Glassware and randomness
I took last Monday off last week for Labor Day. Actually, I just totally forgot about blogging until Wednesday. And by that time, I just figured I'd skip it till today. I'm terrible at this.
As far as what I've been doing - building the brewery. I've been working on one of the control panels for the all-electric, 1 barrel, 3 vessel system. Everything is installed, and I'm down to wiring. I've also been doing more evolutionary changes. Putting my pump on a dolly, taking apart and cleaning ball valves, putting a dip tube and valve on the boil kettle, etc. Very soon I'll be adding a plate chiller and getting some chilled glycol going for it. In NC, the ground water temps are too damn high!
So, glassware. Specifically, matching a certain glass to a style of beer. I thought I'd give my two pence - tuppence? I'm trying to use more British lingo to be more pretentious. It's a recurring topic in the beer scene, and I recently read an article in Brew Your Own on the topic.
Generally, my take is, "Fuck it, just enjoy your damn beer." If drinking from a fancy glass adds a little special something for you, then go for it. If you don't care, we are kindred spirits. If you think you need to drink dubbel out of a chalice cause your beer snob buddy told you it would taste better, then I think you need to relax and just enjoy your beer. I've not seen any credible research that convincingly demonstrates that glass X is better than glass Y (not that I've looked very hard), and other factors will dominate any contribution from the glassware. If anything, it may improve your overall experience, simply because it's a fancy glass, not from any properties granted by the shape of the vessel.
I think you should drink from a clean, clear glass, though. Drinking straight from a can or bottle means you miss a lot of the aroma and all of the visual aspects of your beverage. Of course, if you're drinking a BudMillerCoors, then the colour (prententious) and clarity of your beer is probably not foremost in your thoughts. No, I'm talking to my craft beer brethren and sistren on this. Glass is best because you can see through it, easily determine if it's clean (it should be), its thermal properties are well suited to drinking beer, and you can use it as a weapon in a bar fight. More on that later.
Volume is also a consideration. It's one of two main reasons that I use the nonic pint glass (AKA imperial pint) almost exclusively. It is designed to allow for 16 ounces of liquid (you know, a pint ) plus some space for a head. A shaker pint (the straight walled kind) is better suited for pouring a 12 ounce bottle into. And to answer that sneaking suspicion - yes, you are paying for less than an actual pint of liquid. It's the standard, let it go.
You see the nonic pints often in British pubs, and almost exclusively at Desert Edge in Salt Lake City, where I learned most of what I have learned about serving beer. Chris Haas, the brewmaster, prefers the imperial pint for volume and "it fits in your hand." In fact, Haas and I were discussing glassware in the walk in cooler one day (probably cleaning something) and I was discussing the relative merits of the mug. I made the case that it made a superior weapon since one could use it to bludgeon an opponent and probably be safe from cutting your own hand. Haas countered that one could break the end of an imperial pint against the bar and use the jagged edge to "stab them in the throat," and proceeded to mime the action on my throat. Laughter ensued. Haas is a funny guy.
Finally, a couple of the drinking vessels I typically use. When the one imperial pint glass I have is dirty, I will often use one of a set of 4 Atari glasses I got from ThinkGeek. And when I'm working outside - it happens - I use my wooden mug from Goodly Woods. Yes, I prefer glass. Wood is better outside, because I tend to break things.