I liked this video on beer glasses-and a bit of glassware history, too. It doesn’t really provide recommendations on which glass helps which kind of style but it’s a fun watch nonetheless.
My friend sent me this Lifehacker link on why there are so many different types of glasses for beer. It’s pretty comprehensive and I found it to be educational enough.
The first comment, predictably, says: “Is it beer? Then it goes in a glass.” Essentially saying that the glassware doesn’t matter at all.
But that’s not what I discovered. The shifts may have been incremental but I could detect them. Is it science? No, but it still suggests that there’s more to the experience of drinking beer than “a glass is a glass is a glass”.
That doesn’t mean that I think anyone should be snobbish one way or another. If you have the glassware for a style, power to you! If you don’t, please enjoy your beer!
No one can tell you how to enjoy your beer.
Longtime readers may know that I find most arguments about ‘the proper glass’ for beer to be ridiculous.
The glass should be clean. If it is, drink yer beer.
But I have to admit that this glass is pretty awesome. Admittedly, this is in part because I can understand its usefulness immediately. Plus, it’s a way to double fist in a single fist!
Maybe most readers know this already but it’s never a bad thing to remind people how to pour a beer. It’s the kind of thing you ought to learn in school but don’t. Thank the gods for the internet.
Note: I’m still not convinced by the glassware argument. I think it’s the kind of thing that people insist makes a difference because they’re paying money for it, when the actual difference is negligible at best. A bit like stereo geeks who want to tell you their solid gold connector cables produce better sound than the ones you paid ten bucks or.
But to each their own. Nobody needs someone like me insisting that their experience is invalid. If you like the beer, then you like the beer.
Boulevard Brewing’s quadrupel ale, The Sixth Glass, comes with a stern piece of advice on the back. In capitalized, block-white letters on a black background, the potential drinker is admonished:
SERVE IN THE PROPER GLASS
with a little picture right above this warning of what the proper glass would look like.
Now, I could show you what the proper glass is but there are over 8 million entires under Google’s image search under ‘proper glass’. They cover pipes, slippers, magnifying glasses and a few less than subtle jokes that go on t-shirts college boys wear. To be honest, I don’t have the inclination to actually hunt down what they insist is the proper glass visually or physically. And I suppose now is as good a time as any to make my confession:
I am a good beer drinking barbarian.
I will drink from the bottle if there is no glass. I don’t care about the fancy pants labels on a beer if the beer is good. A clever name is nice but not required. Just give me the drink and I’ll take it from there. I don’t believe that the glassware enhances my drinking experience…ever.
Now, let me back away from that last statement just a touch. I am aware that beer is a sensory experience. Sight matters but not nearly as much as the aromas, which are critical to the process of drinking a beer, then the flavors of the beer. As a beer drinker I try to be aware of the feel of a beer so I can appreciate that part of the experience too. Of these inputs, smell is the one that is most blunted by drinking a beer from the bottle instead of a glass. In the case of some beers (and in this case I’m thinking of my experience with Session’s black lager) limiting the senses might improve the taste of a beer but for the most part, drinking beer out of a glass is preferable because you just get more out of it.
All that said, don’t try to sell me on ‘this glass is more important than that glass for x beer style’ because I think it’s utter hogwash.
In the meantime, the head on my quadrupel sits there like white frosting on a liquid bourbon cake. The beer warms up and the caramel flavors stretch out over my mouth, like a rubberband moving from the front to the back. The finish is a bit dry, not quite white wine levels of dryness but still enough to whet the appetite for more.
The proper glass? A full one. Pour me another, please. Happy New Year everybody!