Sunday, 29 January 2012

Tyranny of the pint

No doubt this Guardian article will raise a few hackles:
The pint glass is an outdated relic and beer drinkers have been subjected to it for too long. It's time to put it out to pasture, says Ben McFarland
But he has a point. Most of the world, certainly most of Europe, tends to drink beer of about 5% ABV in glasses of around 330 ml. Only in Britain and Ireland do we tend to drink beer of about 4% ABV in pint glasses.

Yes, if you’re just relaxing or chewing the fat with your mates over your usual tipple of mild, ordinary bitter or cooking lager, pints are fine. But if you really want to appreciate beer, especially beers of 5% ABV and above, pints are just too much all at once, while halves continue to look like a distress purchase. So here’s to more pubs and bars offering their customers the choice of a two-thirds pint measure in the future.

16 comments:

  1. I believe it was Michael Jackson who said that the pint was the perfect measure if you want to really get to grips with a certain beer.

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  2. I can't believe you have lent any credence to this pretentious tripe. And who says halves look like a distress purchase? They don't to me.

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  3. No, to have a half in your hand conveys the message that you are short of time or money, you are driving, or you want to try as many beers as possible. You have a compelling reason not to have a "proper glass of beer", hence it being a distress purchase. A two-thirds would be much less so.

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  4. But where will it all end, this consumer choice lark? Keg beer, sky sports and new flavours of crisps, that's where. Down with this sort of thing.

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  5. In Australia most people would drink 425mL but the decent bars do pints.

    With so many people drinking spirits with energy drinks, I can't see why beer gets all the blame.

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  6. Halves a distress purchase? What’s distressing about being in a hurry, or driving, or trying several different beers? They are simply reasons, not causes of distress. If you genuinely are distressed about buying a half, perhaps you shouldn't be going out alone yet. Most drinkers don’t sit there analysing the reasons why someone else has bought a half, and anyone who buys one thinking the rest of the pub is thereby judging him* is far too self-absorbed for his own good.

    I have absolutely no problem with drinking stronger beers (5% upwards) from pint glasses, although if faced with an 8% beer, I might ask for a half with no signs of distress ~ on the other hand I might buy a pint, depending how I feel. I’ve done both. Every time I go to the pub, which is frequently, the pint seems extremely popular; it will be time to put it out to pasture when people stop preferring it. The argument about strong beers isn’t very relevant when most beers seem to be in the 3.5% to 4.5% range.

    But those are simply my observations and preferences, not absolute facts: others may have different views, and they also aren't facts.

    * I say ‘him’ because it's unlikely women would worry about such things.

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  7. I don't see anything wrong with half pints but, as beer is typically now 5% rather than 3.8%, I would rather buy it in 2/3 pint units than pints. And how can more choice be bad?

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  8. Pints and halves are fine - why bother adding the extra expense of purchasing 330ml glasses to our struggling pubs?

    It all sounds a bit pretentious and too cosmopolitan to me. Traditional British pubs, pints and halves are part of our heritage - why fuel their decline by pandering to the whims of a few?

    Russell VR Ord

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  9. When I lived in Melbourne (70s) the pub offered a "glass" at 7 oz, or a "pot" at 10 oz (half a pint). Admittedly, in the heat of summer, the small glass was the best option, as a "pot" would be warm before you finished it. Unless you drank like a storm drain, of course.

    Where I live now, all beers start at 5%, mostly bottled, and the choice is between 33cl and 50cl. Again, summer tends to mandate the smaller bottle, for aforesaid reasons.

    Although I'm quite attached to the British pint, I would tend to agree that a two-thirds measure might be a good idea.

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  10. Imagine if Wetherspoons only sold halves. You'd spend half an hour at the bar trying to attract the attention of the lone bar person. Ten to fifteen minutes later your half would be finised and you'd be back at the bar for another half hour. One way of keeping to the consumption guidelines I suppose.

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  11. I usually find a pint to be just about right for a 3.8 to around 5.0 per cent beer, but will often try halves in a pub with a range of "interesting" ales on - I certainly don't regard them as "distress purchases" - in fact I,m not sure I know what that means! The biggest problem with halves is that the beer tends to disappear a bit too quickly, so in that respect a 330ml (or similiar) measure may have some merits-assuming of course that it's priced proportionally to that of a half or pint. Have to say, overall there are bigger issues in the world of beer and pubs at the moment.....

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  12. "No, to have a half in your hand conveys the message that you are short of time or money, you are driving, or you want to try as many beers as possible. You have a compelling reason not to have a "proper glass of beer", hence it being a distress purchase. A two-thirds would be much less so."

    Stop it now - this is nonsense and you know it.

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  13. "Stop it now - this is nonsense and you know it."

    Ah, you haven't seen March's OT column yet...

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  14. Aagh! Might make the March issue quite controversial 'cos I'm thinking of running Rhys's piece too!

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  15. Every time I go to the pub, which is frequently, the pint glasses seems extremely popular. it will be time to put it out to pasture when people stop preferring it which is impossible.

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