Monday, November 15, 2010

One 'Big Strong' Please

Beer. I like it. Dark beers, white beers, Christmas beers, ale and lager. I like beer.

Here in Sweden the tradition is to order beer by the size and strength. This pains me at times. You don't tend to ask what is on tap, or what type of beer it is, you only care that it is 'big and strong'

En Stor Stark, Tack!

And let me tell you, En Stor Stark ain't cheap either – even during the 'happy hour specials'- a big and strong will set you back at least 40-50 SEK (which at today's exchange rate is at least 6 dollars). That's kind of pricey for a glass of no-name beer.

Now you don't have to order the 'Big and strong,' if it is lunch time many Swedes opt for the 'small and light.' Don't be fooled. By light they don't mean low in calories, they mean low in alcohol. I think it's something like 2% alcohol.

Now, before I moved to Sweden, naïve me paid little to no attention to the percentage of alcohol in a beer. However, I have learned that the jump from 3.5% to 4.0% is highly significant to someone, somewhere. It is the deciding factor as to where I can buy my beer and why they want to charge me a 40% higher price.

And while I have never done it, this interesting way of ordering beer does mean that in theory you can order 'A small medium' or even 'a large medium' without illiciting any strange looks.

Rule #3: If you want real beer, skip the Stor Stark

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