A few words on … glassware

Yesterday I reblogged a fantastic post from ithinkaboutbeer which covers an aspect many people might not think about – glassware.

No boots in my cabinet.

In the image above, you’ll see the three glasses I’ll almost exclusively drink from. If I’m applying the terminology correctly, the glasses you see here are (in order from left to right): snifter, summer glass, tasting glass. My snifter just also happens to be a proper brandy snifter because sometimes I like to feel fancy – monocle optional. I am yet to drink from a boot.

(Sadly, the chalice-looking glass I’ve used for the past six months or so took an unfortunate, Humpty Dumpty-like fall and won’t be put back together again.)

Why do I use these glasses? Because as ithinkaboutbeer points out, they truly add to the sensory aspect of enjoying a beer. I will, without a doubt, drink from a glass 99 percent of the time because it enhances the smell, which enhances the taste, which enhances my happiness. And what is beer for, if not to make us happy?

For many, the run-of-the-mill conical pint glass does the trick, and that’s what we’re often served with in bars, restaurants and pubs. In a pinch, I have no issue with that. But, what I’ve found is that each of the glasses I use provide that little extra bit we should all want when enjoying a cold brew. If I’m at home, the choice is easy as to how I’m drinking that beer.

With that in mind, hit the jump for why I like each my Glasses Of Choice…

My snifter

Snifter (brandy) – This glass is obviously much larger than a beer-sized snifter, but to me works all the same in its benefit. In addition to helping to warm the beer a bit quicker because of thin glass and a large surface area, I find that the shape helps to capture aromas wonderfully and allows me to stick my nose far down into the glass in proper beer-nerd style. While I’ll drink any kind of beer in this glass, full-bodied, high alcohol beers that tend to be a bit more complex are perfect. Imperial stouts or barleywines, perhaps.

My taster

Tasting glass – The tulip shape does a great job at creating and retaining foam. Why is this important? Let’s turn back to ithinkaboutbeer:

The majority of what you taste is actually what you smell. The human nose and brain can perceive approximately 10,000 different aromas. Flavor is aroma. But how do we get the aroma from the beer to our nose to our brains? Carbonation.

Bam. There you go. I’d use this glass for the same reasons as the snifter, although for beers that might be a bit more dependent on carbonation – IPAs, pale ales, saisons.

My summer

Summer glass – Somewhere between a pilsner and pint glass, I like to use this glass when I’m the most curious about color and clarity. The shape most definitely helps create foam and head retention. Something like pilsners or lagers.

This topic hit home with anyone else out there? How do your personal drinking habits or preferences shape how you drink and enjoy your beer?

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9 thoughts on “A few words on … glassware

  1. Thanks for the kind mentions! I’m definitely using the third shape almost exclusively when I’m drinking at home. I find it gives me the best of all words for all beers. I do have some big crystal snifters that see some service on special big beers. Nice piece! Well written.

    • Thanks for the kind words – and the inspiration. Oddly enough, it was spurred by receiving a free taster/small snifter glass a couple years ago. Now I can’t envision not drinking from a specific glass for a specific beer.

  2. I usually drink from dimpled glass tankards, mainly because I enjoy the feel and appearance of them. The foam generally builds up and sticks around, and there is some aroma there.

    You’ve given me something to think about though. Perhaps I’m missing out on the full aroma (and taste) without realising, and need to try a different glass.

    • Thanks a bunch for checking the post out. There was a great podcast on Basic Brewing Radio that covered this that can be listened to here: http://is.gd/lLQYN0. It might be of interest to you.

      Without going back through it, I’ll test my memory … I believe one of the benefits of a glass like a tankard is that it’s easy to pick up smells initially simply by virtue of the wide opening at the top, but from an “engineering” point of view, it ultimately takes away from a prolonged experience because head might not stick around as long.

      A benefit, however … I imagine the thicker glass maintains temperature very well if you’re looking to keep your beer cold and consistent in flavor.

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