Daily Archives: 13, October 2011

Make mine a (British) pint

I used to think that measurements were standard. An inch is an inch. A cup is a cup. No matter where you are in the world, right?

Well, apparently not.

Order a pint at the pub in the UK and you’ll get 20 ounces. Order a pint in the US and you’ll get a mere 16 ounces. Yes, a British pint is about 20% bigger than an American one.

This is usually the point when Brits can rightly beat their chests and guffaw at Americans with their tiny pints and their extra-cold lager and their “American football” played with all of that padding (sorry, that has nothing to do with beer. I just felt like throwing that in).

But here’s the science: Pints are units of measurements in something called US customary units as well as the imperial system, which is what the UK uses. And so, although they have the same name, they are two different animals.

Even more fascinating is this little tidbit, courtesy of Wikipedia: “A ‘pint’ of beer served in a tavern outside Great Britain and the United States may be a British pint, an American pint, or something different, depending on local laws and customs.”

The moral of this tale? If you must choose between a pint in the UK or the US, go with the British pint and choose some real ale, while you’re at it!