Guinness is Good for Nips

Read Bros. Dog's Head, found on Jess Kidden's Guinness in America site.

Read Bros. Dog’s Head, found on Jess Kidden’s Guinness in America site.

Our old friend Jess Kidden dropped in to share this nip nugget: “The word NIP is a trade-marked name owned by Read Bros. And may not be used on any other brand than Dog’s Head.” The full clip can be found on his Guinness in America site. He added that he:

Came across a booklet put out by one of the US importers of Guinness and Bass in the immediate post-Repeal era the other day.  Alex B. Shaw, Inc. imported the Guinness bottled by Read Bros., Ltd. of London under the Dog’s Head label (from my research, it seems that the Guinness bottled and imported from E. J. Burke might have been more prevalent in the US market).

Funnily enough, the day after we received this email, we saw a replica metal sign for Dog’s Head. Glad to know that, had we been around exactly 80 years ago, we could’ve bought a carton of either 4-dozen nips of Guinness or Bass.

This claim by Dog’s Head also made Kidden remark, “Makes me want to go through my files and see how many US brewers’ ads used ‘Nip’ specifically (as opposed to the casual use by consumers, bars, etc).  Off hand, the first one I thought of was this Butte ad:”

Thanks for keeping the nips slippin’, Kidden.

Submitted by Jess Kidden

Submitted by Jess Kidden

Half Bassed

IMG_1870Found this li’l 25-cl beauty in an Italian beer bar. Does that make it a nipolo, a nipello, or perhaps a nipini?

Non-alcoholic and mercifully small

Woody Allen opens Annie Hall thusly:

“There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

That’s the best comparison even we can find for Bavaria’s Fruity Rosé. We love nips. But the point is to consume less high-alcohol beers. What’s the point of canning an “alcoholvris,” Dutch for alcohol-free since Bavaria is The Netherlands’s second-largest brewery, “beer” 15 centiliters at a time? While departing the opening gala of Dutch Beer Week, I snagged one of these clearly intended as party favors or to help people rehydrate. It tastes just like fruit berry punch, but in addition to raspberry, cherry, and blueberry concentrate, it also contains barley malt and hops. No mention of gist, yeast, so it’s not exactly surprising they achieved 0,0% alc. instead of, say, 0,5. Maybe the demure size is to prevent us from getting a sugar high.Image

The Devil is making my big-little dream come true!

Duvel is one of the most iconic beers on Earth. This benchmark for the Belgian Strong ale style is devilishly tasty, but it also packs a wicked strong kick at 8.5% ABV. So what’d they do two days ago? They nipped it in the bud (sorry, shouldn’t say Bud here). The Dutch love putting beer–any beer including Grolsch–into little bottles and even have their own word for it, “flesje.” In short, Duvel, Brabantian for “devil,” is now available in 18-cl nip bottles (just 6 oz.)!

"Groots bier, kleine fles"

“Groots bier, kleine fles”

From their website, with Google Translate on:



Duvel Moortgat today launched the Mini, a great addition to the range of this family, Belgian specialty beer brewery….Each bottle of Duvel 18cl Mini instead of 33cl. Contains These irresistible little Duvel is marketed for lovers of distinctive tastes, quality preferable to quantity.

With Duvel Mini can be extra enjoyed all the different beautiful moments of the day: a drink after work, an appetizer at dinner or during a nice evening in a grand café. Duvel Mini is now available at the supermarket and in the hospitality industry and better …put in a seductive campaign.


The Belgian specialty beer has a striking, distinctive bottle that fits the unique taste: on the supermarket shelves are now the next big bottles of Duvel Mini bottles with the same design…Duvel Mini also offers quality and great taste delight to enjoy the little moments that ask for a glass of specialty!


Brooding over my little brood

Two things to know first. “Brood” is Dutch for bread. And the Dutch are the tallest people in the world on average.

This is my wife and child. My son recently got his 2-year checkup and ever-so-barely made the height chart. My wife is of average height.* (*If you’re a 10-year-old Dutch girl.) All of this to say–the deliveryman at this Amsterdam bakery chain is either the tiniest Dutchman, or someone really parked this rad, nip of a truck on the sidewalk for my beloved family members.

We houden nips (15 cl)

Greetings from the Netherlands! Long story small because this is about all things small, we moved to Amsterdam for the next two years. And already we’re discovering that it’s a small world after all. The Dutch, it seems, love drinking things 15 centiliters at a time (that’s 5 ounces for those who haven’t gone metric), from suds to sodas.

Take this sampler of a fantastic IPA from Dutch brewery, er brouwerij Maximus. They sure pack a ton of (American) hops into this 15-cl serving.

Brouwerij Maximus High Hops/Low-volume

Brouwerij Maximus High Hops/Low-volume

And this can of Coke, “Champagne American,” found at the supermarket.

I'll have a finger of Coca-Cola

I’ll have a finger of Coca-Cola

Of course, the beer was €3 and the Coke was €0.45, but both are perfect nips.

Ride the Champagne ponies

Credit: Danny Kim

Credit: Danny Kim

Thanks, Niki Ganong, for posting this li’l nugget on my FB wall. It seems that Andrew Knowlton, Bon Apétit’s The Foodist, is in the know when it comes to nips of beer. He blurbs, “Miller High Life ponies, the seven-ounce guys, are standard at any Foodist party. Why? They chill down quickly, they finish fast so they never get warm, and…You might call them cute, too.” While I can’t say I whole-heartedly agree with his taste in beer–the snob in me would say a Miller High Life pony bottle is perfect because you only have to drink 7 ounces of it–he still uses sound reasoning and I’m glad to know their vintage ponies are back. If I find ’em, I’m seriously picking ’em up for my next cookout.



Venezuelan nips

Abram Goldman-Armstrong, beer writer and soon-to-be cider maker (professionally, that is), sent along this pic of his nip. He found it at La Arepa, the Venezuelan food cart at à la carts, the pod at SE 50th and Division. He points out that it’s obviously not beer, but is still made from malt, calling it, “Darker than a lot of maltas I’ve had but still super sweet.” As such, it’s perfecto that it comes in 7-oz (207 ml) nip bottles. Salud.2013-07-02 12.27.38

All the Nips Fit to Print #4: Yuengling Porter

Taking a page (yes, pun intended) from Jay Brooks’s Beer in ads series, we welcome you to a series on vintage nip (or ponies, splits, pocket torpedoes, etc) print ads, sales sheet, and labels.

We came into this wellspring courtesy of a home-historian by the nom de bière Jess Kidden. Here we have two different labels from Yuengling, America’s Oldest Brewery (1829) as well as the largest independent brewing company in the country (which you might only know of if you live in one of the 13 eastern states they’re distributed in or you’ve read about them). Both labels are from their Porter. Curiously, the 8-oz bottle is referred to as a “Brownie” package. My only guess is that rather than their usual green bottle, they put the brown porter in a better, brown bottle. The other one is also curious and I wish I knew which came first. Instead of a whopping 8 ounces, the other one touting the beer as “wholesome and refreshing” was packaged 7 ounces at a time. Either way, it’s sure more responsible than the quart bottles you still can find in Pennsylvania to date.NIPYuenglingPorter2

PUB’s NOP. Nip-on-premise

Perhaps the image is awkward–two mismatched nips, but it shows how they do come in all shapes and sizes.

I was tipped off by Lisa Morrison the Beer Goddess that the homebrew supply shop/brewpub/brew-on-premise in Sellwood-Moreland, Portland U-Brew, had bottled up some of the bottlewine brewed by Jason and Matt in 7-oz nip bottles that, surprisingly, hadn’t flown off the shelves. In fact, two cases did not fly off, so Jason put ’em to good use.

We opened these side-by-side (nip-by-nip) and they couldn’t have been more different. PUB’s was bourbon aged and tasted like Girl Scout Samoas, vanilla-sweetness kissed with caramel and coconut. 21st Amendment’s new-to-cans Lower de Boom is a classic “American barleywine” erupting with hops to the tune of 92 IBUs. Here’s to hoping this catches on quickly so I can get a shot of three nips.

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