UK weekly edition, Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Drinking two types of beer in one glass may not be as popular as an alcoholic fusion of spirits, but there is one beer combination that stands out.

A novelty of sorts in bars round the globe, a Black and Tan beer can be a nice change from the monotonous basic pint of beer.

The drink’s name comes from its two-toned color — a golden ale or lager at the bottom half with a dark stout carefully filled on top to avoid disruption in the colors.

Some Web sites call the double-layered drink, also known as a half-and-half, an American fixation and say that bars in Ireland usually pour both beers together.

The origin of the Black and Tan name comes from a political reference to the black and khaki military uniforms worn by a British special auxiliary force, which was brought into Ireland to smother an uprising from Irish nationalists in 1920, according to the BBC Web site.

The British government sent more than 8,000 Black and Tan troops, who attacked the Irish Republican Army — as well as innocent civilians.

In what was considered their most infamous attack, the Black and Tans killed 12 people in November 1920 when they opened fire on a crowd gathered for a football match in Dublin, according to

The shooting was in retaliation for the murder of 14 undercover detectives by the IRA, the Web site said.

The Black and Tan troops also destroyed creameries as a way to economically punish those helping the IRA, the Web site added.

As a result of the troops’ actions, controversy still looms over the Black and Tan name.

Ice cream moguls Ben & Jerry’s even apologized for calling a new flavor “Black and Tan” last year after it received complaints, according to news reports.

On the other hand, the Oxford English Dictionary also defines black and tan as a breed of terrier with a black back and tan markings on its body.

Got a question about something you’ve seen or heard around the United Kingdom? E-mail us at:

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