Beer history pubs quotes

Ghissile is Arf of Ale

“Ghissarf,” said another customer.

“What the hell’s that?” I laughed.

The barman translated.

“Half o’ bitter.”

“Oh…? How do you know he doesn’t want ale?”

“He’d have said ‘ghissile’ if he wanted ‘arf o’ ale,” smiled the barman. “‘Ghissarf’ means ‘arf o’ bitter.”

“I see. And suppose he wanted a pint of bitter?”

“Then he’d say ‘Pinta bi’er’, o’ course. If he wanted a pint of ale he’d say ‘Pint’. ‘Ghissile’ is arf of ale, and ‘ghissarf’ is ‘arf o’ bitter.”

From We Keep A Pub by Tom Berkley, 1955.

One reply on “Ghissile is Arf of Ale”

How interesting that into the 1950’s, the venerable distinction of “beer” (bitter/pale ale) and “ale”, meaning likely mild here, was still maintained. You can just interpret the local slang: “ghissarf” is “give us a half”, “ghissile” is, “give us [a half of] mild”.


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