Catherine the Great, Ena and me

Posted February 10, 2011

Catherine the Great, Ena and me

I enjoy the odd glass of Guinness. And as a publican’s daughter I fully appreciate the craft involved with pulling the perfect pint - topping up slowly, allowing the drink to settle at each stage before finishing off with a perfect, creamy top.

Now I learn that I share my fondness for a bit of the black stuff with Queen Catherine the Great of Russia. Stout was exported by sea from England to the Baltic during the 18th century and became popular with the court of imperial Russia.  It’s hard to imagine Queen Catherine sitting on her throne supping beer and yet it is said to have been one of her favourite tipples.

An image that springs more readily to mind is that of Ena Sharples. Ena was the acid-tongued battle axe in Coronation Street who gossiped about everyone and meddled in their business. She held court in the snug of the Rover’s Return and sported a hairnet rather than a crown. But she did have one thing in common with both Catherine and me: she liked her stout, milk stout to be precise.

Does this mean that women who drink stout are either harridans or queens?

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