Back to the Blog…Stemware

THE VAS BLOG – INSIGHTS ON THE ART OF DRINKING

 Hi everyone – sorry that it’s been a while, but we’ve had a lot cooking, and I’ve got a lot to talk about, so I’ll be on here pretty regularly going forward.  Thanks to everyone that emailed and called over the last month or so – I have definitely been formulating future blog posts based on your ideas and comments, so there should be a lot of interesting stuff coming up!  Now, on to this week’s post….

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“Red Solo Cup…you are my friend…” -Toby Keith, 2011

With those words, the cup already revered by frat boys and party-goers the world over was immortalized in song.  And while the red Solo cup does adequate duty from the perspective of drinking keg-beer and catching ping-pong balls, there is a much more mature component to drinking beer. Yes, beer tastes good out of the bottle, but if you are going to take the time to educate yourself on the beer you drink, then it makes sense to drink it from the proper glass, if you can. 

What’s the big deal?  I know that many people consider the glassware that beer is consumed from to be more marketing than anything, and while marketing may play a role to some extent, there is also a reason for the designs of many of these glasses.

Some of the major types of glassware include:

1. Pint Glass – This is what you will typically be served beer in when you go out.  It gains its name from the measurement of One Imperial Pint (20 Imperial Ounces).  As of late, many brewers have begun to produce custom versions of these glasses with logos or other markings on the bottom of the glass.  This is intended to help with nucleation, a process that allows gas to escape from the beer and help preserve the head on the poured beer.  This is such a ubiquitous glass that virtually anything can be served in one.

2. Pilsner Glass – A pilsner glass can be used for many types of light beers, obviously including Pilsner. Pilsner glasses are typically smaller than the pint glass. They are tall, slender and tapered in appearance.

3. “Yard” Glass – A yard glass is a very tall glass, approximately 1 yard long.  It has a bulb at the bottom, a very narrow middle part, and widens at the top.  While primarily a pub-based glass, plastic variants of this are popular in many places, where people carry them by wearing a band around their necks attached to the glass to facilitate allowing it to hang.  The glass was desinged for drinking Ale, but it’s function serves more to hold large quanitities rather than enhance taste, so technically anything can be put in one of these. 

4. The Goblet – Also known as a chalice, the beer goblet has a deep bowl, with a wide opening.  The wide opening is designed for a large head on the beer. This is a definite choice for sipping a big, heavy beer like a German Bock or a Belgian Ale.

5. The Tulip – A tulip glass is, as the name suggests, a tulip-shaped glass attached to a stem.  The shape of the glass is said to enhance the beer’s flavor, while allowing a large head. The beers best suited for the Tulip include Farmhouse Ales, IPA’s and Lambics.

6. The Stein – This is probably the best known specialty type of glass. The German Stein is a variant of the beer mug, which is itself just a heavy glass with a handle.  What makes the Stein different is that it is typically ceramic as opposed to glass, and may often include a metal top. It is my opinion that any number of beers can be succesfully consumed from a mug, including styles such as Ales, Stouts, and Lagers.

This is a very basic overview of some of the more predominant types of stemware used for drinking beer.  There are, literally, hundred more out there.  In some places, such as Germany or Belgium, each brewery has a distinctive glass that their beer is poured into.  It is quite fascinating to see all the glasses and steins that people have managed to collect. 

I hope that everyone has a great weekend! As always, if you have any questions about anything I’ve written, or even general questions about anything else, please feel free to email me at george@vasforemost.com, tweet us: @vasforemost, or give us a call at (773) 278-9420.

Thanks again! See you all next week!

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