Month: May 2011

No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco DayToday (31st May) the World Heatlh Organisation (WHO) is celebrating another World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the dangers involved with smoking, the health risks and providing useful information on how to break the circle of nicotine addiction.

Smoking in pubs, is still something of a hot topic for many pub goers, the smoking ban being blamed for many pub closures in the UK.  The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) will be taking advice from European Licensees on how to relax the smoking ban in Scottish pubs in an effort to reduce the number of pub closures caused by the smoking ban (source News STV).  This will not see a return of cloudy smoke filled bars, those days are thankfully gone, but it could mean that the temptation to smoke may become more visible in pubs again, meaning your will power not to smoke is going to have to be sharper than ever.

If you are a smoker, and you’ve thought about giving up, today’s World No Tobacco Day is a good day to start taking control of your health once again.  Help and assistance on how to quit smoking is widely available, the NHS provide a great starting point on their ‘Smoke Free’ website. The ‘No Smoking Day’ website has a forum where you can chat to people who are also quitting smoking, share tips, and get supportive advice from people who are going through the same withdrawals that you may be experiencing.

If you’ve given up smoking and have any tips for other BITE readers who may be searching for ways to quit do let us know in our comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Royal Oak Day, Sunday 29th May

Roayl Oak DayThis Sunday (29th May) is Royal Oak Day, in our blog post Top 10 Pub Names in the UK we mentioned that the Royal Oak is one of the UK’s most popular pub names, so here’s a very short story on how those Royal Oak pubs got their name.

After a defeat by Cromwell’s New Model Army at the Battle of Worcester on 3rd September 1651, King Charles II had a bounty on his head for the princely (kingly?) sum of £1000. During his escape to France Charles sought refuge at Boscobel House. With the assistance of William Pendrell the house caretaker, Charles spent a day alongside fellow Royalist Colonel William Carlis hiding in an oak tree on Boscobel House grounds.

After Oliver Cromwells death in 1658, England fell into political confusion, it wasn’t until 1660, Charles returning from exile in France entered into London on his birthday 29th May leading to the Restoration of the monarchy, and the restore of order.  Parliament declared the 29th May ‘Royal Oak Day’ to be a day of thanks giving in honour of the kings return.

The holiday was formally abolished in 1859, but it’s legacy still continues today on our coinage (some £1 coins) and of course, in one of our most popular pub names, The Royal Oak.  So, if you are near to a Royal Oak pub this bank holiday weekend get on down there and order a pint and bask in our great nations history.

If you’re off down the Royal Oak, let everyone know in our comments section below, or by joining the discussion on our Facebook page.

10 Quick Beer facts

10 Quick Beer FactsRecently BITE staff learned that the one of the worlds oldest known recipes, written on a clay tablet, 4000 years ago in Mesopotamia is a recipe for beer.  Not just any beer, a sacred beer given to them by their Sumerian god Enki.  (Source The Beer Institute.) Proving that (tongue in cheek) god, under whatever guise is probably a real ale drinker. The story of the clay tablet beer recipe was first reported in 2009, making this old news to BITEs serious beer patrons.  But that didn’t stop us from searching out some more beer facts for you…

Did you know?

1. The Babylonians were also keen beer drinkers, so much so that it was decreed by king Hammurabi that any person who brewed a bad batch of beer should be drowned in it as punishment. (Source Beer Advocate.)

2. Old English drinkers had whistles baked in the rim of ceramic cups, which they blew to order refills; hence the phrase “wet your whistle”.  (Source Family Brewers.)

3. On Monday 17th, 1814, at the Meux Brewery London, faulty equipment caused some 1,224,000 litres of beer to spill onto the streets of London, 9 people died in the beer tsunami, and it’s noted that gentleman died some days later from alcohol poisoning having valiantly tried to drink the streets of St Giles dry. (Source BBC History.)

4. Cenosillicaphobia – is the fear of empty an glass, obviously if you are gripped by this terrible affliction – stay near the bar, let the bar person know you are a sufferer and he/she will do their best to keep you topped up. (Source Hoppsy.)

5. The bubbles in Guinness (and beer) defy the laws of physics and float downwards.  Caused by pressure, widget black magic and drag on the sides of the glass it appears as if the bubbles in a pint of Guinness do travel downwards, if you could do a cross section of a pint though, you could see that bubbles in the centre of the glass rise normally. (Source Express.)

6. There are also 19 different variations of Guinness. (Source BeerFestBoots.)

7. In a world where everything could potentially give you cancer, it’s nice to hear that beer contains xanthohumol, an antioxidant only found in hops – known to help fight the development of cancerous cells, research is continuing so hold off turning your entire diet to beer just yet. (Source Metrolic.)

8.  The worlds oldest working brewery is Weihenstephan Abbey, Bavaria, the brewery – no longer a monastery has been making beer since 1040. That’s close to a thousand years of brewing and still no sign sign of last orders.  (Source Wikipedia.)

9. Jack Woodwards’s last wish was honored when his ashes were buried in the pub where he had spent many hours nearly every day of his life. The former landlord’s remains lie beneath a flagstone in the bar at the Boat Inn in the village of Stoke Brunne, Northhampshire, with a plaque saying: “Stand here and have a drink on me.” (Source Alcademics.)

10. Bass – The familiar red triangle of Bass Brewery (Bass Ale) is actually one of the world’s oldest trademarks, registered in 1875. The triangle continues to be used to this day. (Source Wikipedia.)


We’d love to hear if you have any interesting beer facts feel free to let us know in our comments section below, or by joining the discussion on our Facebook page.  Cheers!





What do you look for in pubs?

What do you look for in pubsWe’re still working on the new version of BITE, and this comes from one of our Facebook comments (by BITE user John Penny) who suggested we update our pub facilities options with ‘skittle alleys’.  It’s a valid point, times are changing and BITE pub goers may be looking for different things from their pubs than they were, say – a year ago or two years ago.

If there’s something that you look for in a pub, and that includes those things out of the ordinary do let us know.  Maybe you look for dog friendly or child friendly pubs? Or they have to serve food and real ale, perhaps like BITE user Chris Hayes you look for pubs that don’t have TV in them? Or you only like to visit pubs that are part of CAMRA or have a great beer garden?

Each of your comments are important to us, not only will it help to change the facilities options on BITE, but it will be useful for us when we come to relaying the information back to you, it’s basically going to be clearer, easier to read and more precise,… but more on that little gem later.

As usual, let us know your thoughts on “what do you look for in a pub?” By adding to our comments section below or joining the chat on our Facebook page. Cheers!
P.s. Kudos to any BITE user who has travelled to, or knows of the fantastic pub in today’s post image (right).

Are you heading to a Beer Festival this year (2011)?

Beer FestivalAre any of our BITE readers heading to a Beer Festival this year? We’re going to be updating our BITE Events section this week with some 2011 festival dates, and we wondered if there were any beer festivals that you felt were worth a particular mention.  We are really interested in the smaller, local beer festivals that you may be looking forward to.  Maybe there’s a beer festival you know of being held at your local pub, or a community fayre will be offering a selection of real ales.  BITE is still the UK’s busiest pub and bar website, and this is free advertising for the little guys so if you are planning a visit to a more obscure beer festival, please do let us know the location of the beer festival in our comments section below, or on our Facebook page.  We really do appreciate all your comments, so keep them coming, cheers!  … Of course if you’re heading off to one of the larger festivals too – feel free to let us know!