Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oil Cans

I got into a rather vigorous debate this afternoon with Johnny Nebraska concerning the volume of an "oil can." He stated the cans hold the same as an old school oil can -- one quart (32 ounces). I retorted that I understand a true oil can held one quart but that a Foster's style oil can is 24 ounces. It turns out neither of us were exactly right.

I happen to have a couple of cans around from recent sessions, so I present Exhibits A & B. Exhibit A (the top photo) shows both varieties of Foster's oil can available in Mpls. Exhibit B (immediately above) shows a close-up. In reality the volume is 750mL. But in a reverse play on the French McDonald's line from Pulp Fiction ("You know why they call it a Royale with Cheese?") the fine folks at Oil Can Breweries (Albany GA & Ft Worth TX) who are licensed by Foster's in the US have seen fit to give us a measure we Americans can understand -- 25.4 fl. oz. (Am I the only one who finds it interesting that's also the conversion of millimeters to an inch?)

I'm not saying a larger "oil can" beer does not exist, but not in our venerable US Foster's. I once bought a Danish Lager in Germany that was in a 1L can. But, Mr Nebraska, that's not a quart. In beer terms, 1L is 1.81 ounces superior to a quart. This leads me to believe the Forty will never catch on in Europe or elsewhere enlightened enough to utilize the Metric system of measurement. They'll just one-up it with the 1.75L and be done.

Now if anyone else had engaged me in this debate I might have accused them of quaffing less volume than they claim. Like the folks who seem to think a 12-pack is a "case." However, my hat is eternally off to my opponent because he puts his tall boys where his mouth is.

While we are on the topic of beer and measure -- what gives? The British pint is 19.21 US ounces. We might have thrown off a lot of the imperial baggage when we formed our own union. But there's one tiny facet we should have held onto.

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