So you just bought a draft beer at a bar or restaurant. If you’re in Asheville, you’re typically paying anywhere from $3.75 to $5 for a pint, especially for craft beer.
But wait. Did you get a full pint for your cash? A standard American pint equals 16 fluid ounces. But not all “pint” glasses are equal. Some may look like they’re the same size as a true pint, but because the glass on the bottom or the sides are thicker, they only hold 14-ounces. While that’s just a two-ounce difference, if you’re offered the choice of 14-ounces or 16-ounces for the same price, which are you going to choose? Do I even have to answer that question? I don’t think so.
Turns out there’s something called the Honest Pint Project. It’s a Web-based effort to promote the use of true 16-ounce pint glasses for serving beer in this country (if you’re lucky you might even find an U.S. establishment that uses British Imperial-style pint glasses — which hold close to 20 ounces).
When Mountain Xpress learned about this initiative, we thought it’d be fun and educational to set up our own local Honest Pint Project. To start off, I visited, unannounced, several randomly chosen beer purveyors around town with the 16-ounce measuring cup from my kitchen and my camera in hand (see results below). I’ve also included the average price per pint for comparison purposes.
We’ll continue to search out true pints for y’all. Feel free to point us to certain bars or restaurants if you feel they might be misrepresenting their glass size. The goal here isn’t to embarrass anyone — it’s just to see if we can get all the beer purveyors in Beer City, USA, to be transparent, so to speak, about their glassware. We’ll be sending the photos and information on the Asheville spots that serve 16-ounce pints to the Honest Pint Project site so they can be listed as “Certified Purveyors.”
Here are the results so far:
Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company: True 16-ounce pint glasses. All pints priced at $3.75. 675 Merrimon Ave and 77 Coxe Ave.
Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria: True 16-ounce pint glasses. Most beers are priced at $3.75 per pint. High-gravity beers (over 8 percent alcohol per volume) are served in smaller, non-pint shaped glassware. 42 Biltmore Ave.
Bier Garden: True 16-ounce pints. Most draughts are $4. 46 Haywood St.
Burgermeister’s: True 16-ounce pint glasses. Craft draughts typically priced at $4.50 per pint, though PBR on draught is $2. 697 Haywood Rd.
Mellow Mushroom: Oops—14-ounce pint glasses. Most beers are priced at $3.75 per glass. “It’s our decision to use 14-ounce glasses to keep our prices at the lower end of the spectrum,” says co-owner Jerry Mahon. The menu doesn’t use the term “pint” anywhere, and the bartender knew that the glassware measures 14-ounces, so they’re not misrepresenting at the Mellow Shroom. But there are a number of other spots where the same pour is 16 ounces for the same price (see cost analysis chart below). 50 Broadway.
Tingles Café: True 16-ounce pint glasses. All Asheville craft-brewed beers priced at $3.75 per pint. 27 Broadway St.
Usual Suspects: True 16-ounce pint glasses. All draughts are $3.75 per pint. 791 Merrimon Avenue.
Wild Wing Café: True 16-ounce pints. Domestic taps typically are $3.50 per pint, while local and craft beers are priced at $4. 161 Biltmore Ave.
If you try this yourself, I learned that it’s easier to measure glassware using water, because there’s no foamy head on water. It’s also less viscous and easier to pour from the glass to the measuring cup. That’s why some of the measuring cup photos contain H2O.
Also, I didn’t think it wise for me to drink eight pints of beer (even if it wouldn’t have been a full 128 ounces, but 126). Also, remember that different beers have different heads (i.e. Belgians tend to have a thick, creamy head), which can change the pour slightly — another reason to test with water. Know that it’s perfectly acceptable to ask your bartender or server for a top-up if you ever feel a pour is off.
Cost analysis of draught craft beer per ounce (glassware only)
Glass size: Cost: Cost per ounce: Where:
16-ounce $3.75 23.4 cents Barley’s, Usual Suspects, Tingles Cafe, Asheville Pizza & Brewing Company
16-ounce $4.50 28.1 cents Burgermeister’s
16-ounce $4.00 25 cents Wild Wings
14-ounce $3.75 26.8 cents Mellow Mushroom
Thus, an ounce of beer at $3.75 per glass at Mellow Mushroom is 14 percent more expensive than a beer of the same cost at Barley’s or anywhere else that uses the same pricing for a 16-ounce pour. However, the cost per ounce for craft beer is 20 percent more at Burgermeister’s, just because of the higher price per pint. That’s the place to drink PBR, which comes in at a mere 12.5 cents per ounce.
This analysis, of course, is all pennies and ounces, both of which are small units of measurements. But, if you’ve ever counted a mason jar of pennies or cleaned up two ounces of baby barf, you know that these small measures can seem like pretty big.