The craft beer industry is sweeping the nation by storm and if it hasn’t invaded your bar or restaurant yet, it will soon. Proper training and etiquette for beer servers may have been lost, but now the standard is rising due to the respect that beer is finally getting. With programs such as Cicerone—which is similar to the Master Sommelier program—more educational material is being created to help ease the transition from “robotic” glass selection methods to a more artisanal approach.
The ABCs of choosing the right stemware for beers may seem simple to some, but following these small steps will pay off huge in the end. There are many different styles of beer glasses and each is made to showcase and bring out the best in the beer. The Pint Glass is the tried and true “everyman” glass that most beer drinkers are familiar with. It is very versatile in its design, sturdy and easily stackable, which makes it a popular choice among pubs and bars. The styles of beer that belong in the Pint Glass include anything under eight percent alcohol by volume (abv), and range from an American Pilsner to a English Milk Stout. It’s best for simple beers.
If glasses were people, the Snifter would be a Renaissance man. Its small bulb design helps complex and higher-alcohol brews shine. This glass helps aromas and tastes open up, and helps warm up beers kept too cold in the cooler. Types of brews that should be served in the Snifter include Barleywines, Saisons and Scotch Ales. Everyone has seen the tall, slender and wide-mouthed Weizen Glasses. Typically used for wheat beers, they showcase the brew through foam retention and locking in those wonderful clove and banana flavors. Styles that are served in this glass are Hefeweizen, American wheat Ale and Whitbier.
The Tulip glass is usually used for full-bodied Belgian beers. It has similar characteristics to a Snifter but has a bigger bulb and longer stem with an outward lip, which increases aromatics. Styles poured in this glass are most often Belgians, Lambics, Saisons and Guezes.
Bulky, clunky and ultra sturdy Stein glasses are everyone’s favorite drinking vessel. They promote impromptu singing, drinking and of course random toasts with strangers. A traditional style was originally popular because its lid kept out unwanted germs and dirt. Styles for this glass range from Pilsners, Lagers, Kolsch and Oktoberfest.
These are just the basics of pouring and the most common glassware. These simple yet effective guidelines will help build confidence, lead to further education of beer knowledge and hopefully create a few “Cicerones” along the way. ·
Step by Step
1. A Pint glass is sturdy, cheap and accessible to almost all styles of beers under eight percent abv.
2. A small Snifter is mainly for mid to high abv brews that are complex in style and flavor.
3. The Weizen glass is tall, slender and wide mouthed and made for showcasing the whitbier style of brew.
4. The Tulip glass is similar in style to a Snifter. It is used for big Belgian brews and has a wide “flower” lip.
5. A Stein is big and clunky, made for lighter brews.