If you're anything like me, you've spent a considerable amount of time standing in front of the glass-door beer coolers at your favorite retailer trying to choose something delicious to drink. It seems like there are a million different beers out there to choose from these days, right?
One thing you may not have spent much time considering when choosing your beer though is what to pour your beer into. Most of us have a few favorite glasses at home that we use over and over again for whatever beer we bring home.
There are several different types of beer glasses out there, and the design isn't just for looks. They were actually designed to enhance the beer they were created for. Let's take a look at the most popular glasses available.
First up we have the Pint glass. There are several glasses that fall under this style, but the two most popular are the American Pint & the Nonic. These two glasses are very similar with one small variance. The American Pint, also referred to as a shaker, has straight sides, and was originally made to mix drinks with a cocktail shaker (hence the name). It became popular in bars as a pint glass and took off from there. The Nonic glass, also known as an Imperial Pint, has a slight ridge at the top, which allows for a more substantial head on the beer. The American Pint holds 16 oz vs the Nonic, which holds 20 oz.
Beers best served in these pint glasses: Ales, Amber Ales, Blondes, Brown Ales, IPAs, Lagers, Porters, Red Ales, Stouts.
Secondly, we have the Pilsner glass, which is also fairly popular and common to see out at a bar or in someone's cabinet. They are wonderful for lighter beers, showing off both the color and allowing the carbonation to display beautifully, much like a champagne flute. The slim tapered shape promotes proper head retention.
Beers best served in Pilsner glasses: Lagers, Pilsners, Schwarzbiers
Similar to the Pilsner is the Weizen glass. Designed for Weizenbier (Wheat beer), the tall thin shape captures the fluffy head and bready/banana aromatics of Wheat beers perfectly.
Beers best served in Weizen glasses: Dunkelweizens, Hefeweizens, Weizenbocks, Wheat Ales.
The Snifter glass is perfect for serving up a high gravity beer, especially those that are bourbon barrel-aged, because the shape helps to capture and concentrate the aromas. The wide base also allows for maximum heat transfer from your hands when holding the glass, which can actually reveal different depths of flavor and aroma that would normally remain hidden while the beer is chilled.
Beers best served in Snifter glasses: Barleywine, Imperial Stouts, Strong Ales, Tripels, Quads.
Tulip glasses are also great for serving up high gravity beers, as well as sours. The shape helps contain the aromas while also allowing proper head retention.
Beers best served in Tulip glasses: Scotch Ales, Lambics, Saisons, Ciders, Goses, Dubbels, Double IPAs, Beires de Garde, Sours, Belgian Ales.
Last but not least on our list today is the Spiegelau glass. This glass was created by Ken Grossman and Sam Calagione, with the Spiegelau glassware company, to perfectly pair with hop-forward IPAs. It boosts both the aroma and flavor of your IPA, while maintaining a light frothy head.
Beers best served in Spiegelau glassses: IPAs, Imperial IPAs, Pale Ales.
So the next time you are standing in front of those blessed beer cooler doors trying to choose the perfect beer, take a moment to consider the perfect glass as well.
It's totally okay if all you know up to this point about wine is that it comes from grapes. Everyone has got to start somewhere right? While grapes make up the overwhelmingly large base for what we think of as wine, wine can technically be made from any fruit. My good friend Joe has a fondness for homemade persimmon wine, and I've had some really delicious plum wines! But today, we're going to talk about wine made from grapes.
SO WILL ANY OLD GRAPE WORK?
Well, strictly speaking, yes, but you probably wouldn't like the result. Wine-making grapes are very different from the kind of grapes that you can find at the grocery store. They are much smaller and sweeter than the common table grape and are filled with more seeds. They also have a higher juice content, making them perfect for pressing and fermenting.
All wine grapes come from the Vitis vinifera species, which is the most cultivated species of grape in the world. There are thousands of varieties that fall under the Vitis vinifera species, with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most common.
WHAT'S IN THE BOTTLE?
Wine can be sold in single-varietal or blends. A single-varietal is made with mostly one variety of grape. Depending on the country and their regulations, that can range from 75% - 85% of one type of grape per bottle. Single-varietals are known mainly by the type of grape that makes it - so a bottle labeled Merlot is made from Merlot grapes, and a Chardonnay is made from Chardonnay grapes. However, even single-varietals can technically be considered a blend, whether it's because they contain a small percentage of other grapes or because the bottle includes the same type of grape but from several different vineyards.
Blends as we know them consist of several grape varieties, and is the traditional way of making wine. Blending is done to maximize the quality and complexity of the final product. Winemakers experiment until they find their preferred aroma, tasting notes, color, etc. It truly is an art form!
SPEAKING OF BOTTLES, WHAT'S WITH THE DIFFERENT SHAPES?
Wine bottles come in a few distinct shapes, and are characteristic of the different regions that the grape varieties traditionally came from.
The basic wine bottle shapes are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Alsace/Mosel.
Bordeaux is the most common bottle shape. It has straight sides and high "shoulders". Cabernet Sauvignon is the most common wine you'll find in the Bordeaux shaped bottles, but you'll find lots of other varieties in this bottle as well.
Burgundy bottles have a wider base than the Bordeaux bottles, and have gently sloped shoulders. You'll typically find Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in a Burgundy bottle.
Alsace/Mosel bottles are taller and thinner than the other two, and have delicately sloped shoulders. This bottle is popular for Rieslings, and you'll typically find sweeter wines in this bottle shape.
These are some good basics to get you started. Learning about wine can be really fun, and we'll keep making posts that are simple yet informative to help you on your wine journey.
Please note: Age verification is required for all wine shipments and deliveries. No one under 21 may purchase alcoholic beverages.