Open bottle, pour into glass, drink. That’s all there is to know about serving beer right? Not if your want to enjoy the finer side of the world of beers. Choosing the right glass can instantly enhance the flavour, aroma and colour of your beer. Depending on your choice of beer, ale, stout, bitter, lager or porter there’s a choice of tankards, Pilsner glasses, nonic glasses, conical glasses, steins, tulip glasses, goblets, chalices, Weizen glass….
A rise in the popularity of glassware in the 1800s meant breweries were quick to jump on the bandwagon to advertise their brand and hand out glassware to the pubs. But beer glasses aren’t just a marketing ploy, scientific studies show that the shape of the glass effects head development and retention. Now for the science bit…the foam (head) of the beer created by pouring acts as a net for acts as a net for the volatiles in a beer. Volatiles are compounds that evaporate from the beer and create an aroma, such as hop oils, yeast fermentation byproducts, fruity esters and spices or other additions. Therefore a glass that optimises the head of a beer ensures a better taste sensation.
A popular way to enhance the head of your beer is choosing a glass with a nucleated base. This is basically a printed or etched design in the bottom of the glass which creates bubbles for better head retention. However, the better quality of beer, the less it requires nucleation.
So now you know the benefits of choosing the best beer glass, how do you pick a glass with such a variety on offer? Our short but sweet guide to beer glasses will help you pick out the best glassware for your chosen tipple.
Nonic literally means ‘no nick’ and is a bartender favourite due to it’s durable, stackable no-nonsense design. It’s used to serve a variety of popular beers and lagers, but isn’t designed for optimised tasting.
Conical Beer Glass
Another popular pub glass, the conical beer glass has a simple, stackable design, often toughened and therefore chosen for their practical design. Don’t dismiss the conical as just another glass however, the wide mouth makes it ideal for large ‘sipper’ ales, such as English ales.
A classic design, a tulip beer glass is most commonly used to serve ales and dry stouts such as Guinness.
The classic tankard has a long history and is currently enjoying a revive in popularity due to it’s traditional and practical design. Suited to hearty English beers, ales and bitters, the tankard is a firm favourite for beer chinkers across the country. A stein is the larger cousin of the tankard, primarily used for serving German beers.
The sexy side of beer glasses (if there is one), the Pilsner glass often features a tall, slender body with a board rim and is specially designed to emphasize the characteristics of German wheat beers, Czech lagers and Belgium beers. The Weizen beer glass is similar in style to a Pilsner and is ideal for wheat beers. Both glasses usually have a smaller volume making them suited to serving bottled beer.
For a more refined choice of beer glass, the stemmed tulip, goblet or chalice is ideal. A narrow tulip shaped glass will enhance the aroma and head of ales and aromatic beers, while a goblet or chalice glass feature a bigger bowl for Belgium ales, abbey beers, German bocks and other big sipping beers.
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