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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cheater Pint Alert

As you know, one of the standard pub glasses in Portland is the "shaker pint," the gently-fluted cylinder of thick glass you regularly find in taverns. Unwittingly or unscrupulously (depends on the establishment), these vessels are labeled "pints," though they hold about 13 ounces of liquid if they come with a skiff of head (almost 14 if you go right to the brim). Among those of us in the know, this is one of those accepted dirty secrets. We're not going to turn down a glass of Total Domination just because it comes in a wee glass, but it chafes to spend four bucks on a cheater pint.

But here's a new one. Last night, we had a nightcap at Kells and ordered a round of libations that included three beers. Two came in cheater pint glasses, but the third came in a Guinness tulip-style pint glass, which, depending on the style, is either a full pint or 20 ounces. It's a bit difficult to tell which version they were using.

Selling the same beer in different volumes is unacceptable. I have no doubt Kells is in the dark about this, but that's really no excuse. (On the other hand, if you go, you can probably request the Guinnie glass and know you're getting the secret bonus.)


  1. FYI - not ALL shaker pints are cheaters. The real 16oz shakers ahve roughly 3/8" inch of glass at the bottom whereas the cheaters ahve a little over 1/2" of glass and feel a bit heavier.

    I tested it on a couple glasses at the Belmont Station Biercafe, and they held 16oz of water.

  2. Your point is important and savvy drinkers would be wise to eyeball the two glasses so they can distinguish. However, the larger versions are still a tiny minority of the shaker pints on the market.

  3. You're absolutely right. The fact that they're the same size "externally" can make it almost impossible to tell unless you fill them with a pre-measured amount of liquid.

    I really wish we could move to a British-style system where the various quantities are clearly labeled on the side of the glass so that the consumer knows exactly what they're getting.

    The other drawback to the shakers, even the 16oz ones, is that in order to get a full measure of beer you have to fill the glass all the way to the top and sacrifice any room for head.

    BTW, I'm not sure why my first post showed up as anonymous instead of using my blogger name, but I'm assuming you knew who it was anyhow...