Head of the Glass

To enhance a bouquet for flowers, a finely designed and appealing shape of a vase is a necessity.  A well fitted suit make homeliest of men look like a dashing prince.  And a fine gown worn right can accentuate the natural beauty of a woman.Wait, what does this have to do with beer? In the same sense, the glass you decide to drink your beer from can enhance your beer drinking experience. Whether it’s the infamous Red Solo cup, or a wine glass, the container you
choose will have an effect that can let you just drink a beer, or enjoy every delicious sip of the fermented beverage.This is beer though, meant to be drank form the bottle, can or frosty glass, right? Sadly, this is a broadly believed misconception. While sometimes, due to poor planning, or lack of glassware (camping), the proper glass might not be available. The proper glass can enhance the flavor and overall consumption.Let’s think outside of the can for a moment. Many Americans like their beer cold, fast, and with little flavor.  A lot of times it’s more like having cold water on a hot day, just will a little more texture.  So the art of drinking beer is lost or not even known. But I digress, this will be a topic for another day.  A frosty glass has its place, and is meant for immediate gratification, but it dulls the flavor. If  you would like to actually taste your beer,  gaze on the intricate colors, and indulge every part of the beers essence as it dances across your palate and fills your sense of smell with its tantalizing  aroma, the choice of which glass to use is of the utmost importance.
5673801Many feel that this type of glass,to the left, is a beer glass. Sadly if you do, it’s not your fault. Sure it’s a fancy and easy way for beer companies to advertise their product, and most bars find this a cheaper option to serve, however, just for a moment look at its shape.  Notice the straight cylindrical shape, how it gradually widens out to the top. This glass is meant for pouring, or quick consumption.  In fact these are used in mixing drinks, quick pouring with minimal residue.So what glass is best? And what is it about the glass that makes drinking a beer come to life? It’s essentially the same as drinking wine.  Each wine has a particular glass, and really there are two basic glasses. A glass for white wine and a glass for red wine.  The reason is simple, to enhance the flavor with the use of your nose.  Your nose plays a large factor in taste, sometimes picking up on hidden nuances within the beverage or food, causing a beautiful blend with a variety of attributes all culminating into a wonderful bouquet of deliciousness.
Choosing your glass: Like wine, beer has a multitude contributing factors that add to the overall taste. There’s the type of hops that were used, the carbonation, the types of yeast, how it was fermented, ingredients, water, even the container the beer was aged in; these all can be enhanced by the glass it’s poured in.  That’s why “real” wine drinkers do not drink from the bottle, bottles mask the flavor.So what glass would complement your beer? Let’s take a look at a few. Keep in mind, these are basic glasses, there are many more varieties.

The Shaker Pint: Made for mixing drinks. NOT FOR DRINKING BEER.  Use it for a cheap lager or a quick buzz.

The Tulip Pint: This commonly used glass gains its notoriety with the infamous Guinness Stout. Note the narrow bottom which flares out towards the top. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, but it helps to promote an aromatic influence on your beverage. It also increases head retention, this too generates a more flavorful experience. Scottish Ales, Stouts and other stronger scented beers fit this choice well.KWAK

The Nonic Pint: This beer glass is similar to a Shaker, however, it has a distinct curved lip below the rim. It is also thinner and designed for English Ales, and Stouts. The bubbled rim, which has a variety of benefits, also allows for sipping, and a nice trap for a head of beer.

The Snifter: This has to be one of my favorites. Though its not necessarily a beer glass per say, its well designed bowl with inward slanting mouth is great of catching the full bouquet of a robust beer. Ideally made to swirl, which increases aroma, this gentleman’s glass is best suited for  Barley and Wheat Wines, Belgians, and IPA’s.

The Tulip: This is slightly similar to the Snifter, except for its protruding lip. It’s design helps to procure a steady head. It’s great for any Scottish ale, or any beer with a stronger aroma.

The Goblet/Chalice: These can be thick or thin, and are designed to sip.  If one does not sip, it can get quite dribbly. So when choosing this glass, you are almost forced to enjoy your beer. Belgian Strongs or Stouts are good for this glass. Plus it kind of makes you feel like you are in Medieval times.

For a detailed list of many more beer glasses visit http://www.truebeer.com/Beer-Glass-Types_ep_22-1.html

As you can see each beer can have its own glass. Unfortunately, due to advertising, commercialism, and a growing community that appreciates the essence of beer, many of these glasses can make beer drinking complicated.  And to get a proper glass for each beer can be a daunting task, let alone take up a lot of space in a cupboard. And unless you go to a beer tasting event and get “free” glasses, it might cause a whole in your wallet to continually fill your collection, let alone serve your friends. Ya’ know, to be a good host.

Really, a Red wine glass is best if you have the choice, it provides optimal aroma exposure, and slows the flow enough to taste what you’re drinking. And the stem helps to prologue its temperature.  It’s also fun to mess with the wait staff at a restaurant to order your beer in a wine glass. But make sure you check the glasses, if they are the big wine glasses you can fit 12-16 oz.  Otherwise you will pay for more beer but get less in the glass.

Speaking of messing with people, here’s something fun to try, get a relatively neutral beer, and don’t tell your friends it’s only one brand/style. Poor it into three separate types of glasses. Then ask them which beer they like the best.  If it’s a good quality beer, the better glass will prove victorious. If its poor quality, usually the straighter glass will be chosen, because no one really likes the taste of poor quality beers.

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