Why should I care about which beer glass I use?
Well, we’re not talking global warming so you can care as much or as little as your beer-loving heart desires. After all, your favourite suds come in a receptacle designed for easy access. Just, as my mother always nagged, watch your front teeth if you’re indulging right out of the bottle. That said, we have undoubtedly entered a period of beer drinking where a glass is a necessity and just any glass doesn’t seem to cut it anymore. Now, before you start blaming hipsters for hijacking yet another of life’s simple pleasures, the idea of pairing a specific brew with a glass designed to show off its nuances is nothing new.
In mainland Europe, bars and pubs take their beer very seriously, pouring their brews into a variety of glasses moulded to project the aroma and slosh out every flavour element. The Belgians took things to near religious levels by incorporating a fancy cleaning process for their glassware accompanied by a no-nonsense service regimen that is performed with military precision no matter what watering hole you find yourself seated in.
Here in Canada we’ve typically followed the direction of our British counterparts, preferring a simple Imperial pint glass. They’re easy to store and simple to clean so it was a no brainer that they became the unofficial beer conveyance system for locals across the country. But times they are a-changin’. The current craft beer craze that’s sweeping into every city, town and village across the nation has brought with it a re-evaluation of both what and how we drink when it comes to beer.
Before you cart off your current collection to Value Village and start investing in pricey, stylistically correct glasses, there are a couple that are versatile enough to show off a wide variety of beers. With its tubby bowl and tapered mouth, the Belgian tulip-shaped glass is a funkier take on the classic snifter. It’s become the go-to for many artisan breweries. Built for boozy and bitter India Pale Ales, it brings out the subtleties in any beer.
Blame it on my history with wine, but my favourite all-purpose glass is the Teku goblet. Invented in Italy, it plops an enhanced version of the tulip on top of a tall stem. Like a wine glass it keeps your hot paws away from the cold brew while allowing for some sweet swirling action to help release those hidden aromatics.
No matter what style you choose, having some glassware for your beer is sure to enhance your beer-drinking experience.