Editor’s Note: Last month, Lucas wrote a great blog post about beer and glassware in response to a customer question. You can read that in all it’s glory here.
Being the (certified) beer nerd that he is we had to cut A LOT from that post so here’s Part 2 with a focus on clean glasses and why glassware is worth talking about when it comes to beer.
There’s no hard and fast rule to serving beer in particular glassware. That said, many beer professionals use glassware to help showcase the beer’s best qualities.
Before we get into the differences in glassware and how it affects your beer, we should first talk about something more important: Cleanliness.
It won’t matter what glass you’ve chosen to display your tasty suds if the glass you’re using isn’t “Beer Clean”. Beer Clean is how the Cicerone Program differentiates between a clean glass and a glass suitable for serving beer.
Beer is a fickle thing. While for almost any other beverage, a glass fresh out of the dishwasher would be perfectly fine, beer doesn’t respond well to a sub-par drinking vessel!
Have you ever noticed when you pour your beer and there are lots of little bubbles on the sides of the glass? That’s leftover oil, dust, or food residue that the beer is clinging to on the glass. The effect of this is a lack of head retention and having a good head on your beer is one of the most important aspects of beer. A proper head on your beer protects it from oxidation and greatly helps the aromatics in the beer come up and out of the glass. I don’t know about you but if I’m spending $5 on a can of beer, I want to experience it as best as I can.
Clean your beer glass like a pro with these tips:
- Some dishwashers are great but I almost always wash my beer glasses by hand and give them a really good rinse. It takes a couple seconds and then I know it’s properly clean. With all the other leftover food particles, oils, and fats that are washing around in your dishwasher, I just don’t want to wash a glass twice so I do it by hand.
- Just before you serve your beer, give it a 5 second rinse under cold water. This does a couple important things: It rinses out any last little bits of dust or whatever might have landed in there during storage. It cools the glass down, which will help with over foaming. Lastly, it creates a more slippery surface in the glass for the beer to “roll” into and again that will help with over foaming.
So now that you’re an expert on cleaning the heck out of your beer glasses, let’s talk glassware selection.
Ever since modern industrial glassware has been a thing (a couple hundred years) breweries have been wanting to show off the wide range of colours of their beer creations! If you had a bright golden pilsner that shines in the sun, you probably wouldn’t want it hidden in an opaque clay mug. But, looks aren’t everything. Glassware can change how you smell and taste beer, and can give hints as to how much to consume as a serving size. Different styles and characteristics of beer are complimented by different styles of glassware, learn more about my recommendations in my last post here.
Matching beer styles and glassware certainly isn’t black and white, there’s a lot of room for experimentation and exceptions. Important: I’m also not suggesting you have to drink beer from a glass all the time, you wouldn’t catch me dead drinking from a stemmed tulip glass at the beach or mowing the lawn. But if I’m home and want to enjoy a beer to the fullest, you better believe I’ve got a fancy glass.
My favourite all-around general purpose glass is the Willi Becher glass – it holds a 473ml tall can, it’s got an inward taper top to concentrate head and keep retention – and it looks good!