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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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.

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.

Nippon’s Nips

Photo: Tokyo5

It’s been brought to our attention that our use of, nay, championing of “nips” can be offensive or viewed as derogatory to some, but we assure you that nips as it pertains to beer has its origins in German, Dutch, and/or olde English. It just so happens that the Japanese Kirin Beer comes in some of the best nip cans we’ve ever seen. Yes, there’s the classic 250 mL one, but dig it–a 135 mL half-nip! A nip blip. Perfect for when you only want…a sip.