ABC’s of Women And Beer: Letter G

G is a favorite letter of mine. When it comes to beer, it’s also the starter letter of one of my favorite things to talk about with Beer: Glassware.

Glassware matters

Glassware for beer is as important as dishes are for food. Would you serve soup on a plate and expect the same experience as if it were served in a bowl? Would you offer a slice of roast beef in a measuring cup? Would these differences matter?

Of course they would. Ultimately, it’s your beverage and food – do as you wish.

If you really want the full benefit of everything the beer and food can offer, then it’s time to get smart about glassware and dishes. Full enjoyment and sensory encounters necessitate the use of glassware that will help you smell, examine, and taste everything beer has to offer.

Glassware is an excellent beer tool to experiment with too. Let me expound:

  1. Get an assortment of glasses of different shapes, volumes, and sizes together. Pour one kind of beer into between 3 and 6 of these glasses. Proceed to smell them all, clearing your nose after each one, to see how aromas are different from glass to glass.
  2. Next taste them from the different glasses. If taste is 90% based in our smelling, then the previous step of this exercise will be noticeable.
  3. After you’ve tasted them, set a timer and let them sit for 5 minutes. Revisit the aromas and flavors when the timer rings and see what a difference glassware makes in the longer term as well as the short-term.
  4. Repeat.

Time for the tapered pint to take a break

Glassware for beer is often the least optimum: the tapered shaker pint. For establishments it’s long been an issue of economy. It’s one of the most inexpensive glasses. And sometimes the lowest quality as well.

I’d challenge the establishments with this query then: If they believe the beer to be high quality, if they want the customer to have an optimum experience, if they want that customer to come back and bring friends over and over, then it’s high time to invest in better glassware. Small budget? Fine – at least start buying one box at a time. Replace as you can.

Brewers buy high quality ingredients. Establishments invest much in atmosphere and fixtures. Glassware needs to be regarded as an equally essential component in respecting and enjoying beer. Do your part if you’re a consumer and ask for it – ne – demand the beer you love is served in an appropriately helpful glass.

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Beer and Glassware at the Iowa Expo

Beer and glassware. They’re so important together and so intrinsically entwined.

Which is exactly why I choose the topic at the HyVee sponsored Expo last weekend in Des Moines Iowa. The fine folks at Doll Distributing brought me in to help edutain the crowd – and a great audience it was!

Fun audiences at the HyVee Beer, Wine & Food Expo last week

They were attentive, fun, caught on quick to making ‘crowd sounds’ and even added their own enthusiastic and totally appropriate hand gestures.

I walked them through different kinds and styles of glassware, how they differ in the delivery of aroma and flavors, and why it’s fun to experiment. The volunteers in the audience who helped me by responding to questions went home with a fun WEB logos glass as well. We love giving away goodies!

A special thanks as well to the Tom Korder of Goose Island who was sitting in on the session for his help in demonstrating a hop rub.  Tom and his colleagues were great sports and it’s always fun to employ the talents of other ‘beer people.’

Herein lies the lesson today:

  1. Glassware is important to the sensory experience of your beer.
  2. Experiment often in creative ways – beer styles, glass styles, temperatures, and so on.
  3. Throw a beer & glassware potluck, invite friends to try different beers in different glasses and compare notes.
  4. Be a geek, never a snob.

Beer’s fun and meant to be that way and enjoyed in moderation. Please take these marching orders and go at it.

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The Power of Tasting “Off Flavored” Beer

One of the most visceral exercises I did at the recently concluded 2012 Craft Brewers Conference happened for hundreds of others too. Enter: The Siebel Institute’s Calibration Station room.

Wow. I’ve participated in flavor sensory exercises before and they’re always mind and intelligence expanding. This one fit right in and was intense in that there were 11 stations in which to taste and experience off flavors.

The important thing to know, after you learn to determine if the beer is ‘off’ is to isolate the cause. With a cause identification comes a solution to rectify the situation. No brewer I know whats their beer to be off – a heck of a lot of sweat, passion and energy goes into each batch.

When you have opportunity or when you want to make your own opportunity happen, participate in or host an off flavor beer tasting. It’s very eye-opening and deserves to be repeated periodically.

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