April 28, 2011

Get Shorty

But if I had ten pounds then I'd raise a loud cheer
And I'd toast all me neighbours both distant and dear
And I'd shoot back great belly-crippling buckets of beer
And a pox and a curse on the people round here
Wouldn't give you the price of a half pint of beer
Wouldn't give you the price of a cup of good cheer
A pox and a curse on the people round here - Shanty Song, The Pogues
The half pint! It deserves a return to beer bar.

First some bar math.  An Imperial Pint is 20 ounces. You typically don't see this in a craft beer setting but they are available in Irish Bars such as Rosie McCaffreys where you can get an Imperial pint of Kilt Lifter.  A 16 ounce American shaker pint is what most of us typically see. The conical shaped glasses are durable and stackable. Higher strength beers are often served in 10 or 12 ounce glasses be that a snifter or tulip.

We won't get into 14 ounce cheater pints, we'll save that for another time.

The half pint is simply half a pint. In the US it's 8 ounces served in a small glass that fits your hand just right. It's glassware of your father's era. Often, it's the perfect amount of beer when you need to keep your wits about you and it allows you to sample different drafts. It's not as bothersome to your server to ask for several taster glasses and you can relax and give the beer a proper evaluation without filling up.

Shorties are $2.50 at Windsor
It's not offered everywhere but I did see them recently at The Windsor, a new neighborhood pub brought to you by the folks that brought us La Grand Orange and Postino. These are not true half pints (they call them shorties) as they are served in tumblers, but the effect is almost the same.  Shorties are also available at Postino. Moto gives the drinker the option of 12 ounce glasses on their extensive (for a sushi bar) draft list.

My mid-western upbringing demands that I mention that a chaser is a critical compliment to a Bloody Mary. The chaser is typically a 8 ounce pour of lager served in a half pint glass. Generally speaking, in Arizona, once I explain what a chaser is, I inevitably have to split a 12oz bottle with someone. Such was the case at Local Breeze where my wife and I had exceptional Bloody Marys and Oak Creek Pale Ales awkwardly served in pints glasses.

I can't recall where I've seen proper half pint glasses in Phoenix, but with your help, we'll find them or we'll get some beer bars and breweries to take up our cause.


  1. Right on! I wish there were more places that served a shorty. I am pretty light weight, but the stronger the beer, the better it usually tastes. I love barley wine and triple IPAs. It would be great to have a shorty of one, and then maybe a stout or lighter ale.

  2. Sarah.
    If you know of Phoenix places, we're compiling a list here:


  3. At Taste of Tops they do $8 for four tastes. I can't remember if the tasters are 8oz or 4 oz, but they are a great size to have four of.

  4. I added Taste of tops to the list, because they do have 8oz pours.