You might think, what is the big deal about Belgian beer glasses? Well, think again. Belgium has a rich and strong beer culture. The Belgian beer culture has even been recognized as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. So Belgians might frown if the beer is poured in the wrong glass. Different glasses are made to bring out the specific aromas and beer flavours.
In case you do not know the Belgian beer culture well, here is a guide to Belgian beer glasses. Following these rules will only make the beer taste better!
In this guide to beer glasses, we will cover the following:
- How does beer glass shape influence drinking beer?
- Standard beer glasses
- Unique beer glasses
How does beer glass shape influence drinking beer?
Let’s be honest, the shape of the beer glass is not going to change your beer tasting experience completely. Still, if you pay attention, you will notice the difference.
The beer glass influences the beer flavour
The shape of the glass affects how the beer pours into your mouth. Depending on the shape, the beer will go straight to the bottom or to the front of your mouth. Taste sensors are located in different parts of the mouth. For instance, if the beer goes straight to the front of the mouth, the beer drinker can notice the acidity better.
The beer glass influences the beer aroma
The aroma is what the beer glass has the biggest influence on. The shape can hold the beer aromas in. It can make the aromas stronger or smoother.
The beer glass influences the beer foam
The beer glass has an impact on the texture and composition of the foam. It can help to avoid having an excess of foam.
The beer glass influence the bubbles
For some beers, it is important to keep carbon dioxide saturation longer for better taste. For example, this is the case for pilsners. Beers that are naturally very fizzy, the bubbles can cover the beer flavour. In this case, it is better to let the bubbles escape. For instance, Orval beer needs a glass that can quickly lower the fizziness, so we can better appreciate the taste and aroma.
The beer glass influences the beer temperature
Lastly, you probably have noticed that beer taste changes when it gets warm. Thus, the glass is important for controlling the temperature. In this case, it is more the type of glass, not the shape, that can protect the beer from the temperature of your hand.
Standard beer glasses
Goblets and chalices
Goblets and chalices are the ultimate beer glasses for drinking Abbaye or Trappist beers. This shape makes the foam disappear quickly so the drinker can better enjoy the taste. The chalice beer glasses are usually heavy and thick and used for drinking double, triple and sometimes even quadruple beers. Trappist beers like Orval, Westmalle and Chimay all have this style of glasses with their name.
The tulip beer glass
The tulip beer glass was made popular by Duvel, whose brewers were one of the first in Belgium to use a glass like that. It is a round-shaped glass with a wider opening. This shape allows the beer to keep its foam and locks in all the aromas and flavours.
The flute beer glass
The flute is a long beer glass designed for highly carbonated beers. It is perfect for serving lambics, gueuzes, german lagers or flanders oud bruin beers. Champagne glasses were an inspiration for creating the flute beer glass.
The Teku beer glass
Teku is quite a different beer glass and looks more like wine could be served in it. The reason is that it was designed for beer tasting by an Italian. The name comes after the nickname of the designer. So if you go for a proper beer tasting, you can notice Teku beer glasses that are all about perceiving aromas and flavours.
Unique beer glasses
While some beer glasses look classy and make sense, then others make you wonder. Here are some bizarre-looking beer glasses that you might have seen around.
Boot shaped beer glass
This boot-shaped beer glass is called "Das Boot" in German. There are several stories around the glass, but no one is exactly sure about the origin story. We do know it comes from Germany. It is a glass that you can bring out during Oktoberfest to fit in a pint of beer.
Hourglass-shaped beer glass, Kwak
This beer glass has an amusing origin story. It is said that a man named Pauwel Kwak invented the beer glass. Pauwel felt sorry for all the coachmen who had to stay with their coaches to watch the horses and luggage during a stop while the clients could enjoy themselves. Thus, Pauwel came up with a glass with wooden support that helps the coachmen not spill the drink. Then the coachmen could enjoy a drink while waiting in the coach.
Horn shaped beer glass
The horn-shaped beer glass has a dark history. It is said that during the thirty years of war, a hundred villagers were hanged in a horn-shaped forest. They were mistaken to be French. One of them was a brilliant beer brewer, who buried the recipe under a tree before being hanged. Following the story, a horn-shaped beer glass was created that serves a few selected beers.
Do you have a favourite beer glass?