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How to Match Beer to the Right Glass

How to Match Beer to the Right Glass

There are many influences when it comes to deciding how to serve beer. Factors to consider include regional traditions, legal regulations, expense, breakage, aesthetics, temperature control, result of the pour, and aroma, among others.

As soon as the beer hits the glass, its color, aroma, and taste are altered. The glass affects how you experience the beer in every way—how it looks, how it smells, how it tastes, and how it feels on your lips.

You can’t make an informed glassware decision without understanding the beer’s head. The head filters the beer’s “volatiles” (compounds that evaporate from the beer to create its aroma, which affects its taste and the overall experience). Different levels of head, among other considerations, are preferred with different beers, therefore different types of glasses should be used with different beers. If the brewery has a suggestion, we advise you go with that. But here we’ve compiled a “cheat sheet” for when the decision is yours!

Pilsner

Pilsner glasses are tall with a widened mouth, which retains the head while showing off the sparkle, clarity, and bubbles of pilsners, other light beers, or any highly carbonated beer. These are perfect for serving Pilsners, American lager, Blonde ale, Bock, and Whitbiers (wheat beers).

Schooner

The schooner’s wide bowl helps retain a beer’s head, while the wide mouth design promotes big, hearty sips. Thick glass walls hold up to lots of heavy use. Use a schooner in high-volume operations or with lower-alcohol beers that can be consumed relatively quickly.

Mug

Mugs are the classic pub glassware. The handle prevents heat transference from hand to beer, and the thick walls provide insulation, as well. Any beer serves well in a mug, but we especially recommend mugs for American ales and lagers, Scottish ales, and Irish dry stouts.

Pint

Pint glasses (usually in 16 oz or 20 oz) are relatively thin-walled with a slight taper and a wide mouth. These glasses are fairly inexpensive and are easy to drink out of because they’re light. They’re versatile and especially good for serving blonde ales, lagers, porters, and stouts. As in most glass wear, there is a major difference in heat treated vs regular glass. This is particularly important in a pint because of the thin walls. Pints are often used as a utility glass when others aren’t available, and due to the high usage they can take more abuse than other styles. Heat-treated glasses are able to take a significant amount more abuse than plain glass pints, and because of that you’ll notice a difference in price between the two!

Oversized Wine Glass

A 22 oz wine glass is increasingly being chosen for serving Belgian Ales and heavy stouts. The large size allows for headspace, while the open bowl creates an amazing nose.

IPA Beer Glass

An IPA Beer Glass is perfect for serving India Pale Ales. The bulbous, rounded top captures the iconic hop flavor and aroma of IPAs. In addition, the narrow top of the glass holds the head and directs the bouquet and aroma of the hops directly toward the nose.

When it comes to serving beer, the glass is the first thing you see, and first impressions are super important! The beer’s presentation, affected primarily by the glass, helps peak anticipation. Pairing the right glass with the right beer can greatly enhance your drinking experience. Plus, you don’t want to look like you don’t know your beer, so show others you know your stuff by serving beer correctly. Big Plate doesn’t ship glassware, but we have a nice selection in the store to enhance your home or commercial bar, so come see us!

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