Beer Glassware: Friend or Foe?

Beer Smack by | Mar 2013 | Issue #74

We’ve noticed that glassware for beer often becomes more important than the beer itself. This form of snobbery is arguably bad for beer as a whole, making it less approachable for some and removing the focus from the beer.

Here are some examples of when glassware taken too seriously makes beer no fun:

• Though accepted since the creation of both, drinking out of a can or bottle is now condemned by beer snobs who cite that you can’t properly smell or taste the beer.
• The “right glass for the style” way of thinking is a good guideline, but it’s certainly not beer law. We’ve found that people can enjoy the same beer regardless if it’s served in a gold-rimmed chalice or a 4-ounce PLA compostable cup.
• The “right glass for the brand” way of thinking is typically pure gimmick. People seem to forget that, for the most part, glassware in the beer world is a vehicle for branding.
• That frustration of being refused a beer simply because the specific glassware isn’t on hand, but there’s other glassware available.
• After decades of use, and despite it being the most used beer glass in the US, the shaker pint is now being beat up by those who claim it creates an inferior experience.
• The move away from shaker pints usually means using smaller glasses, which results in shorter pours and higher prices for less beer.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Glassware can work and will often enhance the experience; it can produce great eye candy too. Personally, we review beers at home using Spiegelau glasses and a proper pour, but we’re realists and don’t expect to re-create this glassware experience when we’re at the bar enjoying a brew. As long as the beer is fresh and the pour is honest, we’re good to go; less geeking, more drinking.

You might think we’re crazy right about now, but consider this: The current #1 beer on is Heady-Topper—an 8-pecent American Double IPA in a 16-ounce can—from The Alchemist in Waterbury. Boldly printed on the can: “Drink from the can!” A not-so-subtle reminder that sometimes it’s OK to drop the pretense, have fun and just drink the damn beer.

Respect Beer.