| Booze |

The Beer Gauge helps you get your pint's worth

A hidden curse on beer drinkers.
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If the economy has driven you to drink, you might as well get your money’s worth. That’s the philosophy behind the Beer Gauge, a Boulder scientist’s invention to avoid getting ripped off on his microbrews and to address a problem that has long plagued serious beer drinkers.

It all started about a year ago, when Chris Holloway, a specialist in electromagnetic wave theory at a federal lab, was enjoying happy hour at one of his favorite Boulder pubs (he won’t name the bar because he still really likes the beer there).

While trying to get the best possible deal on a drink, he stumbled into an argument with the brew master. The man was insisting that a bomber -- a 22-ounce bottle of beer -- was nearly equal to two,16-ounce pints of nectar from the tap. He knew this because, whenever he poured a bomber into two pint glasses, both glasses were “almost” full.

This was blasphemy to Holloway’s mathematical instincts. He knew, of course, that 22 ounces of beer could never be “almost” the same as 32 ounces. It only looks that way because pint glasses are shaped like cones -- narrow at the bottom and wide at the top (see illustration). And that’s when Holloway hit upon a sad fact of life -- bartenders have been ripping people off all over the world for years!

Westword addressed the issue of the full pint in 1999, while the Wall Street Journal took on the "short pour" in June of this year.

So Holloway got some of his physicist and mathematician friends together, and they helped him come up with the Gauge, a little plastic miracle that tells you exactly how much you’re missing if the bartender short pours. “I have way too much time,” Holloway freely admits. “Just on a whim I decided to put this together.”

The gauge is about the size of a credit card, and can be held directly up to your pint glass. As Holloway’s website points out, “if a beer is poured to within about 1/2 inch from the top, 13% of the beer is GONE.”

According to Holloway, the device is very popular with companies who buy a customized version with their logo, then use it as a business card or conference swag. He says he’s sold almost 20,000 of them in the past eight months. You can buy your own gauge for just $2.50 online http://www.thebeergauge.com/Ordering.html.

Bartenders, beware. -- Lisa Rab

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