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Leapbeer Reports – Whats in a glass?

It’s been a while since I’d done any kind of month end post about my findings, so I decided to do this today instead. The first of my Leapbeer reports, where I bring to you what I’ve learned on this journey.

I’ve heard some positive and negative comments about me mentioning me using my Tulip glass. It isn’t really a tulip glass though, but it is more tulip shaped than any of my other glassware. But since this came up I figured it was time for me to learn something about beer glassware.

I ask you, the reader, to take a moment. Think if you will of what you see when you think of a ‘beer glass’. Is it a large dimpled mug being held aloft by a cheerful German beer drinker? Or perhaps a ceramic stein with a peaked lid ? Is it maybe a stemmed glass? Or maybe it is just a normal cylindrical glass.

Truth be told, all of these glasses have their place in the pantheon of beer service. I was told by a patron at Hog Shack Cookhouse that during their trip to Germany, every brewery they visited there had their own specially designed glasses. Their is an unending supply of different styles of glassware with which to sip your beers.

And why is there so many, you may ask. Wikipedia had this to say. “Different styles of glassware exist for a number of reasons: they may reflect national traditions; they may reflect legislation regarding serving measures; they may relate to practicalities of stacking, washing and avoiding breakage; they may promote commercial breweries; they may be folk art, novelty items or used in drinking games; and they may complement different styles of beer for a variety of reasons, including enhancing aromatic volatiles, showcasing the appearance, and/or having an effect on the beer head. Several kinds of beer glassware have a stem which serves to prevent the body heat of the drinker’s hand from warming the beer.

I’m going to focus on a few different styles and how they may enhance your enjoyment of your beers.

First up is the Tulip Glass.

So this is a stemmed glass, giving the drinker something to hold so the beer doesn’t warm due from the drinkers hand. It also is bulged with a flare on top to help maximize head retention. It is recommended for serving aromatic beers, Scottish ales, American double or imperial india pale ales, Belgian ales and barleywines. In my experience, this style of glass is the most recommended from the information on the bottles, websites and breweries.

Next up, is the Pint glass

This is the most commonly found glass at the pubs I’ve been to. There are several variants to the pint glass. The one above is a conical pint, but there are 4 main shapes of pint glasses. They are the nonic, conical, jug, and flared top, though others are available. Pints are considered good for serving stouts, porters and English ales.

Next The weizen glass or wheat beer glass

This is a deeper than normal glass used to serve wheat beers. Originating in Germany the glass is narrow at the bottom and slightly wider at the top; the width both releasing aroma, and providing room for the often thick, fluffy heads produced by wheat beer.It tends to be taller than a pint glass, and generally holds 500 millilitres with room for foam or “head”. In some countries, such as Belgium, the glass may be 250 ml or 330 ml.

Wheat beers tend to foam a lot, especially if poured incorrectly. In pubs, if the bottle is handed to the patron for self pouring, it is customary for the glass to be taken to the patron wet or with a bit of water in the bottom to be swirled around to wet the entire glass to keep the beer from foaming excessively. I personally have 23oz versions of this style of glass that allow for a perfect inverted pour of a 17oz wheat beer.

Lastly we’ll look at the Goblet or Chalice.

A Chalice or Goblet is a large, stemmed, bowl-shaped glasses adequate for serving heavy Belgian ales, German bocks, and other strong beers that are usually sipped. The difference between a goblet and a chalice is typically in the glass thickness. Goblets are more delicate and thin, and the chalice is heavy and thick walled. Some chalices are even etched on the bottom to attract carbon dioxide and provide a stream of bubbles for maintaining a nice head.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, and I hope it illuminated you a bit about glassware.

I found a great blog post from the Vancouver Beer Blog where the blogger interviewed Don Farion, a Cicerone who works at Biercraft, a beer-centric restaurant chain in Vancouver BC. It’s a great read. I highly suggest you take a look and read the post in its entirety here. http://www.vancouverbeerblog.com/?p=2806

Images and information were also gathered from this site. http://www.thebeerinme.com/page.php?54

There is a very comprehensive post is on Beeradvocate about appropriate beer service/style and glassware here. http://beeradvocate.com/beer/101/glassware.php

I hope this post may have inspired some to delve deeper into beer appreciation. Craft beer is a vast canvas that many paint with a multitude of different notes. When you consume it the way it is intended it can be illuminating. Maybe next time you crack open a beer, you can enjoy it the way the craftsman intended it.

Thanks for reading.

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