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

The Devil is making my big-little dream come true!

Duvel is one of the most iconic beers on Earth. This benchmark for the Belgian Strong ale style is devilishly tasty, but it also packs a wicked strong kick at 8.5% ABV. So what’d they do two days ago? They nipped it in the bud (sorry, shouldn’t say Bud here). The Dutch love putting beer–any beer including Grolsch–into little bottles and even have their own word for it, “flesje.” In short, Duvel, Brabantian for “devil,” is now available in 18-cl nip bottles (just 6 oz.)!

"Groots bier, kleine fles"

“Groots bier, kleine fles”

From their website, with Google Translate on:



Duvel Moortgat today launched the Mini, a great addition to the range of this family, Belgian specialty beer brewery….Each bottle of Duvel 18cl Mini instead of 33cl. Contains These irresistible little Duvel is marketed for lovers of distinctive tastes, quality preferable to quantity.

With Duvel Mini can be extra enjoyed all the different beautiful moments of the day: a drink after work, an appetizer at dinner or during a nice evening in a grand café. Duvel Mini is now available at the supermarket and in the hospitality industry and better …put in a seductive campaign.


The Belgian specialty beer has a striking, distinctive bottle that fits the unique taste: on the supermarket shelves are now the next big bottles of Duvel Mini bottles with the same design…Duvel Mini also offers quality and great taste delight to enjoy the little moments that ask for a glass of specialty!


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

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.

La Luna Rossa 2009

Brother-in-law visiting. He loves cherry beers. This 330mL Cuvée 2009 cost a lot. Like around $15. More than buck an ounce, but excellent splurge. Happy end of 2012.


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.

Norway’s $100/litre beer

As we blogged in All About Beer’s Beer Soup,  we must’ve had an $11 half-litre too many at Grünerløkka Brygghus, a tony taproom in Oslo, because when we spied a pair of lovelies from Nøgne Ø (pronounced Nugneh Eu.) we neglected to ask how much they were before ordering one (but knew enough to order just one). Would it be the Imperial Stout aged in cognac? Or the amazing smoked barleywine called Sunturnbrew, finished on bourbon? All their bottles for the American market are packed 500 ml at a time, but both of these came in 250 ml (8.5 oz) bottles. We splurged 155 Norwegian Krone on the barrel-aged Sunturnbrew. That’s $25.75 in American!! That’s over a dollar a centiliter! Or, using Bill Night’s handy-dandy Six Pack Equivalent Calculator, tantamount to a $220 six-pack. How was the beer? Awesome, as far as we can recall. Could we have ever finished a bomber’s worth? No way. And besides, that woulda set us back over fifty bucks.

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!


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