How Much Head Is Too Much Head?

Living in Ireland, I think it’s safe to say that I am the Consumerist’s resident alcoholic and therefore beer expert. Ben, on the other hand, is the resident expert on telling homeless people to ‘Get a job!’, squirting small children in the face with the Oozinator and stealing AOL Customer Retention Manuals from dumpsters.

So when Rick B. wrote us, asking us “how much head is too much head?” I was going to pass it on to Ben. After all, he’s the one who recently defended himself to members of our Rainbow Brigade Readership by claiming to have “gone behind the Velvet Curtain.” But then I saw Rick’s email was about beer, so I felt confident in responding.

Rick wants to know if he’s being a crybaby if his 22 ounce beer contains 5 ounces of head. My response? Fuckers who gyp a man out of his God Given, Constitutionally Guaranteed right to an accurately measured brew ought to be fucking shot. But Rick wants your opinion too, after the jump:

I have a question for your readers: How much head is too much head?

Allow me to explain. This past weekend I was at an establishment specializing in selling beer: hundreds of brands of beer from all over the world with a dozen or so on tap. My wife and I went there with some friends after a movie.

My first beer was a “22 oz draft” that came with more head on it than I’m accustomed to seeing. It wasn’t half the glass, but it was enough that my first couple of swigs were mostly foam. I figured that the glass held more than 22 ounces, and the foam was over the 22 ounce line. When I received my second 22 ouncer, one of our friends had just received a 16.9 ounce bottled beer and a glass the same size as mine. I asked him to empty the beer into his glass so we could compare. The quantity of beer in my glass was essentially the same as his (mine was prehaps just a tad more). Feeling jilted out of nearly 10 ounces of beer (5 from each glass) I called the waitress over to ask about the situation. “Is this a 22 ounce glass?” I asked. Yup. “Why am I only getting 17 ounces of beer?” “Our policy is that there should be no more than 1 inch of head on the top”. “So, I’m not really getting what I paid for, right?” “That’s right”.

My recollection of most other beer serving establishments is that the beer is served as close to the top of the glass as possible, letting the foam overflow into the drain pan. Is this place ripping off its (soon to be drunk) customers, or am I a crybaby?