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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Secret Shame of Beervana: Cheater Pints

[I'm out of town until September 18 and away from computers of all sorts. On the assumption that you won't have read every post from the past 3 years, I'm reposting a few favorites--and this one was the post that launched a movement.]

When I did my review of Amnesia, there transpired an interaction I did not mention. As most readers know--whether they know they know or not--the traditional "pint" glass used in pubs across the state (and US) do not hold 16 ounces of beer. If you pour a bottle out into one of these glasses and manage the traditional head, you know what happens--it goes right to the top. You could squeeze an ounce or two more in there if you skipped the head, but you'd have to bend the laws of physics to fit in a pint. These glasses were originally designed to shake mixed drinks in, which is why they're dense and stackable, and also why they're known as "shaker pints."

I mentioned this to the table of friends when we are at the Amnesia, and they were shocked. So shocked, in fact, that they didn't believe me. So much did one of my friends disbelieve me that she brought the waiter over to set me straight. I stuck to my guns, and so he went to fetch a measuring bowl. Sure enough, 13 ounces and change. All were mollified, mystified, and mortified. The waiter apologized and said he couldn't believe they were shorting folks.

But let us not pile on Amnesia--shaker pints are the standard in Portland. The crime of the cheater pint was once revealed by Willamette Week writer William Abernathy, who used to cruise around to pubs and pour out glasses into a Pyrex measuring bowl. He managed to shame a number of pubs into going to real pints, and inspiring others to go for 20-ounce imperial pints.

But alas, cheater pints have taken over. There's a current thread discussing the matter on the Brew Crew's listserv, and I'm surprised by how many folks were unaware of this practice. With prices edging up toward five bucks, maybe it's time to re-start the shaming. Or at least offering a list of "honest pints" so informed consumers know where to go. But who would do the research?

Originally posted February 15, 2007

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