One of my characters - of pretty high social status, and used to the finer things in life - visits a pretty seedy tavern (out of necessity: a meeting she needs to attend has been arranged there).
I'm assuming that at a normal medieval-type tavern, ale would be served (at least, that's what I've always found in narrative - if I'm mistaken, by all means correct me).
Given that I don't drink - at all - I haven't the faintest clue what would differentiate good, quality ale from bad ale. My research indicates that ale is sweet and fruity-tasting; would this mean terrible ale is extremely sour, or am I completely off the mark?
My Google-fu is failing me here, because all search tags I could think of (good ale, bad ale, quality of ale, and similar) have yielded absolutely nothing of use. Wikipedia wasn't much help, either.
Also, another drinking-related question. How long does it take a person (human male, 30 or so years old, pretty average in terms of physical fitness, if it makes any difference at all) to get completely and utterly drunk? (Assume - again, if it makes any difference - that he's drinking ale, most likely the cheapest, nastiest stuff he can get his hands on.) Also, what would it take for him to stay drunk? (Assume first deliberate action, then I'm guessing habit.) Would he be drinking pretty much constantly, or just when the effects start to wear off? (How long would the effects take to wear off?)
Googling "effects of drinking", "drunkenness" and such only turns up information on how fast the stuff eats up one's liver, brain cells etc, which doesn't help me much.
ETA: Got my answers - thanks to everybody :)