People know that when you drink champagne, flutes are in order and red and white wines each have their own style of glassware. What is the point? The shape of the glass is custom made to enhance the flavors and texture of these beverages. Beer, despite the contrary, generally should not be drank directly out of the bottle or can because flavors will be stifled, textures will be dulled and just like wine, beer needs to breathe.
Each type of beer should be served in a particular glassware such as a tulip glass or a pint. Yes, there is a method to this madness, as well as a sophistication generally not associated with beer. Although this tradition of glassware is not as prevalent in the US of A, head to Belgium and you will visit bars that are stocked with every style of glassware to accompany the many genres of beers.
And without further ado, I present you with the various styles of glassware:
Pilsner, a light bodied, light colored, easy to drink and highly carbonated beer is served in a glass smaller than a pint glass, usually in 250 ml or 330 ml sizes. They are tall, slender and tapered. The slender glass will reveal the color, and carbonation of the beer, and the broad top will help maintain a beer head.
The Beer Stein
I am very fond of this style of glass- its large and it has a top that you get to flip open when you want to take a sip. I searched the streets of Dusseldorf, Germany to find one to no avail. This style was invented during the Black Plague so beer drinkers could keep insects and disease out of their glass. Therefore, it is not built to enhance your beer, but protect it instead.
The most popular glassware among beer drinkers in the USA- it is cheap to make, easy to store and easy to drink out of. We have a cabinet full of them, from different breweries and bars we have visited within our country’s boarders. I associate pint glasses with hoppy beers such as IPAs or thick beers such as dry stouts. There are two standard sizes, the 16-ounce (US Tumbler – the pour man’s pint glass and most common) or the 20-ounce Imperial (Nonic), which has a slight ridge towards the top, a grip of sorts and helps in stacking them. The 20-ounce version is preferred to accommodate more beer or beers with large crowning heads.
Goblet or Chalice
These noble glasses are generally paired with Belgian ales- big sipping beers such as Triples, Quads, Weissbier, Dubbels as well as German bocks. A description from Beeradvocate.com tells us the slight difference between a goblet and a chalice:
Majestic pieces of work, ranging from delicate and long stemmed (Goblet) to heavy and thick walled (Chalice). The more delicate ones may also have their rims laced with silver or gold, while the heavy boast sculpture-like stems. Some are designed to maintain a 2-centimeter head. This is achieved by scoring the inside bottom of the glass, which creates a CO2 nucleation point, and a stream of eternal bubbles and perfect head retention as a result.
I associate these glasses with royalty and the wide mouth lends itself to deep sips.
Used for stiff drinks like cognac and brandy, the snifter is the baller of glassware. These glasses are perfect for evoking flavor and scent. Therefore, this particular style of glassware should be paired with strong beers like barley wines, imperial stouts and barrel aged beers, as well as lambics (due to their fruity scent and sugary bodies). My only advice to you is…don’t forget to swirl your glass!
A dainty, pretty shaped glass named after the flower it mimics, the tulip glass is stemmed with an hourglass figure. Bulbous at the bottom, the flavors, aromas and head are all captured at the angled top. This style of glassware is perfect for Imperial IPAs (talk about lacing and a foamy head), Saisons/Farmhouse ales (it will bring the funk to the forefront) and Scotch Ales (the maltiness will knock your socks off).
The size and shape of glassware matters when aiming to get the most of your beer, but decoration is key when showing it off. Decorative glassware has become an art in the beer industry across the globe.
Breweries have showcased glassware with artistic designs to complement your beer drinking experience. Duvel, a Belgium brewery makes their own glassware and has for some time. It is a stumpy tulip glass with their logo on it, simple, nothing out of the ordinary.
Recently, they released a collectible item: the Duvel Collection. Three glasses, four international artists (there is one team of two artists) and three creations make up the Duvel Collection. Each glass has a different creative approach, but all are vibrant and eye catching. Christmas is coming up, if anyone is so inclined.
Another brewery, Delirium Tremens from Brussels, Belgium (been to the brew pub!) is known for their quirky pink elephants which grace their bottles, glassware and other promotional apparel. Although Delirium Tremens refers to a severe form of alcohol withdrawal, the vibrant, fun loving glassware will make your shakes disappear. Generally, the glassware I have seen by this brewery are in the form of larger snifters.
Most pint glasses you see in the USA will have the logo more or less printed onto the glass (which is why you should hand wash your pints or else the design might start to fade away). Firestone Walker came up with a more creative way to decorate their glasses. The Firestone Walker pint glass I own has their logo of a bear fighting a lion (how cool) etched into the glass. This gives the glass a sleekness and the scene some depth.
Beer glassware is the only thing I collect (oh and beer) as each one is unique–some more than others. Owning at least one of each style will enhance your experience and make the beer you are drinking feel that much more special. Buying glassware has become a way to hold onto the memories we have from a brewery visit, a night at a beer bar or a beer tasting. Glassware, the gift that keeps on giving.
Have a favorite to share with us? Let us know in the comments.
Sorry I am late! We are back from a whirlwind trip to DC: “Hello” Pizza Paradiso, Brickskeller, Old Dominion Beer, Stoudt’s Brewing Co….but we are back to Seattle and ready to blog. Thanks for sticking with us during our trip!
And your events for the last week in May.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Green Flash Gravity Cask: Peekskill, New York
6:00PM- 12:00AM@ Birdsall House
They will be tapping two gravtiy casks from the Green Flash Brewing Co.: American ESB at 5.6% ABV and an Imperial Red Ale at 8% ABV.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Goose Island Beer Dinner: Beavercreek, Ohio
7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Spinoza’s Gourmet Pizza and Salad
1. “Summertime” German-Syle Kolsch paired with House-made Soft Pretzel with Roasted Garlic Aioli
2. “312″ Urban Wheat Ale paired with Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Roasted Yellow Pepper-Cilantro Pesto
3. “Sofie” Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale paired with a salad of Mache Lettuce, Chilled Wild-Caught Sea Scallops, Honey Roasted Pecans, and Lemon Caper Vinaigrette
4. “Matilda” Belgian Style Pale Ale paired with Hearth Baked Pizza with Pesto, Lump Crab, Pine Nuts, Goat Cheese, and Roasted Chilies
5. “Pere Jacues” Belgian Style Abbey Ale paired with Strawberry Cheesecake with Belgian Chocolate Sauce
6. “Night Stalker” Imperial Stout (part of the Goose Island limited “Heavy Weight Beer Collection”)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Southern Tier Brewery Night: Tampa, Florida
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Datz Deli
Southern Tier is considered one of the top ten breweries in the US of A by all three authors of bb.com. Go to this now, stat! Check out this tap list, its unspeakable:
MOKAH Chocolate Coffee Stout- 1 of 3 in Tampa
JAVAH Coffee Stout
OAK AGED UNEARTHLY Imperial IPA- Very limited
Inequity Imperial Black Ale
BIG RED Imperial Red
HOPPE Imperial Pale Ale
BACK BURNER Barley Wine- Very Limited
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Belgium Beer Festival: Cinncinati, Ohio
11:00AM- 10:00PM @ Catskeller
Flights will be available of full pours by the glass. The draft lineup will feature all Belgian-style ales, most from Belgium and some others produced outside of Belgium but inspired by the traditional style. Beers on tap include: Urthel Samaranth; Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet and Huyghe Delirium Tremens.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Friday Night Flights: Florence, Kentucky
6:00PM-7:00PM @ Party Town
Ok, this place is called Party Town and each week at least eight beers are available for you to try at a cost of two dollars. This Friday from 6-7pm you will be joined by the best brewery in St. Louis, Missouri: Schlafly. Schlafly’s Quadrupel, Grand Cru, Export IPA, and a blend of their bourbon barrel aged Barleywine and Pale ale will all be on tap.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
San Francisco Giants’ Brewfest: San Francisco, California
3:00PM -6:00PM @ AT&T Park
In addition to a ticket to the game in the Brewfest section, this $20 ticket package includes entrance to the private pregame Brewfest party in Lot D from 3pm-6pm, with complimentary samples of delicious regional and world beer styles provided by the participating breweries. Come to this first time event and be a part of beer history!
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Brew At the Zoo: Baltimore, Maryland
1:00PM-7:00PM @ the Maryland Zoo
Animals and alcohol- done and done. Brew at the Zoo and Wine, Too! couples food and beverage with music and fun! Tickets are required and include unlimited beer and wine tastings, a commemorative tasting glass, 3 live bands per day, and access to food, snack, artisan, and commercial vendors. Tickets will be for sale online VERY soon. Buy early and save!
Monday, May 31, 2010
*We will be camping this weekend, see you on Tuesday!*