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


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.

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

How much mead can you really drink?

Sometimes when you're drinking big beers, you want a li'l mead. Photo: B. Yaeger

I like most mead. I just don’t like drinking a ton of it. Does anyone? I bet not even the RenFaire folks–who are eternally tethered to the drink in an UnFair depiction of who the only people who actually drink it are–drink it copiously. I think even 12 oz. would exceed my limit.

So it’s great that, at a recent bottle share of sorts, a Michigander brought a nip from his home state. Kuhnhenn is a brewery and winery…and meadery. The nip in question was their Meritage Pyment. There are many mead styles, many of which are simply fermented water-honey-yeast, but a pyment is mead blended with wine grapes or in this case, various house red wines, then aged in an oak barrel. Kuhnhenn also makes a line of single-hopped meads that even devout IPA fans could get down with. I just don’t know if they could handle more than 187 mL at a time.


Sanbitter: Soft apéritif

Puny aperitif. Photo: B. Yaeger

Apéritifs are generally served before a meal “to stimulate appetite” or something. The classic is Campari, maybe cut with sparkling mineral water. So no surprise those crafty, gastronomic Italians created a non-alcoholic version, Red Sanbitter, and since it hails from the land of the cutest little bottles, it naturally comes in a 100 mL bottle. Yes, ~3.5 oz. Which is fine since this stuff tastes like sucking on a grapefruit rind!

When it comes to beer, the best way to enjoy it as with meals. Or friends. Or better yet: with friends over a meal. I have a bottle of 24% ABV  Samuel Adams Utopias (when it retails for $200, don’t call it Sam). It’s richer than an oil tycoon and is generally enjoyed as an after-dinner drink, a digestif if you will. The ornate bottles are 24 ounces.


Our vote: it should come in 100 mL bottles. That’s 1/7th the size, and it should retail for $30, just like a snifter of the fine sherry or Cognac it resembles. And they can call it Samuele Adamo Utopias!

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!