There are quite a few siren voices that complain about CAMRA's stance on full measure pints - a policy I don't particularly see the need for when there are bigger priorities - but I didn't know the Germans were concerned about this aspect too and that there is actually an organisation that you can join to combat it. Even more astonishing, to me at least, is that the group concerned is over 100 years old.
I have noticed a fair bit of short measure in Germany, even though oversize glasses are always used. Like most I have just put up with it, while noting grimly that the benefit of the doubt almost always seems to fall to the server of the beer rather than the customer. It varies a lot of course, with Cologne to my mind, being the worst culprits. Now the Oktoberfest is notorious for short measure. You just have to look at the photos to see that. It seems though the the VGBE (League Against Fraudulent Pouring) - don't the Germans just love a snappy title? - are kicking up a song and dance about it. With the price of a litre of beer at €9 each on average, it seems that many maßkrugs are only being filled to 90 percent. This is because Munich’s government allows a variance of up to 0.1 litre. I think it fair to say that this variance is rarely in the customer's favour. Anecdotally according to one commentator, a kellner (pourer) can squeeze up to 200 litres out of a 100 litre cask, though that seems more than a tad optimistic to me I have to say.
“The tolerance level has to go,” said the VGBE’s president, Jan-Ulrich Bittlinge, who called the results of the test “sobering.” “We ordered and paid for seven mugs in every tent. But, in fact, we received on average only six litres of beer.” Some results were particularly bad: In one tent the mug only contained 0.73 litres of beer, meaning the customer was cheated out of €2.43 worth of beer.
So, a couple of things. Doesn't seem that the VGBE has been that successful in the last 100 years does it? And secondly, if you didn't have a good enough reason not to go to Oktoberfest (the only valid one to go is to see the lasses in dirndls) then you have now.
I like the sound of this though. The Beer Inspectors use a mobile phone app that measures the beer content by photograph. Handy. Pun intended.
Gratuitous dirndl photo and story details courtesy of the local.de
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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