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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Honest Pints in Bend

And so the movement spreads. The enterprising Bruce Miller, throwing himself into a story for Bend's The Source Weekly with little regard for personal safety or liver health, has spent some time in the town's alehouses measuring "pints."
Like most naïve beer drinkers, I always assumed that when I paid for a pint I got a pint. It was only after stumbling across Portlander Jeff Alworth’s “Beervana” blog that the hideous truth began to dawn on me....

Having a few typical pub-style “shaker” glasses (so called because they’re the kind used in combination with a metal cup to shake cocktails) around the house, I decided to put Alworth’s claim under scientific scrutiny.

The testing apparatus was highly sophisticated: one of the glasses and a 32-ounce measuring cup. I filled the measuring cup with water to the 16-ounce line and carefully poured it into the glass. Sure enough: When the glass was up-to-the-brim, couldn’t-hold-another-drop full, it contained exactly 14 ounces. Obviously there was no way in hell to fit a true pint of beer into that thing.

For the full report, you should read the full and amusing account. But here are a few of his findings:

At McMenamin’s I called for a pint of IPA. It arrived in one of the “shaker” glasses with a half-inch head on top. Pouring the beer into my 32-ounce measuring cup – and getting a lot of peculiar looks from servers and customers in the process – I determined that the liquid content was a scant 13 ounces, three ounces shy of a full pint.

On to the Deschutes Brewery, which for many years has been serving its ales in 20-ounce “imperial pints.” My imperial pint of Buzzsaw Brown had a half-inch head and clocked in at about 18 ounces – not a full “imperial pint,” but well over the 16-ounce level, and at $4 a clear bargain over McMenamin’s stingy $4.15 “pint.”

Then it was time to stagger out to Cascade Lakes, which also pours imperial pints. My IPA ($4) had only about a quarter-inch of head and contained a bit over 18 ounces.

Bartender, partner and president Chris Justema told me his pub and the Deschutes Brewery are the only ones in town that use the imperial pint. But he said the Bend Brewing Company also serves up honest pints in English-style pub glasses, so it was with eager anticipation that I headed there to perform my last research of the day.

Alas, my bright hopes were dashed. A “pint” of Outback Old Ale for $4 and turned out to contain barely 12 ounces – 25% short of the full-pint mark.

So there you have it: two new Honest Pint purveyors to add to my list. Thanks for sacrificing yourself to the cause, Bruce!

[Update: For those of you who may not be familiar with the Honest Pint Project, read about it here.]

3 comments:

Paul said...

This is a problem in the UK also, and CAMRA have long campaigned for a full pint. It's more of a problem in the north where they seem to think that beer should have a head on it. Thankfully a lot of pubs seem to be moving over to 'lined' glasses where a line, about 10mm from the top of the glass marks the pint level. These glasses are great because you get a full pint and you don't spill any beer.

Magnus said...

Errrm, yes, beer should be served with a foam head. Of course it should. And not just a puny 10mm head, but preferably a huge one.

The problem is not the foam, it's the glassware. Get rid of those ugly nonic glasses and use large and elegant tulip-style glasses instead, which allow the foam to develop, like they do on the continent.

iggir said...

brilliant. does the Green Dragon conform with their weird-shaped pint glasses?

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