Monday, February 25, 2008

The Nonic

Give the English credit -- although they may often be accused of being plain and boring (and their session beers, with names like "Mild" and "Ordinary Bitter," don't always blow this perception out of the water), their standard drinking vessels do tend to show at least a little more creative flair that their straight-sided, chunky American counterpart.

OK, so the operative phrase here is "a little." Enter the nonic, the U.K.'s most popular style of glassware. It is distinguished by its obvious bulge near the top of the glass, which is either meant to improve the drinker's grip or prevent stacked glasses from sticking together -- or perhaps both. Your typical nonic, as found in the U.K., will check in at 568 mL or 19.2 ounces (an imperial pint, in other words), and will be diligently and consistently filled to its proper capacity, under penalty of law.

Not surprisingly, given its popularity across the pond, the nonic looks best when filled to the brim with an authentic English-style ale -- anything from Bitter to London Porter would be a natural choice. (Although, at least in this writer's opinion, Porters and Stouts look best in the nonic.) What matters most, however, is that whatever ale you chose to dispatch into the nonic, it had best be plentiful enough in supply to furnish an entire evening's worth of serious pub-style session drinking.

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