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Fighting Against Beer's Poor Pours

As the sun comes out and Germany's multitude of beer gardens begin opening for the spring and summer season, the Society Against Dishonest Pouring is out making sure that punters aren't being short-changed at the tap.

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"You'd better not try to call that full!"

There is only one way millions of Germans get true summer refreshment, and it comes in the form of a freshly tapped glass of beer.

And just as every king needs the perfect crown, Germans know every beer requires a perfect frothy head on top. But they're still stingy about trading too much potential beer space for the sudsy spray, and have clearly marked every glass with a line to make sure they're getting their euros' worth of golden liquid.

Alas, when patrons start tipping back their fourth, fifth or sixth glass, some bar proprietors try to take them for a ride. But that's when the Society Against Dishonest Pouring steps in.

Bier

Cheers to full beers!

"Badly poured beers are among the largest problems in beer gardens, restaurants and at the Oktoberfest," the society wrote on its Web site.

The SADP estimates that being poured a finger's width less of lager costs patrons 4.2 million euros ($5.2 million) worth of beer at Munich's annual Oktoberfest alone.

How to perform the index finger text

In case further proof of how seriously Germans take their beer -- remember, there is a near-holy law dictating exactly what can go into a bottle of brew -- the SADP started putting beer pouring technique under the microscope back in 1899.

The Society's Web site even offers tips on how to judge whether a beer is poorly poured:

  1. After the server brings your drink, wait a moment for the head and beer to settle.
  2. Now perform the index finger test. Put your index finder on the standard mark; if the beer does not begin directly below your finder, the beer has been poured badly.

    The society confirmed its raison d'etre at a Munich beer festival last month where none of the 20 steins it tested contained a full liter (about 34 fluid ounces) of beer.

    Those looking to join the illustrious group of beer detectives can download registration forms or show up at the regular meetings on the first and third Tuesday of the month in Munich's famed Hofbraühaus.

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