Have you ever thought about the type of glass your beer is served in? Have you wondered if the shape of the glass affects you taste experience? Well, after reading this article you could find yourself questioning when your beer is served in a traditional shaker pint. According to Matthew Cummings, owner of The Pretentious Beer Glass Company, the commonly used shaker pints are chosen for their stackability factor, not because they enhance the flavor of the beer. These glasses not only do nothing to bring out the taste, but according to Cummings their design accelerates aeration, which makes beer taste flat faster. Do you accept that the convenience of easy stacking outweighs the value of the taste experience for the end user? And is the difference between a shaker pint and a well-designed glass really that noticeable? If the answer to the second question is yes, that the difference is noticeable, then the answer to the first should be a resounding, No! For a true beer lover, flavor should top convenience, especially for carefully brewed craft beers. Just as there are many types of beer, there are many styles of glassware, and pairing a specific beer with the optimal glass will allow the aromas and flavor to be fully experienced.
Brett Joyce, president of Rogue Ales and Spirits, says that the difference made by a well-designed glass is “mindblowing.” After working in a glass company and experiencing the contrast, Joyce advocates doing away with shaker pints entirely. The Pretentious Beer Glass Company has a line of 7 beer glasses, each designed to amplify the experience of a specific beer. For this glassware, it is not about the appearance for appearance sake, but about the way the unique designs enhance the beer’s taste. For instance, a beer glass for hoppy beer should have more surface area at the top to allow the aromas to all come through. Also, an ideal glass for malt beers should have many of what Cummings refers to as “waists.” This allows the bubbles to be caught and held at each waist, making it so that each sip has some carbonation factor. Unfortunately, according to Outside Online it is unlikely that these specialty glasses will be at everyday local breweries anytime soon, because they are hand blown and come with a big investment.However, there may be growing support for getting rid of shaker pints as consumers become increasingly aware of the impact the shape of a glass has on their enjoyment of the beer. With all this being said, it is not that easy to find the perfect design for the glass. Joyce said that it can take multiple rounds of glass making to find a glass that everyone can agree makes the beer taste the best.
According to Advanced Mixology, the three most important considerations when choosing a glass include the shape of the rim, the impact on smell, and the overall appearance of the glass. The rim is considered the most important of these, because beer needs a smaller rim in order to trap the carbonation within the glass. Wide rims allow for more aeration, which makes beer go flat faster, narrow rims trap the carbonation longer, which enhances the flavor of the beer. The shape of the glass also influences the smell of the beer, and the smell impacts the taste. This is what makes the smell vitally important. You want the shape that will give you the best smelling beer leading to the best taste. The appearance of the glass is the least important, because it doesn’t affect the taste of the beer. The appearance is purely important because when drinking out of a beautiful glass the aesthetics adds to the enjoyment.
Cummings has said that if you are drinking beer out of a shaker pint you would be better off drinking water. And, in keeping with this sentiment, the only thing served in a shaker glass at Rogue Ales and Spirits today is water. So, next time you have a beer in a shaker pint think about how this could be affecting the flavor of your beer and not allowing you to get the full experience, and think about demanding more. Tell your favorite tasting room to keep the shaker pints for the spring water, and spring for a well-designed glass for your beer!