Can we make a collective pledge to never again write that a beer "slips down far too easily"? We'll feel better for it. Promise.
— Tony Naylor (@naylor_tony) June 24, 2015
Mr Naylor makes a good point, we think, and we thought it might be a good idea to compile a list of beer writing clichés as part of our very occasional series of posts on writing style.
Clichés are units of language that, however clever they seem the first time you hear them, have ceased to seem interesting or even meaningful because of endless repetition. They’re a sort of tic or habit — the opposite of careful writing.
We use clichés all the time, to our shame — The Beer Nut rightly picked us up on ‘wet their whistles‘, for example — but would really like to get out of the habit so this list is a reminder to ourselves as much as anything.
Here are the ones that popped into our heads — feel free to suggest more in the comments below. (But not just words are phrases that might annoy you — ‘real ale’ isn’t a cliché; ‘a foaming pint of ale’ is.)
- a good time was had by all — as said of pub crawls, brewery tours and other social events.
- avid homebrewer — as flagged by Joshua M. Bernstein.
- belies its strength
- black as ink/night/sin — of porter, stout &c.
- cosy atmosphere — said of pubs.
- dazzling range/selection/array of beers
- enamel-stripping/tooth-stripping — tasting note often applied to sour beers.
- fish guts — for isinglass finings; after some consideration, we think this has become a cliché.
- fizzy piss — descriptive of mainstream lager or keg bitter.
- flowed over the bar — drink in one direction, money in the other.
- Greedy Ker-ching — for Greene King; expired around the same time as ‘Tony B. Liar, more like!’
- ice-cream/whipped-cream/shaving-foam head
- metric/imperial fuck-tons/butt-loads — typically describing the hop content of a beer but also applied to, e.g., cocoa nibs.
- mine host/mein host — an example of Pub-bore-ese.
- much [X] was quaffed
- relaxed vibe — said of bars.
- summer in a glass
- this is not your father’s/grandfather’s [X]
- weighing in at — referring to alcoholic strength, as flagged by Adrian Tierney-Jones and Jeff Pickthall.
- winter warmer — a cliché unless it’s a brand name.
- zombeers — quite apart from the cask/keg politics this is another joke that’s passed its best.