Make Mine a Third

He had a floppy fringe and a City accent:

“I’ll have a third of Hefeweizen.”

She had her hair tied back from her forehead and an uncompromising expression:

“We don’t do thirds.”

What a relief.  When did a third become a recognised measurement for beer? (The Weights and Measures Act 1985 states that beer may only be sold in a third of a pint, two-thirds of a pint, or multiples of half a pint. Ed.)  Is there a special glass?  (There is. Ed.)  How small must that be?  (One third of a pint. Ed.)

Most pubs will allow you to taste a beer before committing to a particular choice if it is a beer with which you are unfamiliar; and what is a third, other than a taster?  Beer flights involve the tasting of several beers, sometimes linked around a theme, often in third-pint measures, typically served up on a wooden paddle, but it is not a practice for me.  Part of the excitement of drinking beer is choosing an unknown brand, watching a frothing pint being pulled, getting back to your seat, taking a long draught, and thinking: “Jesus, that’s disgusting.”

I am relieved that my local pub doesn’t serve thirds, but I find myself intrigued by establishments that do.  What are they like?  Are they very tiny places, frequented by very small people?  Is there a sub-culture of doll-house sized pubs existing alongside normal-sized pubs, but which I have simply overlooked in my blinkered, sizeist outlook?  Is there an Alice in Wonderland-style rabbit hole, which will tumble me into this alternative alcoholic world.

Imagine the conversations:

“I’ll have four thirds of best, please.”

“Sorry, I’ve got to rush.  Just a quick sixth for me.” (An illegal measure. Ed.)

It is no wonder that pubs are struggling, if people are drinking thirds.  It is going to be a cheap round in anyone’s money.

What next?  Beer shots?

As far as I am concerned a third of a pint is simply small beer.

© Beery Sue


Beery Sue is blessed that she has never had to worry about size.

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