I went to a work-related event at a local brew pub late last year. It had been a while since I had been there, and I was curious to see what it was like. My first disappointment came when not one but two different bartenders told me that a beer I was asking about was a "light beer." (It was actually a Belgian wit.) The second disappointment came when I was served my beer.
I know I shouldn't have been surprised that bartenders who don't know beer styles don't know how to properly clean beer glassware, either. I gave my other drink ticket to someone else and left. Life's too short to drink beer in dirty glasses.
As a Hoperative, you know that the experience of drinking a beer is just as important as the beer itself. From the aroma to the color to the taste, every aspect of the beer should be enjoyed and appreciated. While drinking a beer in the proper glass is preferred, having that beer in a beer-clean glass is essential.
First, let's define what we mean by "beer-clean" glasses. A beer-clean glass is a glass that is free from any residue, stains, or odors that can affect the taste and aroma of the beer. This includes anything from soap residue to old beer stains. When a glass is not beer-clean, it can affect the head retention and lacing of the beer, as well as the overall taste and aroma.
One of the main reasons for using beer-clean glasses is that it ensures that the beer is presented in the best possible way. For example, a dirty glass can affect the color of the beer, making it appear cloudy or dull. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's color and appearance nuances.
Another important aspect of beer-clean glasses is that they ensure that the beer's aroma is not affected by unwanted odors or flavors. A dirty glass can retain the aroma and flavors of previous beers, affecting the beer's overall aroma. For example, if a glass is not properly cleaned, it may give off the aroma of a previous beer, such as a sour beer, which can affect the aroma of the new beer being served. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's range of aromas and flavors.
Dirty or stained glasses can also affect the taste of the beer. A dirty glass can hold on to unwanted flavors and odors from previous beers, which can affect the overall taste of the beer. For example, if a glass is not properly cleaned, it may retain the flavor of a previous beer affecting the taste of the new beer being served. This can make it difficult to appreciate the beer's full range of flavors and aromas. Imagine drinking a pilsner in a dirty glass after a pastry stout.
As this graphic from the Cicerone Certification Program illustrates, there are several ways to tell if a glass is beer-clean. Some can be seen when the glass is full, and some are noticeable as you drink the beer.
In the photo above, the way the bubbles are inconsistently clinging to the inside of the glass is the indication. If the glass was clean, there would be no bubbles on the inside of the glass.
As you look for those tell-tale bubbles on your newly poured beer, there are several other things to check out. Is the glass rim free from leftover lipstick or nicks and cracks? Is the head of the beer as you would expect it to be, or is it collapsing faster than you've experienced before?
If you see any of these indicators, send the beer back. No, don't just drink it. Send. It. Back.
If you are drinking a beer from a beer-clean glass (like the one above from Oga's Cantina in Galaxy's Edge in Disney's Hollywood Studios), you will see as you drink each sip, lacing will appear on the glass. To be honest, it's one of my favorite things. It makes me more likely to order another beer. I'm sure my tips are higher at better beer locations with beer-clean glasses.
Unlike dirty beer glasses, beer-clean glasses encourage head retention. The beer's appearance and aroma are as the brewer intended, and the beer-clean glass enhances that.
Basically, a beer-clean glass is a thing of beauty.
During the month of March (with all of its beer-centric events like Bockfest and St. Patrick's Day), take a moment to consider your beer glassware. Send us pictures of the beer-clean and beer dirty glasses, and we'll share them on our social media. You can tag us on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, TikTok, or YouTube or email us at socialmedia at hoperatives.com.
We may even surprise the better beer locations with beer-clean glassware with a certificate of appreciation. You know us... we like to surprise people.
Cheers and here's to better beer (and beverages)!