Bottom's up! Craft beer gets a glass of its own
Using the correct glassware can be crucial to truly experience a good beer. Across India, the one common element between pubs and breweries is the pint glass. Originally designed for bartenders to use along with a large metal tumbler to mix drinks, this particular pint glass is known as the Shaker Pint. It’s durable and stackable, but does nothing to enhance the beer drinking experience.
The Weizen Glass, on the other hand, is one of the easiest glasses to recognise, as we all seem to love wheat beers. Tall and curvy, the large size allows for adequate headspace for the fluffy white heads that wheat beers are known for. The shape of the glass also helps lock in the aromas expected in a wheat beer.
The Stange, meanwhile, is narrow and cylindrical (think of Bangalore club glasses), used to serve delicate beers like a Kölsch. The shape serves to create a tight concentration of the volatiles, thus improving the hops and malt tones in a beer. “Stange” is German for “Stick”.
Pilsner don't mind
A Pilsner glass, for noobs, is designed to maintain the soft, fluffy head, and highlight the effervescence and colour of Pilsner style beers. The glasses are tall, tapered and slender.
By comparison, a Tulip glass, named after the flower, is tulip-shaped with a stem. The shape helps capture aromas, and the flared lip holds a thick head. This type of glass is ideally suited to strong, malty beers as it captures and enhances the volatiles of the beer. Perfect for a Double IPA, Scotch Ale or a strong Belgian Ale.
While I’m categorising both the Goblet and the Chalice together here, a Goblet tends to be more delicate, and thinner. However, they are both interchangeable and are used for heavy Belgian Ales like a Dubbel or a Trippel. These types of glasses are made to help a beer maintain it’s head.
When I say a Flute, I’m sure all of you think champagne – and you are right. Although this glass is typically associated with bubbly, the flute works very well with lively beers like Lambics, Sour Ales, or Fruit based ales. The long shape showcases the carbonation, while at the same time intensifying the aromas.
For the jam sessions
The Nonic pint, if you come across one, is of the same concept as the Shaker pint. The only difference between the two is that the Nonic pint glass has a slight bulge at the top which helps accommodate larger heads.
And finally, my favourite – the Stein. Used since the middle ages, this is a proper “session” glass. Strong, with a solid handle, it contributes nothing to the beer except that it holds a lot, has a large mouth and is easy to guzzle from. Absolutely perfect for guzzlers like me!
A beer Stein, for the record, is a stone, metal or ceramic mug with a lid. In ye olden days, the lid kept the flies from drinking our ale - or mead, as the case may have been. Now it's time to enjoy that drink responsibly!
George Jacob is the Founder and Partner of The Beer Chronicles - a brewing consultancy, a Brew Master with a degree in Brewing, certified in Craft Beer by Brewers Association, a Cicerone® certified Beer Server, and a Certified Beer Steward by the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, London.