(This is longer than most of my posts. But I think that it is vital for you to know the correct way to serve beer before it gets much warmer and you embarrass yourself serving out of the wrong stemware.)
I grew up in the Dark Ages of beer drinking. When our dads would relax with a beer, it meant they would pop open a can and drink. Some men thought they were classy and drank bottles of beer. Being across the river from Canada, we had access to Canadian beer, but “real men” drank Stroh’s and Pabst, maybe Bud.
I have no idea what they put in those kegs at college. They called it beer, but it did not smell like anything I’ve run across before or after. Not being a beer drinker, I can’t comment on the quality. Being the first beer I ever drank, I think it ruined me for life.
Times have changed. There are any number of boutique beers as well as the large companies. I work in a mass-market store, and we sell six kinds of beer glasses, as well as mugs. Connoisseurs have many more and are adamant that you need the right vessel for the drink:
“In fact, some glassware is designed specifically to help preserve the foam head of your beer, while others are designed to help enhance the colors of your brew. It’s important to remember that it’s more than just a glass that holds your beer; it’s a delivery mechanism that brings out the unique flavors, colors and aroma of your favorite beer.”(http://learn.kegerator.com/beer-glasses/)
We no longer drink beer. We experience it. Let me help you avoid making a mistake that could ruin your future. Recommendations courtesy of http://craftbeeracademy.com/beer-glass-types/
Note: if you do not recognize the type of beer the glass is used for, you are obviously not classy enough to drink from that glass.
First, we have the goblet. Yes, that piece of crystal that you have been using to serve wine. A heavy goblet is called a chalice (yes, it looks like the ones the Catholics and Anglo-Catholics use in church). The benefits include the ability to maintain a nice head and being wide-mouthed to allow deep sips. It looks like it would be perfect to chug from, but that is frowned upon. These glasses are preferred for Belgian IPA, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Berliner Weissbier, Dubbel, Quadrupel (Quad), and Tripel.
Next up is the mug. Mugs are made from heavy glass and have a handle. The handle is useful if you want to clink your glass with someone else’s. It’s best not to suggest that in place of a champagne toast at a wedding. A stone/ceramic mug is a stein. Steins traditionally come with lids – a holdover from the days of the Black Plague when they wanted to keep out the flies. The main attraction of a mug is that it holds a lot of beer.
Mugs are used for Amber / Red Ale, Black Ale, Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, IPA, American Pale Ale (APA), Porter, Stout, Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Bock, Cream Ale, Czech Pilsener, Doppelbock, English Bitter, Euro Dark Lager, Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB), German Pilsener, Irish Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, Keller Bier / Zwickel Bier, Maibock / Helles Bock, Märzen / Oktoberfest, Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Scottish Ale, Vienna Lager, Witbier. (and root beer)
If you are reading carefully, you will notice that the type of beer does not necessarily indicate the drinking utensil. Ales in particular seem to be tricky. If you’re doing a BYOB kind of event, tell the guests they must bring the appropriate glass for their beverage. Anyone who brings paper cups should not be allowed through the door.
Back to the glasses with the pint glass. That’s the one you see in all the commercials with the guys raising a glass to whatever. It’s also popular in pubs. It’s cheap to make and easy to drink from. Function over form.
Pint glasses are used for Adjunct Lager, Amber / Red Ale, Amber / Red Lager, Black Ale, Blonde Ale, Brown Ale, Dark Wheat Ale, Double / Imperial Stout, IPA, American Pale Ale (APA), Porter, Stout, Strong Ale, Baltic Porter, Black & Tan, California Common / Steam Beer, Cream Ale, English Bitter, English India Pale Ale (IPA), English Pale Ale, Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB), Irish Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, Milk Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Old Ale, Pumpkin Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Rye Beer, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, Winter Warmer, Witbier.
If you are paying attention, you will notice that some types of beer can go in more than one type of glass. Which leaves a question for the aspiring beer snob: should I make my first investment in glassware or in trying to figure out which types of beer would most impress my friends without making me gag.
Onward and upward (so to speak) to the Weizen glass. These glasses have a thin wall that helps show off the beautiful color of the Weizenbier (wheat beer). The large opening helps to contain the foamy head on most wheat beers. Do not serve with a lemon or orange slice. It ruins the head and takes away from the aura of being a beer savant. I’m guessing the following are all wheat beers: American Dark Wheat Ale, American Pale Wheat Ale, Dunkelweizen, Gose, Hefeweizen, Kristalweizen, Weizenbock
We are now at the pilsner glass. Ignore that we have already shown at least two glasses for pilsners before this. It is defined tall, slender and tapered 12-ounce glass, that captures the sparkling bubbles and colors of a Pils while retaining the head. I would recommend serving these beers early in the evening before everyone is too drunk to appreciate the artistic qualities of the beer.
Pilsner glasses are used for American Lager, Amber / Red Lager, Double / Imperial Pilsner, American Pale Lager, Doppelbock, Dortmunder / Export Lager, Dark Lager, Pale Lager, German Pilsener, Happoshu, Japanese Rice Lager, Light Lager, Maibock / Helles Bock, Munich Dunkel Lager, Munich Helles Lager, Vienna Lager
Think snifters are just for brandy and cognac? Hah! It is good for beers that are high in alcohol, because they allow the aroma to rise. Also the glass lends allows for the beer to be hand-warmed, as most higher alcohol beers should be served a little warmer than they are (one point for the Brits).
Snifters are used for American Barleywine, Double / Imperial IPA, Double / Imperial Stout, Strong Ale, Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Barleywine, Red Ale, Gueuze, Lambic – Fruit, Old Ale, Quadrupel (Quad), Russian Imperial Stout, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy, Tripel, Wheatwine Note: these beers are usually expensive – do not buy them for people who say that Bud Light is their idea of quality beer.
Two more to go. (Didn’t realize you’d still need to be paying attention did you?) We have the tulip glass. Guess the shape. It’s used for beers that benefit from a large foamy head. Such as Double / Imperial IPA, Wild Ale, Belgian Dark Ale, Belgian IPA, Belgian Pale Ale, Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Bière de Garde, Flanders Oud Bruin, Flanders Red Ale, Gueuze, Lambic – Fruit, Belgian Quad, Saison, Farmhouse Ale, Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy.
Last but not least is the stange glass. It is straight and narrow. The cylindrical shape is used to serve more delicate beers, amplifying malt and hop nuances. (I had never realized that there was such a thing as a delicate beer.) These beers include Altbier, Bock, Czech Pilsener, Gose, Gueuze, Kölsch, Lambic.
Got all that? Good. Make your next party a beer tasting (separate glasses for that). Once you’ve bought all the supplies for your new stock of beer, you won’t have any money left for the meat you usually start grilling this time of year.