Beer is consumed out of a variety of vessels. Glasses, beer steins, mugs, pewter tankards, and of course out of bottles and cans. Through the ages, many things have been used to drink beer. Vessels made from clay, stone, wood, porcelain, animal horns, tooled leather, and even human skulls, have been used to hold a frothy brew. Even though the earliest record of glass production goes back to 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia, it took a while for glass containers to become the preferred choice for consuming beer. One prevailing belief is that those imbibing really didn’t want to see the beer, because it no doubt had lots of sediment swimming around in the bubbles, but today, beer is made to such high standards that we look forward to seeing that golden brew; watch the bubbles rise; and as we drain it, seeing the “Belgian Lace” left by the foam, adorn the sides of the glass.
With the explosion of Craft Beer over the last few years, there is a great deal of interest in all aspects of the drinking experience. Proper glassware is a really big part of the beer drinking experience, and the shape of the glass from which beer is consumed can influence the perception of the beer and can define and accent the character of the style of beer.
There are so many pieces of glassware available that it can be a bit overwhelming. Travel to many European Bars and it can look like a thrift store with so many unique pieces of glassware behind the bar.
The important thing to know about glassware is which beer to pair with which glass. This can really help bring out the full potential of a beer. For those that own pint glasses; you are in luck because they work well with many common beers.
There are many more styles of glassware available, but these are the basic ones readily available. Enjoy clinking them together. Prost!
- Pint Glass- This glass comes in the standard 16oz, or for the brave folks the Imperial 20oz. These are cylindrical in shape and have a slight taper towards the top. The imperial pint has a ridge towards the top as well. Partners with the following beers: India Pale Ale, Pale Ale, Amber Ale and Stout.
- Tulip Glass – This glass is tulip shaped and does a great job with beers that have a foamy head. It allows space at the top of the glass for the head to stay and opens up air flow as well. Partners with Belgian Ale, Imperial Stout, Double India Pale Ale and Barleywine.
- Pilsner Glass- This glass is tall, slender and cylindrical. It really helps bring out the effervescence in a beer. And in Germany these are sometimes over a foot tall. Partners with Pilsner, Bock and Witbier.
- The Classic Mug- This mug can double up on any of the pint glass beers and serves well for many European style lagers. It has the same styling of a pint glass only shorter, and even better, it has a handle on it.