The Wholly Sensible Concept of Half Pours

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Apr 14, 2017.

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  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Admin (17,075) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Society

    How the schnitt, a German phrase for a half-pour, could bridge the American gap between tiny samplers and the standard 16-ounce shaker pint.

    Read the full article: The Wholly Sensible Concept of Half Pours
  2. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Poo-Bah (1,917) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Notch offers these at their brewery in Salem. I like how it's got a German beer hall feel to it. I just sit there and drink full sized sessionable beers. But if I want to try a schnitt of something I've never had first, I have that option.

    If it was closer I'd probably live there.
  3. bergbrew

    bergbrew Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2004 Minnesota

    One thing should be pointed out: In Germany, you can only order a Schnitt once and it has to be your last beer. It's not quite the same as simply ordering a half a glass.
  4. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (2,012) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    I actually saw a series of breweries offering "half" pints just this winter here in Seattle. Seems the practice is becoming more and more common up here at least in WA. Certainly do make better tasters than actual tasters.
    WillemHC and nc41 like this.
  5. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Zealot (599) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Used to do half pours regularly at the Portsmouth Brewery. Odficewas downtown Portsmouth, so I drove in and parked at the garage next door. Twice a week I'd stop in to see Donna and the crew. Usually a stout, an IPA, and a half pour of whatever over 2 hours or so. Couple waters and bar snacks mixed in. Then drive home. The half pour is a great option for the responsible drinker.
  6. slade

    slade Initiate (0) Sep 19, 2006 North Carolina

    I don't know of a brewery or bottle shop in NC that DOESNT offer half pours with no penalty. It's actually quite commonplace with my friends and I and feel it's fairly normal practice. It's a great way to try multiple high ABV beers without having to commit to one 8-16 oz pour. Not sure where the author of the article lives but I find it weird that it's not commonplace in their area also.
  7. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,271) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    "If it was closer I'd probably live there". I do give a schnitt about small beers, but that line made me laugh and think a bit. Cheers.
    2beerdogs likes this.
  8. kool-aid

    kool-aid Initiate (0) Apr 3, 2017 Vermont

    Is it really that hard to find a half pour? I've actually had several today. Most New England breweries and beer bars readily have them available. The more extensive the tap list, the more likely you'll find half pours. Hell, I know a few that are slightly over half pours for half the cost. The writing in this article made me eyeroll so hard, my sunglasses fell off.
    L_Willard and tobelerone like this.
  9. NickSMpls

    NickSMpls Poo-Bah (1,737) Nov 11, 2012 Washington
    Society Trader

    I recall going to a tavern in Chippewa Falls, WI which is the home of Leinenkugel. At lunchtime on weekdays, they offered a 5 oz. glass of beer for something like 68 cents. Rumor had it the tavern had their taps directly from the brewery a block away. It was fresh, if nothing else.
    DogbiteWilliams likes this.
  10. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,161) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Also it is pretty much restricted to northern Bavaria...and even then, some places don't do them. In the late 1990s, Schlenkerla got rid of the Schnitt, and it made the local newspaper.

    FWIW, we at Bierkeller do them (and we don't do tasters).
    #10 herrburgess, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
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  11. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (3,007) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Echoing other posters here, half pints are all over the place in the states now. More and more of a reactionary tone to the Crouch pieces all the time, it seems.
    rodbeermunch and Badfish like this.
  12. bergbrew

    bergbrew Initiate (0) Jan 12, 2004 Minnesota

    I can't even imagine asking for a Schnitt at Schlenkerla :grinning:

    At Bierkeller, is a Schnitt like it is in Germany or just a half pour (or 3/4 pour like they seem to do in Bamberg). It seems the article and most of the posters are missing the main's not a sample, it's not a half-pint. It's getting some more beer in your glass because you've emptied yours and your friends are still drinking. But it's the last beer you have there, because otherwise some wiseguy would just order Schnitts all night.
    TrojanRB, zid, Chaz and 1 other person like this.
  13. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,161) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    We do them as the last pour...and are generally pretty generous, like in Franconia. And no, it's not a stand-in for a sample. If someone wants a small beer, we have some 0.25 glasses we can serve them.
    bergbrew likes this.

    IDABEERGUY Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2013 Idaho

    Half pours haven't made to to my area yet, inner Rocky Mountain region.
    Taster flights or just a taster for free are available but not half pours. Will embrace them when they do for sure.
  15. marquis

    marquis Champion (812) Nov 20, 2005 England

    The legal minimum amount of beer which can be sold in the UK is a third of an Imperial pint. It is becoming common to see flights of thirds for the price of a pint , served on paddles.
  16. BBThunderbolt

    BBThunderbolt Poo-Bah (9,812) Sep 24, 2007 Kiribati
    Society Trader

    Yeah, 8-10oz pours are pretty common up here in the wilderness. And, the "pint" as a standard pour in America is a relatively new thing, coming along with the rise of microbrews. @jesskidden has posted the story of how Red Hook started the use of shaker pints. Now you know who to blame.
  17. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,492) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

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  18. Beav42

    Beav42 Initiate (0) Sep 13, 2007 Pennsylvania

    What would you say of a place that does offer half pours, but only reduces price by $1? So, if a pint is $6, an 8oz pour is $5. I would (and have) call bullshit on that. However, your terminology may differ.
  19. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,161) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina

    Pour for the course?
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  20. rgordon

    rgordon Meyvn (1,271) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I've never been able to do math at any bar, I just order what I want and I'm good.
  21. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I dropped into a Pint Defiance in Olympia to buy some beers and they served half pours at their in house beer bar. IMO far more preferable than a shaker pint, I hate those things. Also found a 4 pk of Kbs in the cooler too.
    Sound_Explorer and rgordon like this.
  22. Sound_Explorer

    Sound_Explorer Poo-Bah (2,012) Dec 29, 2013 Washington

    Suuure rub it in getting KBS :stuck_out_tongue:
    nc41 likes this.
  23. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Lol. And then I came home looking for some beers for a locals trade and the owner asked if I got my bottle. I said, well no. So he says I got a stray 4 pk , you want it? Of course I do.
    Sound_Explorer likes this.
  24. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (526) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    Have found it to be more and more common and priced fairly more often than not. Usually close to 50% and if not only a slight premium for 8oz pour. Today biked a tour couple of places and three 8s served me well en route to the final place (near home) for a "full one."

    With so little <5% available, the bigger beers at 7%+ are perfect for 8oz.
    Badfish likes this.
  25. Sweatshirt

    Sweatshirt Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2014 New Hampshire

    I would rather full pours of finely crafted session strength beers but America gonna merica.

    Maybe if the price didn't increase on half pours I would consider it. But in a businesses that relies on customer tips to provide the majority of a worker's wages it only makes sense to charge more for a fraction more work.
  26. Witherby

    Witherby Disciple (393) Jan 5, 2011 Massachusetts

    I could not agree with this more. Notch is the only brewery that I know of that does not have the surcharge for a schnitt. I suppose there are extra labor costs if everyone is only drinking half or quarter liters, but since they also offer full liter pours I think it must balance out. Both of these factors (on top of the fact that I love their beer) makes Notch my favorite brewery tap room in MA.
    AlcahueteJ and Tamarack like this.
  27. Dan_K

    Dan_K Zealot (515) Nov 8, 2013 Colorado

    I would love to see a half-pint option be available in more places.

    One of my favorite things is when a brewery offers 3 sizes for beers. Usually something like 2oz sample, 6oz, 16oz or something like that.
    DogbiteWilliams and raynmoon like this.
  28. jparizo

    jparizo Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2011 Indiana

    All about the half pour. Wifey is a light weight, so I'm ALWAYS DD. If I can get two/tree half pours, that's a nice little sample and a good time for me. Otherwise, one pint and done.
    rodbeermunch likes this.
  29. montman

    montman Devotee (433) Mar 10, 2009 Virginia

    Two years ago in our area I very rarely saw half pours at breweries, and now it is the reverse, the majority of places offer them as a choice. Even some restaurants with decent beer lists are offering them which can be a nice option.
  30. c64person

    c64person Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2010 Michigan

    Also from NC. Its actually rare that I order a 'pint' anywhere, and most places serve from 8-12oz pours of most beers due to ABV. I'd not want to have 16oz of a 10% beer and sit around for a couple hours to drive home.
  31. zstef99

    zstef99 Initiate (0) Dec 25, 2008 New York

    Half pours are rare here in Central New York. I wish they were more common, though.
  32. TrojanRB

    TrojanRB Poo-Bah (1,669) Jul 27, 2013 Texas
    Society Trader

    As @bergbrew has pointed out a few times, a Scnitt is a fractional pour for your LAST beer, for social reasons. It's not a taster.

    It's a practice I've not seen in the US, but makes a lot of sense.
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  33. JISurfer

    JISurfer Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2002 South Carolina

    I travel around a lot, mostly west coast (WA and CA), and basically every other week. Everywhere I go, from breweries to beer bars, I often get a half pour. Interesting to see that it's rare in other places around the US.
    ebin6 likes this.
  34. 2beerdogs

    2beerdogs Poo-Bah (3,145) Jan 31, 2005 California
    Society Trader

    Ein Schnitt, bitte. Dear Lord, I hope this catches on here. I'm so tired of 3-4 oz tasters being the only choice. Half pints allow for a fully developed head, enough to bring the nose in, and more than just a swallow and a half.
  35. Lurchus

    Lurchus Initiate (191) Jan 19, 2014 Germany

    Well, yes and no.
    In my experience, there is no real universal practice regarding "schnitt policies" in northern bavaria.
    Some places don't do them at all, others do them only for the last order, and some will do them all the time, especially when there are no small glasses around (which, in many Biergärten, is the case:wink:), and some landlords will decide if they do it or not depending on a lot of factors...
    I think it's the same with the "Stößchen" glass (0,1l) which is around in cologne and some pubs in the ruhr area: Some will only give it to the servers so they can join a round, some will use them as regular serving glasses....

    And it has to be said, I think the way Schnitts are usually poured, they are kind of a bad deal for the pub-and that when a seidla is already cheap like >2Euros, and the Schnitt is generous, you basically get 0.3l or more for 1Euro. Does not seem right to me.
    #35 Lurchus, Apr 18, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2017
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  36. Charliewine

    Charliewine Initiate (0) Jan 19, 2011 Illinois

    i love the half or short pours at breweries. Let's you try more beers without over drinking. Both FFF and Half Acre here in Chicago do it, at least those are the two I can think of right now, and its great solution. Not a fan of flights or taster glasses, too small and most places will give you a taste if you're not sure between a couple options.
  37. jonb5

    jonb5 Meyvn (1,236) May 11, 2010 England

    Try ordering a Schnitt in North Germany and see what the reaction is.
  38. IMFletcher

    IMFletcher Crusader (774) May 2, 2014 Kentucky

    At every brewery here in Lexington KY, you can order a half pour of any pint on the board. Hell, the high ABV pours here are half pints, standard.
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  39. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,771) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    If I don't feel like a full size beer I've asking for it in a tulip or a red wine glass. They always say the price is the same, but that's fine by me, I'm not sweating paying for 14 oz over say 10. I think all craft beers should be offered in both sizes, and most places here serve higher Abv beers in 10 oz tulips, usually 7% or better, but it's not a law.
    2beerdogs likes this.
  40. BeerPugz

    BeerPugz Initiate (81) Dec 4, 2016 Wisconsin

    Ahhh yes, German beergeneering. Always 3 steps ahead of the pack.
    Badfish likes this.
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