14 January 2016

Treat your Beer Right. Put it in a Glass!

That looks delicious!
Do me a favour, won't you? Put your beer in a glass. It's not hard and you will thank me for it. I can do it for you or show you how if you are unfamiliar with the process. It's not that I want to be "that" guy, but you are really missing out. Beer is not just meant to be tasted, it is meant to be smelt, felt and dealt. By that I mean smell the aroma, feel the texture and deal with the flavours as they come. Don't force yourself to decide your love or hatred for a particular beer based on one sip. Relax and enjoy the journey.
One of my first posts was about whether the glass you use to drink beer matters, check it out here. It was a pretty simplistic view of what a proper beer glass means but had one central theme : Don't miss out on the wonderful aromas that the brewers intended you to have as a component of the beer by chugging it straight from the can or bottle.
If your having a Macro lager like Coors or Canadian and all you are after is a little refreshment or that sweet oblivion that only many beers can bring, you should ignore what I am saying and keep tilting them back. Maybe shotgun one and speed up the process. These beers are only "good" if they are served ice cold and flavourless. The less time you spend trying desperately to find some flavour, the better.
However, if you are like me and really want to get into your beer, grab a glass, something clean and big enough to hold your beer. Try to avoid novelty glasses or plastic. They will do in a pinch, but for best results a  glass appropriate to the style is best.  If you can find all six of the glasses below, you have all you need to really drink your beer. They are available at the Bay here in Canada and while they are not cheap, I love them for drinking beer. German glass maker Spiegelau has teamed up with well known brewers to design glasses that are ideal for every style of beer from IPA to Stout. Here's the link to the glasses available online here.
I hope someone got to drink all those beers.
I only have the IPA glass on the far right so far, but am anxiously saving money to get all of them. They'll run you $29.99 for two of each, so you are paying a little more for the quality. The glass feels thin but they are quite sturdy despite that delicateness. I am not gentle by any means and they stand up to a night of citrusy Pale Ales very well. I think it is the fact that they are designed with brew masters that makes them perfect. These guys get what you need when you want a beer, so they really tried to help deliver the whole package in a glass.
If you don't want to spend more than $200 on beer glasses, then any pint glass will cover 90% of your needs. I have several that I love to use on a regular basis and would encourage you to get a couple that you can really hold on to as you drink your beer. If it feels good in your hand, the vessel becomes an extension of you. I am not conscious of the glass when I drink my beer if it feels right and that is fantastic. Nothing should get between you and that delicious lager or ale you have been waiting to try all day.
I have an cabinet built into the wall of my basement and it acts like a cold cellar. This is where I store my glasses until I need one. I always rinse it out before I use it to ensure there is no dust or residue left from washing. A clean glass is imperative for a good pour. Tilting your glass at a 45 degree angle as you start the pour will allow the beer to flow without building up a crazy huge head that, for the most part, you don't want. As you pass the halfway mark, start straightening your glass, this will help create the right amount of head and really release the aromas. Pour at a slow pace to start, there is no hurrying a good brew. Not all beers have a head that lingers. Depending on the style you will see very different results. My Saison last night had a big 2 finger foamy head that lasted the whole time I drank it, but the Barking Squirrel lager I drank after was just a thin off white one that dissipated quickly to the rim. There is nothing better for me than the creamy thick head a stout gives you. It adds to the complexity of the brew and it looks cool too.
Take a moment when you have poured your beer to admire how it looks. Damn that's nice. Give the beer a sniff and a sip. Dig into your senses and use them to really experience the whole beer. Swirl it around (gently, don't spill) and give it another smell. You will get something every time and as your beer warms up, the flavours will change too. Sometimes becoming stronger or weaker depending on what you have. I am always surprised as new notes emerge and combine to create something special.
But do this one small thing.
 Pour your beer into a glass.
 It's worth it every time.
Saisons are still growing on me.
But Dougie will always be my favourite!

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