Saturday, January 8, 2011

What is in a beer glass?

Besides beer, of course.

Even before I began my odyssey of beer, I loved bar ware.  I liked the variety of styles and the design of the labels.  Once I began to enjoy beer, I learned that the type of beer glass you choose for the beer style you are drinking really does make a difference.  At least that has been my own experience, but a quick search of the Internet gives you just as many opposing view points.  I enjoy bar ware for a lot of reasons. 

Over the last couple of years we have put together a lovely beer glass collection.  Most of them are free because one of our local bars has Pint Night event weekly. There you can get a free glass for the beer of the month with purchase of said beer, while supplies last.

The first beer glass in our collection was actually for the British beer, Boddingtons.  My husband began to drink Boddingtons and since it is sold in the pub cans, he wanted to drink it from the proper glass once it was poured. They are a tulip pint glass which is also used often for Guinness (which we also have). 
After that, he discovered the joy of Belgian style beer.  Belgian beer bars are known for having a variety of beer glass styles.  Not only do they have a glass for every style of beer, but typically there is a different glass for every single beer they offer.  So we purchased a set of Chimay glasses.  The goblet style is intended for heavy Belgian beers which are usually sipped more like wine. 
At this time, I still wasn't drinking traditional beers. However, I had been introduced to Lambics.  While I can't drink them often any more because they are crazy sweet, they were a reasonable introduction to beer.  I got a set of lambic glasses for Christmas one year. The style is intended to maximize the fruit aromas and flavors. 
However, it was a fateful trip to a Belgian beer bar that opened the world of beer up for me.  I didn't know what to get, so I got a sampler with a lambic (because I knew I liked it) a local beer and the previously mentioned St. Bernardus Abt 12.  From that moment on, I wanted to know more.

That is when I started to learn more about how beer glasses affect the way the beer is experienced.  One of the most interesting glass styles we found were designed for Samuel Adams brewery.
The Sam Adams website gives some information on why this glass was designed.  The shape does several things.  The smaller bottom keeps the beer at the right temperature for longer.  The bell shaped middle collects the aroma of the beer.  The narrow top maintains the head and enhances the hops while flared mouth lets the beer hit the front of your palate to really maximize the malt flavors.  Is this just marketing?  Maybe, but we got the glasses for free as part of a Pint Night promotion, so I'm okay with that.  I do enjoy drinking beer from these glasses.

Wheat beers are also served in a different style of glass.  We have Paulaner and Warsteiner glasses.  They are narrow at the bottom with a wider mouth and are usually larger to make room for the fluffy, creamy head a good wheat beer should have. 

I also enjoy collecting beer glasses from local breweries that I enjoy.  First, it is great to support the local beer industry where you live but also it is a cool keep sake if you eventually find yourself out of that area.  We spend a lot of time in Asheville North Carolina so we are starting our NC Brewery glass collection.
We live in Atlanta Georgia, though, so we have a few more local beer glasses from this area. I really like the Red Brick Brewery glass with the US map indicating "Us" and "You All".  The ones you can't see as well are Terrapin Brewery out of Athens and Sweetwater which is here in the city. 
Part of the beer experience is exploring new beers at a beer festival, and we have kept the tasters that we have gotten from the premier beer festival here in Atlanta - the Great Decatur Beer Festival.  We enjoy attending that with some friends every year.  Collecting these glasses is sentimental.
There are some other beer glasses that are purely sentimental.  Each year we attend a local Canada Day Celebration with a friend of ours who is Canadian.  Each year they give out beer glasses, which supplies last.
And, of course, it is always just cool to drink a beer out of the its own glass.
I hope you've enjoyed this exploration of beer glass styles as well as a the showcase of my collection.  Stay tuned for exciting new beer adventures, beer tasting and beer making. 

PS: Check out the awesome hand knit beer hat that I used in my photo vignette.  It was made for me by a dear friend for the Decatur Beer Festival.  I hope to share more about it.  Perhaps I can encourage her to share it in a guest post. 

1 comment:

  1. Ahhhh hahhh hah! I love it... Beer and Now. always live in the beer and now.

    The beerality based community always lives in the beer and now.

    Beer hats are cool. Stetsons aren't.
    But this Chimay Cinq Cent is great. See you next weekend!