Time Out New York. Time In Half Pints

Time Out New York‘s new issue is all about “NYC’s Greatest Beer.” It’s like 7 pages of beer reporting from the brewing kings of Queens to haute beer-infused fare. There’s one section called “Out with the old, in with the brew” by Christopher Ross about new trends in beer. Our favorite? “The half pint is the new pint.”

With the explosion of beers on the market–and so many of them carrying fearsome ABVs–the 16-ounce pour can prove unduly limiting. As suds destinations like Proletariat and the Pony, the eight-ounce version has gained ascendance among in-the-know drinkers, who favor the new serving size for encouraging a wider sampling of drafts and being easier on the wallet and liver.

I’ll raise a toast to little glasses in the Big Apple.



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.

Size matters

A new blog post by Ginger Johnson at Women Enjoying Beer is titled Why Serving Size Matters to Women.

She opines:

Women like flavor. Size of a beer matters to them, whether they say they want a big glass of beer, a small taste, half pint, or anything else. Because enjoyment of flavor is directly tied to the size of beer serving and what they want out of that particular experience.

She’s right in that, more than anything, Ginger preaches flavor, and our very objective in promoting nips and other responsibly-sized packages and glasses is that you don’t need to imbibe an entire litre to enjoy the taste of beer that’s contained in a half pint. There are other factors involved that serving size affects from temperature down to how much you’re really tasting once you’ve drank a lot. Of course, men like flavor, too. And 8-10 ounces of a flavorful beer doesn’t merely taste half as good as a pint or imperial pint’s worth. But then Ginger goes on about how much glass size matters.

How big is the actual vessel the beer is served in? This factor should be considered by all serving establishment for ALL patrons. Smaller hands are not exclusive to women. And being able to fully control and safely grasp the glass you’ve been served should be in mind when determining sizes on the menu.

Be you a fragile-handed woman or a man who gets away with wearing children’s gloves, you really ought to be strong enough to hold any sized vessel full of beer, because if you’re not than even a 189-mL nip bottle is likely too much alcohol for you. It’s not as if the Oktoberfest barmaids carrying 12 litres at at time, sans tray, have hands like giant squids.

Ultimately, serving size does matter–to all of us.

Stubby no more

I love nips


Allow us to pause from our focus on smaller bottles and portions of beer to celebrate something else miniature: baby Izzy Parker Yaeger (and yes, you can call him I.P.Yae). Trust us, if anyone loves nips, it’s this guy!

Taking the mystery out of nips

NC's forthcoming Mystery Brewing

Yesterday on the Aleheads podcast, a site whose very motto is “They’re ALL session beers” (which is what we say a nip bottle of a 14% R.I.S. becomes), they interviewed Erik Lars Myers who is prepping to launch Mystery Brewing. Erik is a brewer and drinker after our own heart, which we discovered during his discussion about his plans for packaging his beers. Below is an excerpt from the podcast.
Erik Lars Myers: My goal is to never sell a 6-pack…I’m more than happy to be in growlers…or special 750s…Long run, if I get a bottling line, I wanna do 7-ounce bottles and do them in 4 packs.
Aleheads: Hm. (Ed’s note: you can hear the interviewer’s bewilderment, possibly consternation) …You mean for the higher gravity stuff?
ELM: Anything. When I go out to the bar what I really want is a half pint. I often don’t want to drink an entire 16-ounce pint of a beer. I’d love to try 11 beers tonight. I don’t want to do that 16 ounces at a time…If I could drink half pints everywhere I’d be really happy. And I think people would go for a nice, cheap 4-pack of small bottles.
Aleheads: And feel like a giant.
From here, Erik mentioned that Rogue and Flying Dog used to bottle high gravity beers in nips but that  even sessionable stuff like cream ales (a la Little Kings Cream Ale, which is sold in nips in the Midwest and East Coast) would do well in smaller portions. He concluded, “(That’s) not a small amount of beer. Seven ounces is really decent.”

Enjoy nips responsibly

12 oz bottle, hmph!

My wife, who stands a bottle crown shy of five feet–I call her Half Pint. Our first kid is due to arrive in just 7 weeks, nicknamed Stubby. Sometimes when I get cranky she calls me Growler, but really, I’m a lightweight. No matter how much I drink beer, my tolerance stays low. That’s fine. It’s all about quality not quantity, right?

Right?! I’m on a kick to bring back NIPS. Technically they’re 189ml bottles, but let’s just call anything less than a standard 12oz (355ml) bottle a nip. Nips equal more to go around, more for yourself, half price, and half the calories.

Why bottle excellent beer in nips? Everybody wants some. They keep you from getting fat(ter) and/or too drunk. And they make expensive beers cheaper.

Stay tuned for more big reasons to go small.

Nipstastically yours,