I love beautiful beer glasses. I have very little idea which glass is right for which beer or the best way to ensure my glasses are spotlessly clean. In fact, previous to last Friday, I didn’t own any good beer glasses. Being young and flatting, I don’t own a lot of nice kitchen stuff and being accident-prone, anything nice I acquire doesn’t last very long.* In the weekend though, Dad returned from Germany with these lovely second-hand glasses for me.
I’m currently drinking out of the one of the right, from Fürstliche Brauerei from Wächtersbach, near Frankfurt. I’m a slightly nervous every time I pick it up, but it is a delight to drink from, with a nice weight in the bottom and a thin lip. I know very little about the brewery or what beers they produce, but their glasses are great.
Attractive and elegant beer glasses have the potential to give craft beer kudos in the eyes of people who generally think beer is for quaffing – and that can mean anyone from wine snobs to rugby meatheads. When Martin Bosley introduced beer matchings at his self-named restaurant in Wellington, he served the beer in wine glasses to break people’s perception of beer. I’ve used the technique myself, when introducing friends to beer – with a wine glass in hand, they’re more like to give the beer a swish, a sniff and a sip, appreciating its colour, as well as its aroma and flavour.
Humans are superficial creatures, who admire beautiful things. And that’s one thing which I don’t think we’ve promoted much as craft beer advocates – the beauty of beer. Craft beer comes in an amazing array of shades and hues, from the palest lemon to the darkest chocolate. The froth can offer creamy suds or gorgeous lacing. There’s no reason why it should only be associated with the piss-yellow fizzy stuff that accompanies mainstream beer ads (when they bother to show it). Craft beer’s appearance is much like it’s flavour – variable, subtle and as much a creation of the brewer.
So take the time to admire your beer. Hopefully one day food photographers, magazine creative directors and those other apparent setters of style may start to appreciate its beauty as well and we’ll have more gorgeous photos of mouth-watering brews accompanying our food in our media – or even just there for beer’s own sake.
*Since I moved into my current flat in June, I’ve broken three glasses, a mug, a large cooking bowl and a jar each of peanut butter and Moroccan spice.