As an expat, you use many tools to help assimilate into your new environment and culture. Groups, sports, schools, the internet. You would imagine that as an Australian with British heritage it would be easy to move to England ...wrong..the culture is very different and it was actually easier for me to move to China. There you knew it would be a total change of life and the culture is totally different, as opposed to thinking England will be the same as home and finding otherwise!
I have three books that are helping me with the transition! The first is actually my husband's, The Good Beer Guide. Self explanatory...it lists the British pubs where you will find the perfect pint of real ale. A pint of good real ale is quite hard to find and must be "well kept". In Australia a well kept beer means it has been sitting in the beer fridge out the back, chilled and ready for consumption. The beer fridge will have, in close proximity a collection of stubby holders to put your tinny (can) or stubby (bottle) in to keep it cold.
In the UK it appears far more complicated, the beer must be kept at the correct temperature...different for each type of ale, an ale must be served in it's own glass, woe betide the bartender who puts a Timothy Taylor in an Old Crafty Hen glass! With so many 'rules', The Good Beer guide is now my husband's bible in tracking down the best pubs with 'well kept' ales. Great for getting us out and about...my British Ale connoisseur husband gets to reacquaint himself with his favourite ales and we all get to see more of the countryside.
The Good Beer Guide has an 'All about Ales' chapter which explains the process of making the perfect ale, looks to be quite a science. A chapter devoted to no less than a dozen Britain's classic beer styles from Stouts to Pale Ales and best of all, a list of all the pubs in the UK that serve a well kept ale. Arranged by county, there is a description of each pub and what it has to offer in terms of beers on tap with easy to read symbols which advise if meals or accommodation are available, if pub is of historical significance and even if the pub has a log fire...great for winter outings.
We have discovered through The Good Beer Guide,a number of lovely little pubs close to our village that satisfy my husband's desire for a well kept pint or two and my desire for a good meal. Love how all the pubs we have been to will give you a taste of the ale before you buy, to make sure you like it. We have also had some amazing meals, totally debunking the myth of stodgy British pub food. Look forward to travelling further affield, having lots of adventures while we discover all that this country has to offer with the promise of a well kept ale and a good meal at the end. The trusty guide in the glove box to point us in the right direction.