Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Glasses, Glasses, Glasses Galore

Choose your weapon...
If you're going to drink fine craft beer, you need some appropriate drinking vessels. Come on, only the most unsophisticated Neanderthal drinks his/her beer straight out of the container that it came in. Leave those vulgar habits to the knuckledraggers and pick up some classy glassware.

So, what kind of beer is supposed to go into what kind of glass? Hey, I'm no expert, but I know what I like to use. Here's my list:

1) The Shaker Pint: Almost anything can be poured into the classic shaker pint. IPA's, pale ales, porters, stouts, wits, reds. This is the go-to glass, and I use it for anything that isn't barrel-aged, Belgian-ish, or loaded with a huge ABV. I've read articles that largely disparage the standard American shaker pint. The premise is that the straight-sided glass actually works to dissipate a beer's head, aroma and temperature. I guess that makes sense. Still, the shaker pint is found everywhere and more bars use them than anything else. I like 'em because they are hard to break--that's important when you have a teenager washing the dishes in your house.

2) The Tulip Pint, AKA English Imperial Pint: This is supposed to be a much better glass for preserving and enhancing a beer's taste, smell and character. I don't know. I guess I'll have to do a taste test someday. I do know that these glasses don't hold up very well under the slam-bang dish washing style that goes on in my kitchen. The glass itself is rather thin and I've lost several before their time.

3) The Handled Mug: Again, almost anything works in a handled mug. My favorite is a skull-shaped mug that somebody gave me for my birthday and/or Christmas. There's just something totally badass about drinking beer from a skull, I'm just sayin'.

4) The Goblet: I drink Belgian-style beers out of these babies. Dubbels, tripels, quads, anything brewed by monks.

5) The Stemmed Tulip and/or Snifter: I use this style of glass for barleywine ales, double IPA's, Imperial stouts and anything with a giant ABV and a massive flavor profile. Barrel-aged brews or something that requires sipping instead of gulping.

6) The Pilsner: Pils, wits, lagers.

7) The Stein: Whenever I feel my German coming out and I want to act like a Bavarian prince, I dust off one of my collector steins and fill it with beer. Prost! 

8) The Mason Jar: I drink beer out of a Mason jar more than I'd like to admit, but these are especially handy when we're having a party. It's generally the most plentiful "glassware" we have in our house and they are practically indestructible.  Everything works in a Mason jar!

9) The Common Whiskey Glass: Whenever I'm sharing a bomber and want it to go a long way, I grab a few whiskey glasses. No sharing. Everybody gets their own glass...albeit, a teeny, tiny glass.

10) Festival Tasters: I go to a lot of beer festivals and if they give out glass tasters, I keep them and use them. It's like having a brew fest in my living room!

I'm not a big fan of tiny stemmed flutes and you won't find any in my bar. I also don't serve beer in long-stemmed wine glasses. That's just wrong. Finally, if you're a hyper-educated beer snob, please don't point out all the errors of my glass selection. Don't be a hater. I revel in my ignorance.

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