The flourishing craft beer movement has made it chic to choose beer as the social drink of choice. And the rise of microbreweries in towns across the globe has led to an array of beers crafted with unique production techniques, resulting in beverages with unique aromas and nuanced flavors.
To further enhance the beer-drinking experience, enthusiasts may give more thought to the glasses their beers are in. Much in the way that certain foods and beverages go together, choosing the right glassware in which to serve a favorite beer can affect its flavor.
According to Inverse, an American digital media company covering topics in culture, technology and science, there are many different glassware manufacturers touting that beer is better in the right glasses. In fact, Riedel, the Austrian glass manufacturer that pioneered the concept of wine-enhancing glasses, recently turned its attention to the beer market. The company's Spiegelau brand launched a special line of beer glasses, each custom built to enhance particular varieties of beer.
The concept behind beer glasses is that the dimensions of the vessel can impact how the beer is experienced via the senses. The right glassware can highlight the notable aspects of certain varieties of beer. For example, Henry Lau and Rik Sargent of Physics.org's Cheers Physics explained that, with fizzy beers, a thin, pilsner-style glass can be ideal. Such a glass will cause less liquid to come in contact with the bottom of the glass, causing a smaller head.
In other instances, glasses with a tapered top will control how bubbles burst in the head of beer, concentrating the aroma and forcing the drinker's nose closer to the beer.
Spiegelau's IPA glass has a ridged base that helps agitate hops back into suspension. Its barrel-aged glass features a tulip bowl that focuses complex flavors similar to a wine glass.
Another glass innovator, the Rastal brand developed a universal beer glass called the TeKu that is inspired by wine glasses but features sharper contours and a flared lip. The style is designed to focus aromas, with the rim increasing turbidity as the beer flows to the lips and forces out the carbonation.
There are no rules governing which glasses to use when serving beer, but there's certainly a movement for speciality beer glassware. For those who are not ready to overhaul their beer glass collection just yet, these general recommendations can enhance the beer experience:
• Mug: Stouts and porters
• Pint glass: American lagers
• Tulip glass: Belgian Abbey-style beers, barrel-aged, fruited beers and high-ABV beers
• Cerveza Pilsner glass: Pilsners, helles and Vienna lagers
• Classic pilsner: Sour beers, pilsners
• Pub glass: Stouts, porters, ales, ambers, and moderate-ABV beers
• Revival beer glass: IPAs