Men invented beer. Immediately after, they began to discuss how to drink it. Thousands and thousands years past, a definitive conclusion has not been reached yet, anyway we can say there exists a quite common opinion on how to adapt the shape of the glass to the characteristics of the beer. This has led to a wide categorization of glassware and the beer-style they best exalt, very well described, for example, on the glassware section of Beeradvocate.com. But, of course, there are countless variations.
While at RateBeer.com, they do not care too much of the size and shape of the glass, and just advise to escape the famous American shaker pint glass, as it works bad – they say – no matter which kind of beer you pour into it, at the Beeradvocate side thought is quite divergent: beer must be respected, presentation of beer is a scientific matter.
The theory is simple stated: since (fortunately) you cannot find, as for men and women and many other human accidents, two identical beers all over the world, and then each beer has its more or less appreciable taste, each beer also should have its unique glass.
If you consider what incredibly variety of beer glasses inhabits the earth and, on converse, the incredibly variety of people searching and collecting them, you are really tempted to believe this theory. Belgian brewers are firmly persuaded that each of their excellent beers deserves its own specific glass. Beer glassware is a matter discussed no less than beer tasting and beer making.
But which factors enter in the engineering of a beer glass? First of all, functionality. And, first of all again, aesthetics. Of course: a good beer glass should be conceived to exalt the taste of a specific beer. For example, a rich aromatic beer will benefit by a tulip glass, helping to trap the flavour and creating and maintaining large head. You can take it to the mouth by the stem, so that your hand does not alter the temperature of beer. And a pilsner glass will showcase the colour and the clarity of your pilsner. In 2007 the Boston Beer Company wanted to create the perfect glass for the Sam Adam Boston Lager. They worked hard to find out the right shape that could improve the experience of drinking a Sam Adam, with a look to the marketing side of the operation and disregarding the aesthetics, as it can be clearly seen. Just to have an idea of how seriously the engineers attended their mission: Sam Adams glass has the bottom etched to guarantee a constant release of bubbles!
Just to contradict the “one style – one glass” principle, in 2006 two Italian beer experts teamed to design the first universal beer tasting glass. Intended to put in evidence the characteristics of every type of beer, the glass was called TEKU, from the first syllables of the names of its creators (Teo Musso and Kuaska) and it is now produced by Rastal, a German glassware company.