Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In Praise of Pints

Is there any more iconic symbol of beer drinking than the pint? Whether it is the American pint of 473ml, or the British at 568ml, or even the 'metric' pint at a round, even 500ml. Beer drinking and pints go together like fish and chips, apple pie and ice cream, or guláš and knedlíky. Apparently the etymology of the word 'pint' is that it originated from a painted mark on a drinking vessel up to which a publican or landlord was supposed to fill in order to give a proper measure of beer.

The pint glass is also iconic, and clearly I don't agree with Ben McFarland in his Guardian article of last year that the pint glass is an 'outdated relic'. My personal glass preference is the classic, some might say 'old fashioned', nonic.

Sure it might not be the trendiest glass in the world, but it does the job - and let's be brutally honest, who really gives a damn about the shape of the glass as long as the liquid in it is good? I don't give much credence to the whole 'different glasses for different beers' malarky and a pint of lager tastes pretty much the same in a nonic as in a fluted glass.

I can think of no better way to spend a Friday afternoon, having finished with work for the week (and I am still looking), than sitting at a bar drinking a few well earned pints. I might have a sample of something, but only to see if I want to have a full pint. I don't want a sample on which to write a review of the beer for websites that advocate its rating, I want to know is this the kind of beer I want a full pint of? I don't particularly care if the beer in question is a 10% imperial stout, I'll just drink my pint all the slower - I have essentially given up on half pints because I invariably get a second anyway.

I only have eight and a bit days until I am finished with my annual beer fast, and I am sure that first pint will taste magnificent. Whether I have it at Beer Run, McGrady's or crack open a Fullers 1845 into a nonic, it will be a pint with which I get back in the saddle, ready for another year of pints. I am looking forward to it muchly.


  1. I always think of the nonic as being modern, in the prefab building, chorleywood bread, chipboard furniture sort of sense. It's all about the function -- preventing a chipped rim -- without concern for aesthetics or ergonomics.

    It is pretty iconic, though. You're not going to mistake that shape for something else.

  2. Nope, nothing wrong with a nonic. In these days of equality, why be ashamed? Nonic lovers should stand loud and proud.

  3. I also think this addresses the whole "beer drinking" vs "beer sampling" dichotomy. There are LOTS of beers that are great, mind-blowing even, in a 2 oz pour, but that would be disgusting to drink a half liter of. On the other hand there are some beers that are unassuming on the first sip, but by the end of the pint, you are dying for another serving.

  4. I'm always surprised to see nonics. I've seen a few brewpubs use them, but the usual glassware go to, is the straight-sided pint. I heard, somewhere, that the racks used in glass washers don't fit the nonics very well. Maybe that has something to do with their rarity—in my area anyway.


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