If I wanted water, I would have asked for water.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Roguish Rogues?

[Post has been updated.]

I just got this tip from an emailer:
I went to Rogue brewery last night with a friend to confirm the rumors that they were pouring soft pints. We confirmed that they were using 14 oz glasses. After the beer arrives at your table it's only 13.5 or less. They also removed their beer pricing from their menus and blackboard. Now customers have no idea that they are paying $5.25 for a short beer. Just down the street is Bridgeport Brewery which pours full 16 oz pints for only $3.75.
Consider this just a rumor for the moment. I throw it out there in case someone has a chance to confirm it. This is exactly the problem with the shaker pints Rogue uses--you can't tell whether they're 14 or 16 ounces. It's why I started the honest pint project, and why imperial pints are so much better at ensuring transparency.

Consider this a direct appeal, Jack and Co: switch to imperial pints. It's the right thing to do.

Update. This is the kind of proof I love: photographic. The emailer encourages me to use his name, further evidence that he and his buddy stand by their proof. From Michael Andri and Bryan Donovan:


Michael adds: "You should also note the fact that they removed all pricing notices from the bar so now it is a fully operational tourist trap." So noted.

All right, Rogue, what do you have to say for yourself?

26 comments:

Concerned beer drinker said...

Jeff and readers -

I'm all for this Honest Pint campaign, but talking about it and doing something about it are two different things.

We can make cute little T-shirts that say, "We demand a honest pint!" Then walk into an establishment that sells Short Pints and buy a beer. Is that Pub going to get the point? Are they going to feel guilty, ashamed or threatened? No! They are going to laugh all the way to the bank, while pouring you a short pint and collecting your money. They might even call you a name under their breath... :-) OR! Not even notice at all.

On the pubs and Breweries side, it's capitalism at it's best! They have it - You want it - and you pay the price. Supply and demand, it's the American Way.

What can anybody really do to solve this injustice? Write your congressman? Yea, That'll work!

I think if you want to fix the problem, you have to make the pubs aware of the problem in a way that will get their attention. It would need to be done by a large number of people....like a protest! The easy answer is to Boycott that establishment.

Pub selling Cheater pints? No one drink there.

OR

Pick a pub or brewery and boycott that product for a month or two.

One more thought: Are you ready to PAY MORE for that honest pint? The pub or brewery can charge what ever they want... They might use it to their advantage! They might advertise, "We sell an Honest pint $5.50!" People will believe advertisements mindlessly!

If everybody thinks this is a worthy cause, it may be time to SH*T or get off the pot.

DA Beers said...

I think you need a good list of pubs and what sizes they are serving. Maybe keep it updated on the honest pint website so people can get a visual of what each place serves for their "pint".

Like the previous commenter stated, it is difficult to do much. One thing you could do is make up an "honest pints supplied here" window sticker of sorts, then for pubs that pass the test you could give them one to display in their window. Not sure it will do much, but it would help promote your project and be a nice badge for the honest pubs of the world.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for posting anon, but I'm in the industry and would rather not risk offending any colleagues...
A Nonick-style imperial pint glass holds 19.8 ounces, but since beer is typically served with a collar of foam for visual and sensory appeal, most imperial pours will net out at around 18 ounces. A 16 oz mixing glass(that's the official name for the glass aka Libbey 5139) holds 16 ounces when fully full, but since beer is typically served with a collar of foam for visual and sensory appeal, most pint pours net out at around 14 ounces.

The reason that I bring this up is simple: if you're going to nitpick, then nitpick consistently and with some basis in fact. If Rogue is using a 14oz mixing glass (Libbey 15142), then that is cause for concern. If not, then not, really.

I worked in a brewpub where we tried to pour to a glass mark a la the Germans. It lasted about 5 minutes before the customers told us to come up with a different plan. The marketplace spoke, immediately. Pouring to a line is the only way to get exactly the amount you've supposedly purchased, yet the customers really didn't care.

IMHO we have arrived at the current state of affairs not because of some kind of conspiracy, but because customers have accepted it as an acceptable construct. Bars started using these glasses because they were durable and felt substantial; people liked them, and they became the standard. Simple.

If the basic argument is that there should be some sort of disclaimer on every menu, like with the McDonald's Quarter Pounder ("weight before cooking")... well that would be pretty anal retentive and annoying, if you ask me.

aleconner said...

It's been said before, but I'll say it again: the shape of a glass offers no gaurantee of its capacity. This is as true for 'imperial pint' type glasses as it is for 'shaker pint' type glasses. Laurelwood uses glasses that look just like classic British imperial pint glasses, but they hold 16 oz (at most).

iggir said...

until Jeff can get this posted on the HPP web site...here's the current list of verified pubs in Portland:

BridgePort Brewing
1313 NW Marshall
3632 SE Hawthorne

Deschutes Brewery
210 NW 11th Ave.

Lucky Labrabor Brewpub
915 SE Hawthorne

1945 NW Quimby
7675 SW Capitol Hwy

Mash Tun
2204 NE Alberta St

Raccoon Lodge
7424 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale

Rock Bottom
206 SW Morrison

Roots Organic
1520 SE 7th

Bailey's Taproom
213 SW Broadway

County Cork
1329 NE Fremont

Goose Hollow Inn
1927 SW Jefferson St

Horse Brass
4534 SE Belmont St

Highland Stillhouse
201 SW 2nd St, Oregon City

Moon and Sixpence
2014 NE 42nd Ave

Concerned beer drinker said...

Anon: "If the basic argument is that there should be some sort of disclaimer on every menu, like with the McDonald's Quarter Pounder ("weight before cooking")... well that would be pretty anal retentive and annoying, if you ask me."

McDonald's has to put a disclaimer on their coffee saying, "Caution! Coffee in Hot!" Well, Duh! But, McDonald's also lost a lawsuit because some one burned their mouth or whatever. That's pretty stupid!

I guess the point is some people are dumb enough NOT to know Coffee is Hot? That's beyond anal, that just stupidity!

This is a little different. It's about getting a what you pay for. If you are paying for a pint (16 ozs) of beer and getting 14 ozs. instead, you have false advertising and you are cheating the public.

Glass size may be a personal choice, but people want to get what they are paying for. If you bought 1 oz of Gold for $1000 and later found out that Gold was only weighed 80% of that, wouldn't you go back and want your monies worth... damn straight you would!

We supposedly have laws about proper weights and measures in this country. It appears beer seems to slip through the cracks! In Europe they have those "LINES" on the glass so that the public knows they're getting their monies worth. Maybe we should fight to have those little "LINES" on all beer glasses too!

It may be a financial nitpick, but I think we all deserve to get our monies worth.

Maybe we should serve beer in Measuring cup type glasses! Pay for beer by the ounce!

What? You have to buy all new glasses? Aw, what a shame! I'm sure the amount of money screwed from the public on those Short Pours could easily pay for that!

Grocery stores have scales at the register and scales in the bulk food and vegetable department. They are required to charge for correct weights and measures by law. Why isn't the beer industry?

The beer industry seems run enough shady advertising as it is. Here's an example:

AB/InBev has their Winter "CASK" ale on the market. What kind of Bullshit is that? The beer isn't fermented in a cask. It isn't a Live product, which cask beer is. It's served from a cask, it's in a bottle! It's false advertising. It's a bunch of crap!

It's time the consumer gets the truth in purchasing and the truth is weights and measures. When we buy a 6 pack of beer, you should be getting 6 - 12 oz. bottles, not 6 - 10 oz bottles. Shouldn't we be expecting the same from our local pubs and brew pubs? The Honest Pint Project People are saying, "YES!"

McDonald Quarter Pounder! What kind of crap is that? We're drinking a finished product, not ones that about to be cooked... ridiculous!

squeaks said...

I'm loosing my respect for Rogue more and more over time it seems like they have forgotten about their base and is only trying to appeal to the upscale tourist that knows bull about beer.

Beergeek said...

Personally I don't care if a bar sells a beer for $4/5/6 and it's 14 oz. You know what you are getting and what you are paying. Don't like it, go elsewhere.

My problem is that places advertise pints and it's not 16 oz. That's the only time there is any real misrepresentation going on.

Concerned beer drinker said...

375 ml = 12.680258526590205 Ounces

$5.25 for 12.60 ozs =
41 +/- cents per ounce

Plus, a six pack costs $8 and your paying for the bottle and packaging!

What a screw job!

Bridgeport

$3.75 for 16 ozs = 23 cents per oz.

You can figure out the savings.

Bryan said...

I agree with some of the previous posts that say that Rogue can price it how they want. Absolutely. And if it was clear that you were getting a 14 oz glass, then there would be no problem with that either.

The problem is that when a beer is served in what appears to be a pint glass, it is implied that the glass is in fact a pint. It's true that we couldn't find anywhere on the menus that said the glass was a pint, but the implication is still there. Plus the receipt said "PT" as in "pint".

I also don't expect a 16 oz pint glass to be filled to exactly 16 oz. It's no problem to do a normal pour and get 14-15 oz. Not much you can do about that. It's the size of the glass that I have a problem with.

Anonymous said...

The receipt at Rogue did indeed say: "1 Beer PT". I plan on starting a small protest outside of their Portland location. Perhaps they will change their ways once they lose some customers.

Anonymous said...

I think Bridgeport pints are actually 20oz imperials... even better.

Puddle Stomper said...

anyone want to buy squares for when the Dragon will erase the prices from the chalkboard?

dr wort said...

I'd rather pick a square to pick the date of when all the Rogue beers go on tap..... :-O

jfwells said...

I agree with Beergeek. If someone is selling a glass of beer fine. Just don't advertise it as a pint. I think Hopworks does a nice job with their glassware and actually tells you on the menu that they are 14 oz. glasses.

Joe said...

I actually think that Hopworks has bigger mugs than 14oz. They have a line at 14oz so you know that you didn't get short changed with the foam. Transparency, what a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised I just now remembered what I loathed most about Rogue, after all the recent scandal… yeah, everything listed here is applicable, but has anyone ever ordered a "glass" of beer (~10oz, I assume) from them?

$4.75.

I was shocked… I'd ordered 2 glasses (because they wouldn't give me tastes), thinking they would be 60% of the pint price (as McCormick & Schmick's does), but when I saw the price, I thought they'd charged me for pints. When I confronted my server about it and he told me, "That's the price you pay for glasses," and that pints were $5.50, I was doubly steamed… paying 86% of an already-inflated price for 62.5% (or what actually turned out to be 70%, again assuming that the glass is actually 10oz) of the original quantity… what a jack! I haven't been back since last June, and it's clear now that I won't be returning anytime soon.

-anónimo

Jeremy in SE PDX said...

I think the the HUB mugs are 40 CL (apx. 13.5 fl oz) (even marked cutely in the European style, "0,4 L") in keeping with their vaguely German-ish aesthetic.

The menu phrasing is a little fudgy, though, as it lists the prices as being for "16.5 oz stein $4.25."

I assume the stein is 16.5 fl oz (which is .488 liters -- I bet the stein is really a half liter to the rim) total capacity, as the .4 L mark is a fill line, below the rim.

And that is all probably some sort of continental standard.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I got any of that wrong.

I think they could make their menu phrasing a little clearer, but I'm OK with the setup as is.

And man, I had some of their barleywine a bit ago -- yum! Good stuff.

--JT

Jeff Alworth said...

Since Hopworks clearly marks the volume on their glassware, they achieve the hallmark of highest transparency. The customer knows what s/he's paying for--it's even better than an imperial pint, which, as commenters have observed, may not be fully 20 ounces.

The Honest Pint Project is designed to increase transparency, not enforce a particular dogma about glassware size. Kudos to Hopworks.

Anonymous said...

The truth will set you free. The Rogue Nation has been proudly serving Ales, Porters, Stouts, and Lagers in 16oz pints in all Rogue Meeting Halls for 20 years. We also provide all guests with a complimentary 4 ounce “taster of the day”.

See the photographic and video evidence below to see for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-qiAihY8j4&feature=channel_page

http://www.rogue.com/images/misc/16oz-rogue-pint.jpg

We look forward to wearing and selling Honest Pint T-shirts and to an official apology.

Brett Joyce
Rogue Ales

Anonymous said...

i love a good head on my pint, i expect 14 oz in a 16 oz glass. i see in that picture its beer being measured, check water.

Anonymous said...

How much for 13 ounces of Coors Light at Rogue?

Anonymous said...

You must have nothing to do, while you were all bitching over a couple of onces of beer I just finished my third beer and getting ready to order another. The girl across the bar is looking good now so I think I will go and say hi. Chats like this obviously come from someone who likes Bridgeport Beers and likes to get 14oz's vs 12.8 oz's and spends most of there time complaning about getting too much ice in his or her drink and complains about everything. Hats off to the Rogue gut who said an official appoligy is coming, not to big to apoligize. Off course the concerned beer drinker will be drinking all his beer at Rogue now I am sure.

Anonymous said...

Dear Rogue,

I still stand by the measurement documented in the original image that shows barely 13 oz. of beer. At minimum, customers are not getting anywhere near the proper amount of beer. The elimination of pricing from the menus and signs in combination with exorbitant pricing and "under-pours" is enough for me to stay away. If you have something against Bridgeport (which I understand) then there is alway the Lucky Lab in NW who pours true pints for about half the price.

Bryan said...

Hi, I am the one who was served the Rogue beer in the photo. I would like to apologize and clarify our position on the 14 oz Rogue pint.

First of all, it does appear that the glass used was very likely a 16 oz glass. However, it is not unreasonable for us to believe it was a 14 oz glass, given that the pour was around 13 oz. The measurement in the picture was made because we had heard a rumor that Rogue was using 14 oz pint glasses and wanted to see if that was true. We figured that since the pour was not even close to 16 oz, and that the pour seemed to be a typical one, the glass used must have indeed been 14 oz. This, it turns out, was not a reasonable conclusion to draw.
We (Bryan and Mike) apologize for further perpetuating a rumor that Rogue uses 14 oz beer glasses without having sufficient evidence.

Whether or not a 14 oz pour in a 16 oz glass constitutes an Honest Pint is another question altogether. And I still believe the prices at Rogue are very high, but you certainly have the right to charge whatever you want.

Regards,
Bryan Donovan

Banjo said...

This video in Rogue's Youtube.com page shows they are not using the undersized glasses we've heard about. I've always been happy with the pours I get at all the locations I've visited.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-qiAihY8j4

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