Along with darts
, pickled egg
s and bar stool hurling
, the Yard of Ale
is an English pub tradition
going back hundreds of years. It is an unusually shaped beer
glass whose main purpose was to be used as part of a drinking game
. They're not commonly seen in action, nowadays, but some pubs
still have them displayed, either in a stand or slung from the ceiling behind the bar.
The glass owes its name to its shape; A Yard of Ale glass is long, (roughly a yard in length), and narrow. It has a bulbous bottom, a top shaped like a funnel or a vase and the two ends are connected by a long, thin stem. A Yard of Ale will typically hold two or three pints of ale, (never lager!)
To consume beer from a Yard of Ale is a real feat. When first raised to your lips, the problem is controlling the weight of the beer-filled bulb at the end of the glass. The beer comes easily until enough has been consumed to allow air to flow up the stem and into the bulb. At this point, the air entering the glass forces the remaining beer quickly down the stem and, normally, down the front of your shirt.