Today I want to talk about the importance of proper glassware! Yes, pouring your beer into a somewhat regular glass or improper glass could easily ruin the whole experience for you – you see, once you get used to proper glassware, it’s hard to go back, because pouring beer into a glass sets it free. It can enhance your drinking experience in pretty much every way, from the visuals, to the aromas, to the taste.
Serving beer in the right glassware I too show respect for the beer, brewer and lastly YOUR wallet! – If you have bought that really expensive barrel aged beer, better serve it right!
Proper glassware isn’t just a smart hash tag #properglassware on social media, it’s in fact a real important thing to take into consideration. – Studies show that the shape of the glass will impact head development and retention, securing a nice foamy head, which acts as a net for the aromas in the beer.
Why is this important you might ask? Well if there wasn’t any head, all the fine aroma compounds from the beer would just evaporate freely – all the nice aromas of hop oils, esters, phenols, malts and adjunct would just quickly become dull and maybe non-existent. The head acts as an enhancer for all the nice aromas, and that’s why proper glassware is very important! - Proper glassware promotes great head retention, and the glassware should be chosen and used accordingly to beer style, as there is quite a variation in desired levels of head retention and how the presentation of the beers should be!
Overwhelmed? Don’t be! I’ve put this guide together so you’ll quickly get the idea, and become a “master glass selector” in no time. I will highlight some of my favorites, and tell you why I think they are the best.
This should be your go-to glassware for IPA, as this glass is specifically designed for that style of beer.
The glass has a quite wide middle, allowing for a big head, which narrows in a the top thereby making sure that you’ll get all the aromas and flavors right in your face every time you take a sip.
The first thing you’ll notice is how the base cuts in at the bottom of the glass. The whole thing with that kind of base is all about head retention, as the head forms every time you take a sip from the beer.
Some IPA glassware also has laser-etched scorings at the bottom of the glass, which acts as a CO2 nucleation point – thereby making sure the head has a continuous stream of bubbles for head retention.
You might have guessed it by now - head retention in an IPA glass is the most important! If you really want to get full value for your money, every time you take a sip of all those tropical fruity, citrus and piney aromas – buy yourself an IPA glass..
Usage: IPA, Pale Ales.
This is the somewhat nerdiest glassware if you ask me! Many craft beer lovers praise this glass, as it serves all styles perfectly! - This glass makes beers smell and taste better.
The shape of glass insures to act, as an entrapment of aroma, making sure it doesn’t leave your beer all at once.
Also the stem insures that your bodyheat from your hands/fingers will not heat the beer unnecessary. On most Teku glass’ you’ll also find a lip curving at the top of the glass, which is there to act as a somewhat “waterfall” thereby ensuring a smooth free flow straight into your mouth.
Usage: Serves all styles.
This is the go-to glasses for the Belgian Trappists beers! This glass is eye candy, and feels very majestic! This glass is designed to maintain head retention, and ensure for big gulps! This glassware often has laser-etched scorings at the bottom of the glass, which acts as a CO2 nucleation point – thereby making sure the head has a continuous stream of bubbles for head retention.
Usage: Belgian Ale / Strong Ale, Belgian dubbel - tripel and quadrupel,
This glass is designed and used for brandy and cognac. The snifter is ideal for boozy, barrel aged, strong and really malty forward beers that tend to pack a lot of alcohol heat, complexity and adjuncts like vanilla, cocoa, etc.
The short stem provides a decent grip while allowing the fingers to touch the glass, helping to warm the beer and better deliver the aromas – some times a little warmth is good, helping to release aromas.
One thing I love about this glass is that it’s perfect for swirling and agitating the aromas when taking a sip.
Usage: Stout, Strong Ales, Barley wine and Eisbock.
Pint / Tumbler Glass:
Not much to say about these types of glassware, as they are easy to store, and drink from. The tumbler is sometimes called ”The pour mans pint glass”, and in fact I don’t own a real pint glass (I think they are ugly, and not elegant at all!) But I own some tumbler glassware, and I like to have my pilsners and “non” to light carbonated English beers served in these. The thing with pints and tumblers are that they accommodate more beer than most glassware, and they support the head retention.
Usage: Red ales, porters, German and Czech pilsners – But also pales ales, and IPAs (BUT what goes with the IPA, buy a real IPA or Teku glass, they are worth it!
Flute / Taster glass:
This glass is my preferred “go to” for Lambic / spontaneous fermented beers! The Long and narrow bodies ensure that carbonation doesn't fizz away too quickly and acts as a showcase for the lively carbonation and color.
So if you want a glassware that enhances and showcases carbonation, releases aromas quickly and ensures a more intense upfront aroma – go for Flute / Taster glassware.
Few last words
I know that there are quite a few more glassware styles out there, but the ones highlighted above are my favorite glassware styles – they don’t ever let me down!
I don’t really have a conclusion today, but I would like to end this blog entry with a few words about how you should clean and take care of your glassware.
How to clean your beer glass?
You just poured your beer, and that nice foam head quickly falls to a pathetic thin lacing sitting sadly on top of your Beer.
You could also imagine sitting in a bar and ordering a beer like a pale ale, Lager or Hefeweizen. You sit there waiting for that delicious beer to get served and when you get it, the foamy head isn’t what you expected. - What’s wrong?
The problem is often the glass and not the beer – some compound like fat, soap, and dust may be interfering with the beer foam.
- Step 1. Use clean wash water
- Step 2. Use ordinary dish soap (without perfume)
- Step 3. Use a clean sponge or dishcloth (Don’t use “dirty" cleaning implement, they may contain oils and other nice things)
- Step 4. Pay special attention to the rim of the glass.
- Step 5. Finally, thoroughly rinse the glass with warm water and allow the glass to air dry.
The biggest no-no is leaving any type of soap or fat on the glass surface, and please remember to never put your glass in the dishwasher – fat, soap and grime will land on your glass, and the fine prints on the glass will slowly disappear.
If you follow these steps, I almost will ensure you that you’ll never have problem with head creation and retention – If you do, maybe something’s wrong with the beer!
Also remember that you can ask the bartender how they clean the glasses. Most bartenders will gladly rinse the beer glass with water before use, if you ask them nicely and explain your request.
Last thing, make sure to keep then in a somewhat dust free space, like a closed cupboard or present them nicely in a display cabinet!
Well that’s all! Hope you enjoyed these few words about glassware + how too take care, and ensure that your “weapon of choice” has the best circumstances for having beer served in it!