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Beer Glassware


Brad Ballinger
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Last night, I stopped in at a local wine bar that also has a good beer list. I ordered a bottle of Chimay White Label, and was shocked that it came in a Chimay glass. I asked the bartender how many other beers had their own glassware. He listed off Belgian producers only.

I also remember a business trip to the Netherlands and Belgium a little over a year ago. Everytime I ordered beer, it was served with a glass that featured the name of the beer. I know there's a school of thought that certain beers (like certain wines) are best when served in certain glassware. But in England, where everything comes in the same-shaped pint glass, the name of the beer one orders appears on the glass.

In addition to best showing off the beer, I'm sure it helps the server remember what customers are drinking. I wish we saw more of this -- in the United States (especially with microbrews) and elsewhere.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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It's all about the law, basically.

You probably assume that the place that you were in recieved the glasses from the wholesaler as a promotional item, and that may well be true. But, if it's a law abiding wholesaler, there won't be much else that can be given to them as there is a limit on how much a brewery can do to promote it's product with giveaway items (in fact, one of the most egretious violations of this rule is represented by neon signs-and they get around it by, technically speaking, only loaning them the signs-they remain the property of the brewery). The limit used to be $250.00 a year. That's a few glasses, sure, but when you start adding in coasters, napkins, window signs for events, etc. this adds up pretty fast.

These are Federal laws, by the way. They are know collectively as Tied House Laws and while there are many, many ways to skirt these regs (of course, I myself would have never been involved in any of these shennanigans-but some people just don't know how to follow the rules). They are there for a reason, and while some of them are fairly arcane, they are probably singlehandedly the most important regulation in the US as far as giving someone the ability to start up a winery or a brewery. After all, we would never be able to compete with A-B or Gallo. A-B spends something like half of their money on some kind of advertising and would not hesitate to just flat out buy the business from retailers - as that would be a much more efficient expenditure of their money than advertising to consumers.

In Europe, they don't have these restrictions, and as someone who built and ran a small brewery in Ireland, I can tell you that getting beer into a Freehouse is still a bitch. THey get everything from Guinness for free and just a basic draft set up in a pub can run a couple of hundred bucks. Multiply that out for a few hundred places, and you're talking some real money. On the other hand, the publican gets a much lower investment cost and almost all of his wares, including disposables like ashtrays, bartowels, signage, etc. for free. It works, but you see much less variety, country to country, than you might see in the US in similarly populated areas. There are usually some big breweries and some regional ones, but that's about it. Sure, it's damn good beer, mostly, but the competition is either non existent (due to tied houses-places that sell only one breweries products) or similarly sized.

You asked. Sorry.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Last night, I stopped in at a local wine bar that also has a good beer list.  I ordered a bottle of Chimay White Label, and was shocked that it came in a Chimay glass.  I asked the bartender how many other beers had their own glassware.  He listed off Belgian producers only.

In addition to best showing off the beer, I'm sure it helps the server remember what customers are drinking.  I wish we saw more of this -- in the United States (especially with microbrews) and elsewhere.

I think the laws vary from state to state on what and what isn't allowed as far a brewers and distributors freebies to retailers. In NJ, they outlawed coasters for awhile years ago and, IIRC, when coasters came back, they outlawed branded clocks. (When they prohibited them, many bar owners went down in the basement to find some old coasters rather than have to buy them and it was a field day for collectors- I remember a local bar with "Schaefer Braunlager" coasters (a beer no one even REMEMBERED).

I come across bars that serve beer in the brewers' glass (Old Bay in New Brunswick, where the bartender was always happy to "look the other way" if you really wanted a glass and were a good tipper) but just a frequently, one sees bars that serve any beer in any glass (always annoying to be drinking a Yuengling Lager out of a Bud Light "pint"- "What if someone I know walks in and see me?").

What annoying to me is the ever growing instances of liquor stores SELLING branded glassware that's obviously GIVEN to them by the distributors. And they don't sell 'em cheap, either- usually around $5. Especially common in "good beer" stores in NJ. One would think THAT'D be illegal.

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What annoying to me is the ever growing instances of liquor stores SELLING branded glassware that's obviously GIVEN to them by the distributors.  And they don't sell 'em cheap, either- usually around $5.  Especially common in "good beer" stores in NJ.  One would think THAT'D be illegal.

Actually, while you may be right about some of that branded ware, we used to (Abita Brewing, Abita Springs, LA) sell a ton of that stuff, at actual cost, for eventual resale. Surely they gave away alot of it, especially bars, but generally liquor outlets would sell the stuff-around the holidays a number of these places would buy stuff to put together themed gift baskets which was great for them and great for us-cost free advertising. That stuff is all incredibly expensive when you take it as a whole-even the cheesiest neon is a hundred bucks or so and nice ones, even when purchased by the hundreds, can be much more. Tapmarkers are another things that no one gives much thought to-those things are not cheap-sure AB can absorb it easily, but for small breweries you have to be really careful about what you buy and what you do with it after you get it. I mean, why would you give a dozen t-shirts to a place that doesn't sell anything anyway-even though they bug the crap out of you and threaten to take you out if you don't? They'll all end up in someone's drawer that's a friend of the bartender or the owner and not in the hands of a customer who really wants one.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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In Wisconsin branded beer glasses especially for the German brews are everywhere in taverns, same for Illinois. Stella came in a branded glass and pitcher at one location. Guiness is always served in branded pints. In fact there are so many glass giveaways for home purchase that we have all sorts of branded glasses. -Dick

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  • 2 weeks later...

In my experience (Massachusetts) you may often get the glasses to accompany the beer as part of an initial order. I run a bar and asked for (and recieved) the glasses to match the Chimay, Hoegaarden, Murphy's, and Stella Artois I sell. Some will charge, but you can often make it a condition of carrying the beer. I find that many US micorbrews will make their own glasses, but usually only in the standard pint. A shame, really. Many bars are also not interested in stocking 23 different kinds of glasses just for beer, never mind cocktails, martinis, ect. The standard "one size fits all" approach is quite common.

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Last night, I stopped in at a local wine bar that also has a good beer list.  I ordered a bottle of Chimay White Label, and was shocked that it came in a Chimay glass.  I asked the bartender how many other beers had their own glassware.  He listed off Belgian producers only.

I also remember a business trip to the Netherlands and Belgium a little over a year ago.  Everytime I ordered beer, it was served with a glass that featured the name of the beer.  I know there's a school of thought that certain beers (like certain wines) are best when served in certain glassware.  But in England, where everything comes in the same-shaped pint glass, the name of the beer one orders appears on the glass.

In addition to best showing off the beer, I'm sure it helps the server remember what customers are drinking.  I wish we saw more of this -- in the United States (especially with microbrews) and elsewhere.

There's a favorite restaurant--"Restaurant 121" --near my country home in Putnam County

(New York) that seems to serve every one of its beers and ales in a branded glass.

Everything from Guiness to Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams and Anchor Steam to local small producers.

(I had a great ale-- Captain something or other that is brewed in Pleasantville NY recently in a branded glass).

When I commented on the branded glass --my waiter told me that the restaurant manager was a "fanatic" about serving beer and als this way. He is a good friend of mine and I will make a point of discussing this with him when we go there this weekend.

Edited by JohnL (log)
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  • 1 month later...

In the PNW it is pretty common for the bar to serve in branded pint glass. Although often the beer they serve you may or may not be the same brand as the brand on the glass. Also, it seems to be popular for each bar to have their name on one side of the glass and the name of the beer on the other.

If the bar has an interesting glass, I ask them if they will sell me one and they always do. I have a fairly large collection of pint glasses I've bought that way.

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Interesting.

Still, my favorite glass for beer is a wine glass.  I like the glass to be thin.  Pints are OK, but I really do dislike mugs.

Why's that? The thicker glass holds the temperature better. Mugs are a little heavy and unwieldy though; I like pints as well.

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Interesting.

Still, my favorite glass for beer is a wine glass.  I like the glass to be thin.  Pints are OK, but I really do dislike mugs.

Why's that? The thicker glass holds the temperature better. Mugs are a little heavy and unwieldy though; I like pints as well.

I don't know... never thought about the why before, but you got me to think about it, so that's a good thing.

It feels good to my lips is the first thing I think, and beyond that... I think thin glass showcases the taste of the beer. If I'm really into tasting it, similarly to wine, it can be swirled and smelled and all that better than it can in a mug. I don't like the thickness of a mug.

I don't try hard to keep a beer cold. Very cold beer can mask the taste, although I do like it a bit colder than many beer enthusiasts.

Then there is the visual appeal, of course. A thin glass looks prettier -- shows the beer's color and its looks, whereas a thick glass or a mug hides the beauty. ...Aesthetics, and it seems more elegant, and more conducive to savoring.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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One of my very dear friends, and main partner-in-crime to tell you the truth, is of German-American heritage. All it will take is a good two minutes with him to truly appreciate the value of a good solid hunk of glass in your hand :wink: To this day, even when I'm alone, I can't imagine consuming a good Helles lager in anything but a seidel (mug). I'd say that anything else would seem a bit 'nancy-boy', but then again my mugs happen to be a set of Tiffany beer mugs that I got as a wedding present so I guess we won't go there. I'm still willing to clink the hell out of them, that's for sure, and they really are some heavy sonofabitches.

My bottom line is 'if you got it, use it'. Glassware can definitely make a difference with beer, but I wouldn't sweat it too much if you don't have each of the major types of glass. I happen to love stems myself and I find that they are tremendously versatile as a beer consumption vehicle; if I had to choose only one all-purpose glass it would be the 'tulip'. But that's not where I find myself- I have 'em, so I use 'em.

If you really wanted to branch out into a more complete collection, though, I don't think you'd really need more than six glasses (tulip, imperial pint, mug, weizen, pils (pokal), and snifter)...make that seven if you like Kolsch because they really can't be beat from a stange. That really isn't so much, and, yeah, I'm including the mug in there. Just don't put it in the freezer :angry: ...

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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Just don't put it in the freezer  :angry: ...

Agreed!

You know I certainly would drink a beer from a seidel / mug if I were with your friend, would listen to his pitch, and be in keeping with a tradition. :cool:

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Just don't put it in the freezer  :angry: ...

Agreed!

You know I certainly would drink a beer from a seidel / mug if I were with your friend, would listen to his pitch, and be in keeping with a tradition. :cool:

Just make sure you're sitting at a sturdy table or bar, because slamming the mug down is a big part of the fun, and it's also the one part that you can do by yourself :hmmm: (Something about giving thanks to the thing that will not only hold your beer for you but will also hold you if need be, not that that sort of thing applies to me, mind you...)

Here's something from the "why didn't I think of that file" in regards to those frozen mugs (I'll credit this to Garrett Oliver who posted the idea on another message board):

If you are in an establishment that practices this custom and the bartender is reluctant to give the mug a rinse to bring it up to room temperature, just request that your beer be served in an oversized wine glass. Or you could just bypass the whole process and get the wine glass from the start.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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.......Or you could just bypass the whole process and get the wine glass from the start.

That's exactly what I do. :biggrin: I look around to see what it's being served in and if it's a mug, ask for a wine glass. The responses are interesting. Of course we're talking bar bars here, not beer bars. Some are thrown, and some say "cool!"

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mexico is very much a "tied house" country. The bar and/or beer store will either carry Groupo Modelo products or FEMSA** products, because, usually, that's who owns the place. (It's illegal for brewers and distillers to own bars in America. Guinness built a pub in Tempe, Arizona, then found out and had to change the name and ownership, but of course its being an Irish bar means they're still covering several of the taps. They're just not making a profit on the boxty.) So you have to plan your cerveza crawl carefully if you have a preference.

* - Corona, Modelo, Pacifico, et al

** - Tecate, Dos Equis, Carta Blanca, et al (interestingly, they also brew Coors Light for the Mexican market)

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Mugs, especially mugs in freezers are for root beer not beer. :biggrin:

If you want a branded glass to match with your drink your odds are greatly enhanced if you order Guinness. :laugh: They seem to get their brand out there ubiquitously. So does Sam Adams.

Davydd

It is just an Anglicized Welsh spelling for David to celebrate my English/Welsh ancestry. The Welsh have no "v" in their alphabet or it would be spelled Dafydd.

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I lived in Germany (1992-1993), I remember a few beers being served in labeled glasses, particularly Bitburger. I wish I had half a mind to collect some glasses. Instead, we were more into the cardboard coasters.

<a href='http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal' target='_blank'>ZenKimchi Korean Food Journal</a> - The longest running Korean food blog

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heh, on frozen mugs, if im forced to drink any macro lager id rather have it in a nice frosty glass so that i dont notice how bad it is...give me any decent beer and by all means a cold rinsed glass is perfect.

One of the best beer experiences i had was in montreal at this great bar where they served everything in the branded glasses, i orded a hoegaarden and it came in the huge 22oz hoegaarden glass. Oh man i love that glass, you feel like a viking or something when you drink out of it, the glass alone must weigh 2lbs.

http://www.globalbeer.com/Merchant2/mercha...Product_Count=4

http://www.globalbeer.com/Merchant2/mercha...&Store_Code=GBN

this place has a great selection of beer glasses, check out their beer glass sets too.

enjoy

Brendan

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  • 1 month later...
In the PNW it is pretty common for the bar to serve in branded pint glass.  Although often the beer they serve you may or may not be the same brand as the brand on the glass.  Also, it seems to be popular for each bar to have their name on one side of the glass and the name of the beer on the other. 

If the bar has an interesting glass, I ask them if they will sell me one and they always do.  I have a fairly large collection of pint glasses I've bought that way.

True 'nuff. :blink: Please, no.more! :raz:

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Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

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  • 1 month later...

Here in BC, Canada, we have strict laws about what breweries can give away - sort of. You're not supposed to give away any beer at all, anytime. There is a dollar limit on other promotions, including "low-cost" items like glasses, but they can easily be circumvented by writing a formal agreement between publican and brewer that says that in return for buying X amount of beer, the brewery will supply X free stuff. Weirdly, this is legal, although just handing out glasses or t-shirts is not legal. As a result, big breweries, who buy their glassware by the thousand, pay pennies for it and can afford to give it away to pubs as a "low-cost" item - small breweries, who may splurge on a pallet-load at a time, pay more like $5 a glass, and giving them away gets pretty expensive, pretty fast.

That said, I love branded glassware, and have a handy stock of it at home from my favourite breweries.

I too appreciate a stemmed glass for beer, as well as a traditional thin-walled british pint. Not iced! Oh Please NO!!!! Can't stand mugs - the lip-feel sucks, I always wind up with beer on my nose, and I can't see the beer properly. If your beer is getting warm before you finish the glass, get a half-pint instead (or drink faster). I know it looks girly, but who really cares as long as the beer is great?

Finally, I want to know if I'm the only one out there who always winds up with foam on my nose. I really really like the smell of hops and malt, but apparently I have poor depth perception. Particularly embarrassing when conducting a tasting class!

farming, brewing, drinking, eating: the best things in life.

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Finally, I want to know if I'm the only one out there who always winds up with foam on my nose. I really really like the smell of hops and malt, but apparently I have poor depth perception. Particularly embarrassing when conducting a tasting class!

[Pee Wee Herman Voice] I meant to do that [/PWHV] :biggrin:

On your nose, or In? Cuz I've actually done the letter a few times and probably will do it again. I'd say that it comes with the territory, so you're definitely not alone.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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