Welcome to the third installment of the DrinkFree Series, where I shed some light on the deep, often intimidating craft beer universe. This is where myths are debunked, truths are told, and consumer advice of the highest quality is given! Part of the DrinkFree motto that we have adopted is being able to make good purchasing decisions. To me, that means being empowered with the knowledge to increase the likelihood that you will love the beer you order or purchase, because we know two things:
- Good beer is rarely cheap.
- Just because a beer is expensive does not mean you will like it.
The Glassware Rabbit-Hole: Is it worth it?
I love glassware. I try my best to get a logo glass at every brewery I go to, and now I have a very sizeable collection. While it may seem excessive, I rationalize it to myself by trying to get a unique style each time, making them all useful in different situations. And as we all know, rationalization is everything!
The Golden Rule: ALWAYS USE A GLASS
A glass is always better than drinking straight out of a bottle or can. Sure, drinking a beer out of a can or bottle is better than drinking no beer at all, but it doesn’t matter what you say – there is no situation in which drinking out of a can or bottle will give you a better smell and taste experience then drinking out of some kind of glass. This isn’t just me standing on my soap box, it’s science! I love when science backs me up! And here’s the main 3 reasons why:
- More aroma – 80% of taste is actually smell. 80%!!! Since the opening on a bottle or can is about an inch at the most, almost no aromas can escape! So, by not using a glass, you’ve automatically removed over half the flavor from your beer.
- More Flavor – I just feel like I needed to restate the above – 80% of taste is smell!
- More Visuals – By pouring your beer into a glass, you can see the color of the beer, the clarity or lack thereof, and the head. In a bottle, you’re pretty much limited to seeing how much is left, and in a can, you can’t see anything. It’s just another way to increase the overall experience of drinking a beer. Remember, it’s not about the drinking, it’s about the experience of smell and taste.
Basic Rules of Glassware That Anyone Can Follow:
- Pint glasses stink. They’re better than no glass, but they’re the second worst way to drink a beer.
- Go for a clear cup. Whether it be glass, or plastic, clear is always best.
- Make sure your glass is clean. A dirty glass can really detract from the beer.
- Your glass doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of nice beer glasses out there for just a buck or two.
- Pick the right glass first by assessing the situation, then assess the specific beer you’ll be drinking.
Rule number 5 leads me into the fun part of this post! The actual glassware! I’m going to run through the basics of each general style of glassware, and let you know which styles of beer they’re best suited for.
The one must-have glass is the tulip glass. Thanks to it’s rounded shape with a wide bowl that comes together toward the mouth of the glass, it’s great for funneling the aromas of the beer to your nose. Further, the glass has a short stem, which can allow you to hold the glass in a way that your hand won’t warm up the beer in the glass as quickly. If you only want 1 glass for all your beers, make it this one.
This glass is for the serious IPA drinker. It’s shape is perfect for holding, and the glass where you hold is very thick to keep your hand from warming up the beer, while the glass toward the top is super thin, making it a nice glass to drink from. Again, there is a wide bowl that narrows toward the opening, which is very much a trademark of a good beer glass. It’s a fun glass if you are an IPA fanatic.
This is the classic glass for any wheat beer out there. It’s tall, shapely, and usually holds more volume than most beer glasses. This is because wheat beers are usually low in alcohol and refreshing, meaning they’re meant to be drank in larger quantities. The size also helps capture the excess of foam that is generated when pouring most wheat beers. The shape at the top promotes the staying power of a thick, creamy head of foam. Also, since these glasses are tapered, it promotes the yeast floating to the bottom, which is good for yeasty wheat beers.
It’s not surprising that the most ubiquitous style of beer in the world has a glass named after it. What is surprising, is that very few people use one. This is actually one of my favorite glasses, as I think it really brings out the things that make a Pilsner beer great. These present the beer in a way that allows you to enjoy the visual aspects of a well made Pilsner – the brilliant clarity, high carbonation, and similar to the Weizen glass, the slightly wider mouth is conducive to creating and sustaining the head of foam. If you enjoy a refreshing Pilsner and have never used on of these glasses, give it a try, and stop missing out!
I love this glass. Sure, you lose the visuals, and sure, you lose the benefits of a mouth that comes together to funnel aromas, but you gain just as much back! It will keep your beer cold for much longer than leaving it in a glass or can, and it’s made of stainless, so you don’t have to be afraid of it falling and breaking! I think this glass is a camping necessity, as I use it to keep my coffee hot in the morning and my tea or beer cold in the afternoon.
These are a recently introduced product, available online – These are reusable, heavy duty and even dishwasher safe plastic beer cups. All the benefits of a craft beer glass, with none of the breakage/denting risk. You no longer need to be afraid of taking beer to the beach – pair one of these with a canned craft beer, and you’ve got no worries about any breakage, and can fully enjoy your favorite beer!
Sleeper Pick: Stemless Wine Glass
Whether you’re enjoying a glass of Cabernet, mixing a margarita, or sipping a craft beer, the overall MVP in the glass world is the stemless wine glass! I find myself using this type of glass more than any other as of late, and it really is because you can’t go wrong with a stemless wine glass. It funnels the aromas, it’s easy to hold and hard to tip over, and they are relatively inexpensive!
Even if you don’t go out and buy all of these glasses, get a tulip or a stemless wine glass, and try it out. If you truly don’t enjoy your beer more in a glass, then I owe you one. Let me know what your favorite glass is!