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What You're Really Paying for That Beer

The 16-ounce bar pint

Here in the U.S., we just call it a pint. It's that ubiquitous, slanted, straight-sided tumbler that's great all-purpose barware, easy for bartenders and other staff to stack and clean and the bane of a beer snob's existence.

We won't go into the merits of the bulbous, 20-ounce imperial/Nonic pint or any other discussion of glassware, but we will let you in on the worst-kept secret in the beer world: That 16-ounce glass doesn't hold a pint. You're looking at 15 ounces of liquid at best, and that's largely dependent on the bartender's pour and your ability to avoid spillage.

It is an awful deal and the price we pay for drinking socially out in that big, bad world beyond our front door. And there is almost no deal associated with it.

If you find a place that serves $1 pints of the cheap stuff at happy hour, it comes in at less than $5 for a six-pack. That assumes, though, you'd pay $5 for a six-pack of a budget beer we already told you costs $15 per case. Get into the $4, $5 and $6 territory of premium, import and craft pints and you're suddenly looking at a $19 to $29 six-pack.

The 15-ounce "pint" is the absolute least cost-effective means of buying beer. Economically, we're all fools for buying one. Yet most of us will strike this bargain every time.

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