On the recent Boak & Bailey tour of Bavaria, we were, as always, dazzled by the cosmetic beauty of every beer we were served. It helps that the beer always has a creamy, frothy head, several inches in height, but most of the impact really comes from the glasses and stoneware it’s served in.
Pils always comes in something delicate – a wine glass shape, or a tall flute. Wheat beer is always served in a towering, elegant… well, vase. Bock or double bock usually comes in something with a stem – like Rastal’s “traditions goblet” pictured above (more on Rastal in a moment). There are al kinds of unwritten rules we British will never understand, I’m sure.
And the glasses themselves… squeaky clean, beautifully designed, and beautifully decorated. I wanted them all, but didn’t really trust myself to get them home.
Most of the glasses we drank from were made by Rastal (who go into some detail about their production process here) or Sahm. Sahm really believe that the shape and design of a glass affects the taste:
The selection of the proper drinking glass is of decisive importance for allowing beer to unfold its own, very individual taste. Whether you choose a goblet, a tumbler or a tankard, the glass always has to match the type of beer on offer.
In most cases, a beer glass is chosen primarily for aesthetic reasons, function tends to take a backseat. In the meantime, studies of the Institute for Brewing Sciences at the Belgian University of Leuven prove, that the tasting impression is reasonably influenced by the glass design.
I think it’s partly that being able to get your nose into the glass helps with tasting, but really, it’s just a mind-game. It just seems that, if the brewery respect it enough to dress it up, then it must be good beer.