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The confusing world of beer glass selection

Posted by richard on

From time to time we get customers asking us which glass they should drink a specific beer from. So we thought we’d create a set of guidelines to make it a bit easier to choose which glass to grab when you’re looking in the cupboard.

These aren't hard and fast rules, any glass is better than no glass at all, but hopefully these give you a little more understanding of which glass to pick. And if you’re wondering why there are different glasses for each type of beer, then consider this, as soon as beer hits the glass its colour, aroma and taste is altered – all while your visual receptors start tuning in. Each glass has slight nuances, which focuses the key attributes of the specific beer, letting the process of enjoyment become a more complete experience.

Glass Height – Carbonation can assist in giving beer texture and is important in beers such as Lagers and Pilsners. For these beers a taller glass allows the creation of more nucleation points (areas where carbonation can be released), while also allowing room for the creation of head, particularly for Lagers and Pilsners, as well as Wheat beers. For beers where carbonation is less important (think Dark Ales, Stouts, Belgian Strong Ales etc), a shorter glass is fine.

Glass Width – Similar to a shorter glass, a glass with a wide head has a much greater surface area, which allows the release of carbonation faster. For beers where carbonation is again important (Lagers, Pilsners, Wheat beers) a slimmer glass is typically used. Conversely for those where carbonation is less important (Dark Ales, Stouts, Belgian Strong Ales) a wider glass is used.

Glass Shape – Glasses which are curved inward at the top help focus the aroma of the beer. For those styles where aroma plays a more significant role, (aromatic IPAs, Amber Ales, Stouts etc) then a glass with an inward curve at the top provides for greater olfactory sensation. Where the aromatics are less important the glass is normally straight.

If you are looking for the most appropriate glass for each occasion we recommend the  Spiegelau Tasting Kit – this has 4 different glasses to suit a variety of beer styles.

And lastly... We recommend never to chill your glassware. Why? As the beer hits the frosted glass condensation will occur, diluting your beer as well as altering the serving temperature. 

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