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:

GREAT BEER, SMALL BOTTLE

21/03/2014

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.

CHARMING BOTTLE

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!

 

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.

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.

bw nips 13

NYT calls out brewers on wine-ing up beer bottles

ImageA story in The New York Times today notes that larger format bottles may be good for the brewers (in terms of their prestige and profits), but, we customers still prefer to keep things responsible. “Walk into a craft-beer store these days and you’ll see shelf after shelf taken over by giants: 22-ounce ‘bombers,’ 750-milliliter wine bottles, even three-liter jeroboams,” begins the story. It goes on to lay out the reasoning by brewers such as Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione who says, “A wine consumer in general accepts pricing stratification for 750 milliliters. They understand that an amazing bottle of merlot can cost three times as much as a bad bottle of merlot.” Happily, Michael Tonsmeire (noted homebrewer and beer blogger The Mad Fermentationist) provides a counterbalance to this story. “Priced per ounce, a 750-milliliter bottle can be twice as expensive as a six pack…It’s like having one entire wine bottle. I’m a decently sized male, and if I really wanted to, I could drink one. But that’s not a great Tuesday night.”

Alas, the Paper of Record neglected to offer a solution or two in the opposite direction. Keep beer’s price-point sufficiently high, keep it appearing exclusive or limited, and keep even big beers sessionable and affordable: bottle responsibly in 375-ml “half wine bottles” or, y’know…nips.

21A Lowers de nips

BDHkieRCQAA4peXIn a first for American craft beer in cans, San Francisco’s 21st Amendment Brewing unveils its American-style barleywine, Lower de Boom, in a proper British-style nip package, albeit aluminum rather than glass keeping in line with all of 21A’s packaging. Says co-owner Shaun O’Sullivan,  “Historically, barleywines, with their high alcohol, were brewed for their winter warmer quality…Enjoy one now and lay another can down as this beer will age quite nicely as the hops pull back and the malt and complex flavors meld together.”

Adds co-owner Nico Freccia, “When they were first brewed, barleywines were almost exclusively sold in small bottles and we wanted to recapture that tradition in a new way, with a new can. Plus, at 11.5% alcohol, any larger a serving and you might feel like the boom has been lowered on you!”

There we have it: one of the very few beers you can say is worthy to “lay another can down” and the only one packaged in a responsible portion, 250 mL or 8.4 oz, as historically intended.

Rocky Mountain Nips

The 375 ml bottle (or 12.7 ounces) is “a perfect size to have by yourself or share over dinner,” (Crooked Stave‘s Chad Yakobson) said.

Photo: ThreeBarrelBrew.com

That line is from Eric Gorski’s latest post in his First Drafts blog on DenverPost.com. Gorski’s in the enviable position of writing about beers, events–and trends–in the Colorado brewing scene (and showing some love to others in equally enviable positions around the country such as the PacNW). The post, “Goodbye bomber? Boutique breweries switching to smaller bottles,” shows Colorado brewers such as Crooked Stave in Denver and Three Barrels in the southwest corner eschewing bombers and 750s and espousing 375 ml bottles! Brilliant! And now they’re on record doing it for all the right reasons (pricing, responsible portion, and a new one: risk-aversion). We’ve had the pleasure of trying Crooked Stave’s beers, meeting Chad, and even writing them up, and look forward to discovering Three Barrels beers. (Good thing we have family in nearby Durango.) Finally, as someone commented on the blog, “…this is great news! I appreciate the difference in price too as that has always kept me from being able to try everything I was interested in.” Go small or go home!

Widmer KGB: Killer Giant Beer or Kindly Go Bitty

widmer_kgbThe Brothers Widmer are about to release their big, bold Russian Imperial Stout, KGB, as part of their “W” Series some special series. It’ll appear on shelves in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles. On the same day, they’ll also roll out a raspberry stout and a chocolate stout. These will be conveyed via 22-ounce bombers. How great would it be to sample these three imperial stouts side by side? As it stands now, the only way to find out will be to buy a sixer and two bombers. For one, you’re looking at spending at least 20 bucks. For another, even if you leave five 12-ouncers in the carrier, you’re in the hole for 56 ounces of a nearly 10% beer! Who could possibly quaff over three pints of that stuff? Our recommendation? Make a sampler six-pack, two bottles each, all in 12-oz bottles. That way, we could enjoy one of each right now (the light-weights among us would have to share the “flight” with a buddy or significant other) and then put one of each down for a year. We’re not saying the noble 12-ounce bottle now constitutes a diminutive nip, but compared to the other option, this would be some smart packaging and marketing to get us to try ’em all. Don’t be a dummkopff, comrade.