Use the right glass for your beer

Posted on July 15th, 2009

Beer gets served in a lot of different glasses which vary wildly in shape and appearance. Some are more fun than functional, such as the “half yard of beer” you sometimes see at sports bars. Those can be fine if all you’re interested in is the novelty of it, but if you really want to get the most out of your beer then you should think twice about what glass you choose for your beer.

beerglasses6Certain styles really do benefit from certain types of glassware. In fact back in the day many European breweries (and Belgian brewers in particular) would each create a uniquely shaped glass for their beer. These glasses would frequently be designed to highlight a particular quality of each beer. The end result left even the smallest European bartender stocking many, many different glasses.

If that seems like a tall order, don’t worry; you don’t need to have a unique glass for each beer you bring home to get the most from your glass ware. To cover most of your bases all your really need is a three different glasses you can pick up at a local store. Sure there are many more styles of beer glasses than this but these three will adequately provide for the vast majority of the beers you bring home from the store.

Before we get started I should say a word about why you should pour your drink into a glass at all. A glass offers many benefits over a can or bottle. For one it makes it much easier for the beer’s aroma to reach your nose. Smell plays an important part of the way humans experience our sense of taste; that’s why nothing tastes good when you’re all stuffed up with a cold- you can’t smell anything. Secondly, a clean glass provides a much better view of your beer, its color and appearance.

pint21. PINT GLASS, MUG, TUMBLER – This is your basic glass which comes in many different variations. They allow for a good amount of room for foam and an unobstructed view of the beer’s appearance. It’s good for everything from an IPA, to a black lager. When unsure of what glass to use, you can go with this one.

tulip2. CHALICE, SNIFTER, TULIP – These are bulbous glasses with stems at the bottom and curved lips. They are designed for stronger and sweeter beers such as barleywine, stouts, and Belgian ales. Their round shape allow for vigorous swirling of the beer in order to releases their strong aromas, the curved lips and relatively large surface area direct the aromas to your nose for your enjoyment. Double IPAs with their strong hop aromas and high alcohol content also do well in this style.

hefe23. WEIZEN – These are large, tall glasses with bulbous tops. They are chiefly designed to accommodate the strong carbonation of wheat beers such as hefeweizens, weizenbock, dunkelweiss and the like.  Their length provides plenty of space to contain the massive foam these beers produce. Trying to pour a Hefeweizen into a smaller glass will surely result in not much but foam and disappointment.

Now that you’ve got the right glass ware, let us show you how to pour the perfect pint

Properly Pouring Beer

Posted on July 8th, 2009

A lot of different things get said about the proper way to pour a beer, but if you’re looking to get the best experience and richest taste out of your beer it turns out there’s not simply one proper way to pour a beer. Different styles of beer require different pours. Today we’re going to cover three pours that everyone should know.

thePour3

1. THE STANDARD POUR– This the basic approach you should employ when pouring most beers.

Step 1 – While holding your bottle of beer in one hand and a clean glass in the other, tilt the glass at a 45 degree angle

Step 2 – Pour the beer in at a generous pace, aiming for the center of the glass’s side

Step 3 – When the glass is approximately half to ¾ full return it to an upright position and continue to pour the rest of the bottle. This will create the proper amount of foam for your pint. Contrary to what some people think, some foam is desired as it is an important part of the flavor profile of a beer.

2. THE BOTTLE CONDITIONED POUR – Some beers, particularly those from Belgium are what’s known as “bottle conditioned,” meaning that they retain active yeast culture inside the bottle. This yeast naturally carbonates the beer and allows it to continue to mature inside the bottle.

You need to be careful when pouring these beers because you do not want to pour the yeast at the bottom of the bottle into your glass. The yeast can disturb the intended flavors and cause indigestion; to avoid this follow these steps

Step 1 – Much like standard pour, tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle and pour your beer into it, however use a slightly gentler rate of pour than with a non-bottle conditioned beer

Step 2 – As before, when your glass is approximately half to ¾ full tilt it back upright and continue to pour the rest of the bottle. This will create the proper amount of foam for your pint.

Step 3 – Towards the end of the pour you will begin to get to the yeast. Watch carefully and when you notice the stream coming out of your bottle begins to become cloudy or unclear, stop pouring. With practice you will learn to judge this without pouring any yeast into your glass.

Step 4 – Discard the rest of the beer in the bottle. You may be surprised by how much is left, but don’t drink it; It won’t taste very good.

3. THE HEFEWEIZEN POUR – This is for German wheat beers such as the Hefeweizen or Dunkelweizen, which are generally bottle conditioned beers, however with these the yeast is a desired part of the flavor, and you will need to take extra steps to ensure you get all of the yeast into the glass.

Step 1 – Be sure to use a tall Hefeweizen glass, or another glass which can accommodate the high carbonation of such beers, otherwise you may end up overflowing. Much like standard pour, tilt your glass at a 45 degree angle and pour your beer into it, however use a slightly gentler rate of pour than with a non-bottle conditioned beer

Step 2 – As before, when your glass is approximately half to ¾ full tilt it back upright and continue to pour until the foam reaches the team of the glass.

Step 3 – Chances are foam will rise to the top of the glass before your bottle is empty; this is to be expected. Swish and roll around the remaining beer in the bottle to loosen the yeast from the bottom.

Step 4 – Pour the remaining amount in the bottle into your glass.

Now sit back and enjoy the perfect pint.

Cheers!