Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Think about the glass for a bit

We drinkers tend to be very concerned about the product we drink. Is it the right temperature, does it taste right,does it look right etc. etc. What we often fail to think about is what it is served in.

History seems to show that drinkers in the past seemed to like the old handled, barrel type glass, which seems to have fallen out of favour in recent times. They are heavy and solid and look the part, but in recent times they have been superceded by other, thinner, glasses without handles, and which are often imported from abroad.

Often beer festivals have half pint handled glasses, screenprinted for the festival and so it was a pleasant change to visit the Star festival last month and be treated to a new style of glass for the occasion. These were Jubilee style; pint glasses, easy to hold, tapering to the heavy base from around 3/4 of the depth of the glass and very easy to hold, partly because of their shape and partly because of their weight. They were screen printed and made a welcome addition to a glass collection full of smaller handled glasses.
I have managed to speak to Graham of 'Festival Glass' who supplied them and he was happy with the outcome, explaining that the style of glass allowed him greater freedom to add all the details he wanted on the outside of the glass, to showcase what he is capable of.

Of course there are many other styles of glass available, a quick look at the 'Festival Glass' website has examples of several. Many of which I had never seen before.

The most common glass I come across is the 'Tulip' style glass, fairly basic and thin, but which increases in width from the base and tapers off towards the top. This allows the drinker to get a decent grip on his pint and the head seems to remain throughout the drink. My observations are that the more they are used and cleaned in the dishwasher, the more the glass seems to dull or scratch.

My favourite style of glass in common usage is the 'Conical' style. Starting from a heavyish base the width of the glass increases consistently to the top of the glass. I find them attractively styled but simple and easy to hold. Many pubs do have some but The Grove's pint glasses are all of this style, and are slightly over-sized so you can see you are getting a full pint for your money. They are also the style used by 'Mallinsons' for their presentation packs and look very stylish with their simple screenprinted logo. (there, you knew I could Mallinsons into this blog somehow!!).

All in all there are loads of different styles of glass to choose from. A trip to a pub selling foreign beer will often produce a different glass for each product, ranging from the wooden based 'Kwak' glass to those produced especially for gueze or fruit beers.

Next time you have a pint, just take a second to think about the glass, after all it is part of your drinking experience.

(Thanks to Graham from Festival Glass for his help with this blog, and the use of his website for information and pictures)

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