with an active lifestyle. Slightly Mighty offers the aromatic excess of your favorite IPA wrapped up in a 95-calorie package packing but 3.6 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can. The secret to the subtle sweetness and surprisingly full body is a bit of monk fruit. 

5 of 20

Firestone Walker Brewing Company: Rosalie (5 percent ABV

The biggest drawback to drinking rosé is its double-digit alcohol content. Firestone Walker fixes that by creating this wine-beer hybrid that’s fermented with a blend of six grape varieties, then finished with hibiscus for rosé’s hallmark pink hue. Rosalie is dry and delicately acidic, with a moderate alcohol content designed for day dissolving into evening. 

6 of 20

Harpoon Brewery: Rec League (3.8 percent ABV)

The hazy little pale ale raids the health-food store for its ingredients, including better-for-you pantry staples including buckwheat and chia seeds. Sea salt rounds out this pillow-y, tropical pale ale that’s sold by the 15-pack. Consider it a cooler-stocker for the softball leagues everywhere. 

7 of 20

Marathon Brewing: 26.2 Brew (4 percent ABV)

This year, Boston Beer Company (the maker of Sam Adams beers) launched the Marathon Brewing spin-off. The first release is the runner-friendly 26.2 Brew, developed with insights from marathon champions Meb Keflezighi and Desiree Linden. The refreshing golden ale is flavored with coriander and Himalayan sea salt, the latter lending post-run electrolytes.

8 of 20

New Belgium Brewing Company: Mural Agua Fresca Cerveza (4 percent ABV)

Colorado’s New Belgium partnered with Mexican brewery Primus Cervecería to create a riff on Mexico’s agua fresca, a drink made with water and fresh fruit. Mural is made with watermelon, lime, agave and hibiscus, which provide the invigorating beer a glowing-pink tint.

9 of 20

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company: Sierraveza (5 percent ABV)

The legendary California brewery looked to Mexico for this easy-going, cracker-crisp lager designed for good times at the beach and trips to the taco stand. Sure, you can add a squeeze of lime, but the fine floral aroma needs no adulteration.

10 of 20

Southern Tier Brewing Company: Swipe Light (4 percent ABV)

Who says light beers need be lacking in flavor? Southern Tier’s brand-new release twins 110 calories (per 12-ounce serving) to low bitterness and an enticing citrus scent delivered by Citra and Mosaic, popular hop varieties from the Pacific Northwest.


Looking for seasonal beers to try in 2019? We’ll recommend the best.

Spring Seasonal Beers to try in 2019

This winter has been a weird one. Much of the United States is experiencing a snow storm one day, and warm weather the next. So, we’ll recommend some brews that you can drink no matter what the temperature.

Great spring beer styles include fresh, dry styles. Many breweries are starting to put out their hoppy beers, so spring is the perfect time to embrace that style.

Here Are 8 of the Best Seasonal Beers to Try in Spring 2019:

Winter Seasonal Beers to Try in 2019

We just know this winter is going to be a cold one. Time to bear down and crack open a cold, yet warming brew for the winter months ahead.

Winter beers are typically heavier styles such as: stouts, porters, bourbon barrel aged and beers brewed with chocolate. These make for the perfect belly-warmers.

Here Are 10 of the Best Seasonal Beers to Try in Winter 2019: