• You’re Drinking It Wrong: A Guide to Beer Glasses

    Beer Glasses

    Snifters, tulips, weizens, chalices—what’s the difference?

    There’s no shortage of snobbery in the wine and craft beer communities. Exhibit A: the confusing array of glassware available to you and your favorite libation.

     

    Wisdom has it that pilsner glasses are meant for lagers, snifters are intended for Belgian-style ales, tulip glasses are for strong ales and imperials, and weizen glasses are meant for… weizens.

     

    There’s a similar orthodoxy for wine: You drink reds in glasses with large, round bowls and sparkling whites in a thin champagne flute. The credo is even more specific when you get down to particular styles.

     

    But is this all a bunch of malarkey? Does the inward curve of a snifter really help retain aromas and enhance enjoyment of your beer? Or is it merely a promotional stunt for the glass industry?

     

    Most experts agree: Glassware is important. BeerAdvocate, the industry’s foremost resource on everything beer, explains it most clearly:

     

    “As soon as the beer hits the glass, its color, aroma and taste is altered, your eye candy receptors tune in, and your anticipation is tweaked. Hidden nuances become more pronounced, colors shimmer, and the enjoyment of the beer simply becomes a better, more complete, experience.”

     

    Some of you may still think this is nonsense, but at the very least, you can’t deny the beauty and artful precision of a tulip glass, a chalice, or this IPA glass from Spiegelau.

     

    With this appreciation in mind, let’s take a tour of the world of beer glassware.


    Mug

    beer mug

    Sometimes referred to as a beer stein, the mug is the glass of choice for beer halls everywhere. It can be made from porcelain or stoneware, and German varieties sometimes include a lid. In America, however, mugs are almost always made of glass.They’re large, sturdy, and meant to hold lots of beer. Little thought is given here to subtler nuances like aroma, clarity, or carbonation.


    Pint

    pint glass

    The most common and familiar beer vessel, pint glasses can be found in nearly every bar from Portland, Maine, to Portland, Oregon—even those fancy pubs where bartenders are trained to use specific glassware for specific styles.Like the mug, the pint glass isn’t designed for any one style in mind. It’s cheap and versatile, although some fanatics would gasp at the idea of pouring a Beglian ale into a pint glass.


    Chalice

    chalice glass

    Chalices are like the gold rimmed umbrellas of glassware—ostentatious, excessive, and gorgeous. Like its more delicate cousin, the goblet, chalices are designed to look nice and retain head—the layer of foam that forms after you pour a beer. The bottom interior of the glass is actually riveted in order to agitate the beer and create a steady stream of bubbles. For this reason, chalices and goblets are ideal for CO₂-heavy beers like Belgian tripels and strong ales.


    Pilsner

    pilsner glass

    Smaller than some of the other glasses on this list, the pilsner glass typically holds 12 ounces of beer.The triangular dimensions help promote the sparkling colors of whitbiers (wheat beers) and lagers, particularly pilsners (duh). On a hot day, a glass of pilsner beer in a pilsner glass just looks refreshing.


    Tulip

    tulip glass

    Tulips may be the prettiest glass on this list, but that’s a matter of opinion. They have a distinctive flower shape that’s similar to an hourglass—a feature that helps to both capture aromas and preserve head.The visual effect of this is tantalizing, especially to thirsty barflies who might gaze upon a tulip-full of Saison Dupont and declare, “I’ll have whatever that is.”


    Weizen

    weizen glass

    If you’ve ever ordered a Weihenstephaner, Schneider Weisse, or other wheat beer, chances are it was served to you in a weizen (literally, “wheat”) glass. There’s something oddly satisfying about the look of wheat beer in a weizen glass.While they are usually more capacious than other glasses on this list (0.5L), that extra space is meant to allow a thick cap of foam, and to remind Americans of the superior logic of the metric system.


    Snifter

    snifter glass

    Snifters are often used for brandy, cognac, and whiskey, but the glass’ tapered curve helps capture and enhance aromas.High gravity beers like barleywines, tripels, eisbocks, and Belgian strong ales all taste—and smell—wonderful in snifter glasses, even if they’re not the most perfect fit for them.


    Stange

    stange glass

    Similar to the pint glass, stanges are narrow and cylindrical—a shape that helps to preserve aromas. They are most often served with Kölsch beer—a style native to Cologne, Germany—but they’re also used for bocks and altbiers.Stanges are designed to fit in a special tray used by waiters serving large pubs and beer halls in Cologne.

  • ‘Star Trek’ Klingon Warnog Beer Invites Fans to Drink Like Warriors

    warnog-in-space-can

    By most accounts, we’re living in a golden age of television, but we’re also apparently living in a golden age of TV-based beer. There are currently beers inspired by “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” on the market.

     

    And now there’s a beer from the “Star Trek” universe.

     

    CBS Consumer Products and the Federation of Beer announced the first official “Star Trek” beer in Las Vegas on Monday, and it’s the kind of drink designed to make fans snarl and growl as only a Klingon could.

     

    Klingon Warnog will be brewed by the Evansville, Ind.-based Tin Man Brewing Co. According to the announcement, the dunkelweizen style beer has an aroma that is “predominantly mild banana and clove” that is “supported by subtle sweet malt character from the use of Munich malt.”

     

    The beer’s flavor “draws heavily from the blending of the rye malt and traditional clove character” and includes wheat and caramel malts. Making the 5.5% ABV Roggen Dunkel something strong enough for a surly Klingon to quaff. Or so they say. Klingons would probably prefer something around 10% ABV with a splash of battery acid.

     

    The Klingon Warnog will soon join other TV-based beers already on the market, including the “Game of Thrones” line of beers from Brewery Ommegang, which includes Iron Throne blonde ale, Take the Black Stout and the latest, Fire and Blood red ale, which will be released Monday.

     

    The Philadelphia-based Dock Street Brewing Co. will be releasing the “Walking Dead”-inspired Dock Street Walker on Sunday. The red-hued American pale stout uses an extra special ingredient to appeal to zombie fans: smoked goat brains.

     

    With all the TV-based beer available, it’s worth a reminder that fans should only binge on the shows. The beers are best enjoyed one at a time.

    Source: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/

  • The Bountiful Breweries of the USA

    US-Breweries

     

    Are you getting ready to plan a brew trip? Want to hit the most breweries possible without the inconvenience of having to find a ride to take you to all the corners of the earth? The latest print from Pop Chart Lab is here to help you out. The map features over 2,500 breweries, microbreweries, and brewpubs across the Unites States and measures 60″ x 40″. The epic map is fitting for any bar area or just to start marking off all your previous travels. So get some growlers ready and start studying and booking hotels. Oh, and start hydrating ASAP.

    Source:  http://coolmaterial.com/

  • World’s Strongest Beer

    snake_venom

     

    There’s a new brew in town that claims to be the strongest beer in the world.

     

    Snake Venom –the latest creation from Scottish-based Brewmeister – has concocted a beer with a whopping 67.5 percent ABV, beating out the former title holder Armageddon made by the same brewery at 65 percent ABV.

     

    Brewers Lewis Shand and John McKenzie told Scotland’s Daily Record that they created Snake Venom after customers said that Armageddon was “too weak.”

     

    “Some even said they didn’t believe it was 65 percent, so this time we thought we’d go full out. We were too nice last time,” said Lewis.

     

    They said the beer took nine months to develop and was brewed with smoked peat malt and two varieties of yeast, one beer and one Champagne.  Like other beers that have pushed ABV boundaries, they used a technique where they freeze during the fermentation process – sometimes several times.

     

    Snake Venom is the latest beer in which brewers try to outdo each other by creating stronger and stronger beers.

     

    Scotland’s Brewdog first produced Tactical Nuclear Penguin at 32 percent ABV. German-based Schorsbrau retaliated by releasing Schorschbock at 40 percent, followed by Brewdog releasing Sink the Bismarck at 41 percent, and it went from there.

     

    Last year, Brewmeister’s Armageddon crossed into the 60 percent ABV mark.

     

    The brewery’s latest creation, Snake Venom, comes with a yellow warning label and drinkers are cautioned that the brew is meant to be sipped, not chugged.

     

    Source: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/10/24/theres-new-worlds-strongest-beer/

  • Fantastical Fictive Beers

    Fantastical Fictive Beers

    Presenting Fantastical Fictive Beers, for when only a fictional brew will do. Can you not get enough of that wonderful Duff? Want to crack a Girlie Girl with Al Bundy? Or maybe you need a Butterbeer to help you cope with the fact that a noseless wizard is always trying to kill you? Whatever your quaff, kick back and enjoy this scrupulously illustrated selection of 71 beers from some of the greatest movies, books, and TV shows ever…and, okay, even a few of the not-so-greatest.

     

    You can buy the poster here:
    http://popchartlab.com/products/fantastical-fictive-beers

  • 5 Cardinal Sins of Craft Beer Service

    devil-beer

    1. Improperly Maintained Draught Systems

    Hidden behind each and every tap handle are beer lines that require a specific cleaning routine to prevent microbes and minerals (beer stone) forming inside the lines. If you’re ever suspect, ask the manager or owner how often they clean their draught lines. If they don’t automatically answer “every two weeks,” there are likely issues.

     

    Common things that you as the beer drinker may notice include flat or sour beer and excessive foaming. Every beer bar should ensure this base is covered. Period. Bottom line. No excuses. Skirting draught line maintenance is comparable to a restaurant only sometimes washing the dishes.

     


    2. Dirty Glassware

    Speaking of dirty dishes, a customer should never be expected to drink from a glass that has residue from a previous customer or detergent. Dirty glassware is unfortunately a common and egregious oversight by many bar owners today.

     

    When a beer’s bubbles cling to the sides of your glass instead of rising to the top, they are most likely stuck on some sort of residue. These dirty spots on a glass are called nucleation sites and are usually attributed to food, detergent, oils and other contaminants, which give the carbonation bubbles something to cling to.

     

    If you see bubbles clinging to the sides of your glass, you have every right to ask for a new glass.

     

    How to Test for a Beer Clean Glass
    (Source: Brewers Association Draught Quality Manual)

     

    Lacing Test: Fill the glass with beer. If the glass is clean, foam will adhere to the inside of the glass in parallel rings after each sip, forming a lacing pattern. If not properly cleaned, foam will adhere in a random pattern, or not at all.

     

    Sheeting Test: Dip the glass in water. If the glass is clean, water evenly coats the glass when lifted out of the water. If the glass still has an invisible film, water will break up into droplets on the inside surface.

     

    Salt Test: Salt sprinkled on the interior of a wet glass will adhere evenly to the clean surface, but will not adhere to the parts that still contain a greasy film. Poorly cleaned glasses show an uneven distribution of salt.

     


    3. Warm Storage

    Craft beer should be treated like food and stored cold. When beer is stored cold, the production of undesirable off-flavors and oxidation is slowed. Oxidation can produce flavors like wet cardboard, metallic, honey, almonds or unintentional souring.

     


    4. Frozen Glassware

    Avoid retailers who serve craft beer in frozen glassware, or be sure to ask for a room temperature glass. Sure a frozen glass is seen as a fun ritual by some, but a ritual of the past does not mean it should carry on into the future. Think about it this way: Would a restaurant allow their chef to serve meat or fish that was stored open in the freezer with no protective packaging?

     

    Besides off-flavors reminiscent of the ice crystals from the sides of a freezer, the colder temperatures mask craft beer’s flavors and cause excessive foaming.

     


    5. Only Providing Wine Pairings

    Based on tradition, lack of beer pairings is semi-understandable if it’s a dedicated French restaurant, but that is about it. It’s high time beer education and pairing becomes mainstream in American restaurants. Talk to me in ten years; I hope beer pairings will be a no-brainer for most establishments.

     

    Wine is not the end-all, be-all to pairing. According to 2013 Gallup® data, beer accounts for 49.2 percent of the U.S. alcohol beverage market, compared to wine with 17.8 percent. Come on retailers and beverage educators, get with the beer times!

     

    See more craft beer stats in “Beer Remains America’s Preferred Alcoholic Beverage.”

     

    Bottom line: As a fan of craft beer, and in most cases a paying customer, you have the right to expect certain care be taken with the beverage you’re being served. Now, this does not mean you should ask every bartender and waiter you encounter about their draught line cleaning schedule…but if you do encounter a problem, politely bring it to the attention of the right person

    Source: http://www.craftbeer.com/

  • This Glass Lets You Drink Two Different Beers at the Same Time

     dual-beer-glass

    Move over black and tan, there’s a new way to drink two beers at the same time.

    In a move part Escher, part why-didn’t-we-think-of-that, comes the Dual Beer Glass. Crafted by Matthew Cummings of The Pretentious Beer Glass Company (gotta love the honesty), the cylindrical beer glass houses two separate chambers that meet at the lip. This clever design allows amateur bartenders to pour the perfect Half and Half, eliminating the need for a bar spoon to prevent the two beers from blending.

     

    This opens up a whole avenue of possible brew combinations, even with those of similar viscosity. The design also allows you to simultaneously smell both beers, rather than just the predominating aroma that settles on top. Each glass measure approximately 5-6″ tall and 3″ wide, holding a total of 10-12 oz. As an ex-bartender whose mussed up my fair share of Black and Tans and (shudder) Cotton Candies, aka raspberry cider and hefeweizen, this utilitarian glassware has definitely got my interest piqued.

     

    Dual Beer Glass, $35 @The Pretentious Beer Glass PicThx The Pretentious Beer Glass

    Source: http://foodbeast.com via Husar

  • Beer or Wine?

    beer_vs_wine

    When you have a choice between Beer and wine, which do you choose?  A new gallop poll shows that Americans who drink alcohol are about equally likely to say they drink beer (36%) or wine (35%) most often.

     Another 23% say liquor is their beverage of choice. That continues the trend in which beer has declined as the preferred beverage of U.S. drinkers, shrinking its advantage over wine from 20 percentage points in 1992 to one point today.

     

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    The results are based on Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits poll, conducted July 10-14. The poll finds 60% of Americans saying they drink alcohol at least occasionally, in line with the historical average of 63% since 1939.

     

    Young adult drinkers’ alcoholic beverage preferences have changed dramatically over the past two decades. In the early 1990s, 71% of adults under age 30 said they drank beer most often; now it is 41% among that age group. There has been a much smaller decline in the percentage of 30- to 49-year-olds who say they drink beer the most, from 48% to 43%, with essentially no change in older drinkers’ beer preference.

     

    Younger adults’ preferences have shifted toward both liquor and wine, but more so toward liquor, over the past two decades. Those between the ages of 30 and 49 have moved exclusively toward liquor. Older Americans now increasingly say they drink wine most and are less likely to say they drink liquor most.

     

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    Despite these changes, beer remains the preferred beverage of 18- to 29- and 30- to 49-year-olds. Wine continues to rank as the top choice of those 50 and older.

    Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/163787/drinkers-divide-beer-wine-favorite.aspx

  • How to Open a Beer

    I found this fun video showing lots of creative ways to open a beer.  I definitely don’t recommend trying some of these at home.

  • Go Swimming in Beer

    Starkenberger beer pools-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    Presenting the one place in the world where it’s not girly to take a bubble bath: the centuries-old Austrian brewery Starkenberger, who’ve built the world’s first-ever beer swimming pools in the recesses of their brew-castle, and, for a paltry fee, you can take a dip. Here’s the skinny:

    Starkenberger Brewery castle-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    Located a few hours outside Munich, the setting for the Starkenberger Brewery castle is pretty ridonkulous, though, with the glory that’s awaiting for you inside, you probably won’t want to spend too much time out there.

    Starkenberger Brewery-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    As a brewery Starkenberger’s been at it for more than a hundred years, and is currently (and always has been) run by women. This bearded dude is merely one of their minions.

    Starkenberger Brewery-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    Barrels are stored down in their super gothic cellar, which you could see if you dropped $10 on a brewery tour, but totally don’t care about since you came for the beer pools! So, without further ado…

    Starkenberger beer pools-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    Residing in the old fermentation brewery, there are seven total pools in a Turkish-bath-like room, each of which are heated and contain 12,000L of water enriched with 300L Biergeläger (remote yeast). Fun fact: ever since the days of ancient Egypt when Cleopatra bathed in beer while Mark Anthony was off conquering empires, beer bath’s have been rumored to have a healing, restorative effect.

    Starkenberger beer pools-An Austrian brewery castle where you can literally swim in beer

    You’ve gotta make reservations in advance but for $298/ pool (and an additional $6.50/ person) this could be you sharing a beer pool with blonde coeds. Your two hours of beer bathing also come with beer crackers and a “Tyrolean meat spread” plus one non-swimmed-in bottle of suds per person; because actually drinking the pool beer would be insane… right??

    Source: http://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/an-austrian-brewery-castle-where-you-can-literally-swim-in-beer

     

    Of course, Starkenberger Brewery doesn’t have the only place to bath in beer.  You can also go to Chodovar Brewery in Czech Republic.

     

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