Beer Tasters E13 - Lex & Nikki's Guide to Glassware for your Beer

In this episode we dig into the world of glassware. Which glasses best compliment which styles? How do you know which glassware to use? We also try Crabbie's Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer and Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball Ale.

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Nikki’s beer

Crabbies Spiced Orange Ginger Beer

Lex’s beer

Lagunitas The Hairy Eyeball Ale

Glassware for your Beer

Tasting Beer: An Insider’s Guide to the World’s Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher

Check out Nikki's article on where to buy glassware for your beer.

The shape of your beer glass affects the way the beer looks, smells and tastes.

Usually clear glass is best, to display the color of the beer.

The feel of the glass is important too; you want to be able to hold onto your beer. Large glasses often require a handle. Stems can achieve a similar function by allowing you to hold your beer without warming it up too much.

A narrower top than middle of the glass helps to hold in aroma.

An outward taper helps provide additional support to the foam. An inward taper forces the head in on itself as the glass if filled. This concentrates the foam, resulting in a denser, creamier head.

Soap or oils inside the glass can degrade the structure of the foam. Foam forms at nucleation sites, which are microscopic rough spots formed by dirt or scratches (this can be a good indicator of an improperly cleaned glass). Sometimes nucleation sites are added intentionally (e.g. a laser etching of the logo on the bottom of the glass) to cause a small stream of fine bubbles to be continuously released, at the same time replenishing the head and releasing aroma.

Foam has a dramatic effect on the way hop flavor manifests in a beer. Bitter hop compounds preferentially migrate to the head, so the foam may taste quite a bit more bitter than the beer itself.

When pouring a bottled beer, pour straight down the middle of an upright glass. Pouring down the side is for sissies and results in a too-gassy beer with little aroma and a poor, quickly dissipating head. A vigorous pour will create a lot of foam. This is good because when it settles down you’ll have a head that will be dense and long-lived. It’s also important to release some of the carbonation in bottled beer. Too much fizz masks things like hop aroma and fills you up quickly. So pour and let the beer settle as many times as you need to fill the glass.

With highly carbonated beers like Bavarian hefeweizens and Belgian ales, you may want to rinse the glass with clean water before filling. This reduces surface tension and controls the foam.

Normally you want to leave the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. An exception to this is wheat beers, where you want to swirl the yeast into the beer.

Styles

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