Have you recently decided to add beer and wine to the beverage menu of your restaurant? If so, you're probably experiencing a mixture of excitement and nervousness. You're undoubtedly looking forward to having something new and fun to serve to your customers, but you may be unfamiliar with the best ways to serve beer. Many people new to serving beer in a commercial environment make the mistake of thinking that they really only need one type of beer glass, and that might have been true when most places served domestically produced beer with a relatively low alcohol content. However, the world of beer has significantly expanded in recent years, and most establishments like to provide a good selection to their customers to appeal to different tastes, and the standard beer glass doesn't work well for every style of beer.
Following are five types of beer glasses that every well-stocked bar needs to have.
Pint glasses are probably the most widely used beer glass, so you should probably stock two to three times as many of them as specialty beer glasses — but, of course, this will also depend on the types of beer you're planning on serving. Pint glasses typically hold 16 ounces of beer and are best for serving domestic beer and uncomplicated craft ales in. They are not recommended for beers with an alcohol percentage of more than 4 percent. They are sometimes still referred to as "shaker pints" because they were traditionally used to shake cocktails in. At some point, someone got the idea to serve beer in them, and the idea caught on.
Because many current craft beers have such high alcohol contents, serving them in a traditional pint glass would be irresponsible — the average customer would become quickly intoxicated drinking a pint of high-alcohol beer. This type of beer is ideally served in snifter-style glasses that hold between 6 to 8 ounces of beer. They're a little larger than traditionally brandy, and cognac snifters and are generally constructed from thicker glass. Snifters are also a great choice for beers with complex flavor profiles such as Belgian IPA, stouts, and fruit ales.
Tulip glasses provide the same benefits of snifters for aromatic beers — the wide bowl and tapering top provide an excellent drinking experience because they contain aromas and funnel them upward toward the nose. They're great for those beers that are highly aromatic but not so high in alcohol content that they should be served in a snifter, and they're also ideal for serving cider. Tulip glasses are the standard default glass in Belgium.
Pilsner glasses are tall, narrow glasses with a fluted edge that are great for serving light beers such as pilsners and lagers. They generally hold up to 15 or 16 ounces of beer. Their fluted edges help create the kind of thick, foamy head that goes perfectly with light beer, and their narrow, elongated shape shows off the gorgeous golden hues of light beers. Some restaurant and bar owners have chosen to replace pint glasses with pilsner glasses as their default recently, especially those whose beer menus lean heavily toward lighter selections.
If you're planning on offering craft ales in your establishment, you should have a supply of tasting glasses to help facilitate sales. Many customers and appreciate and even expect to be able to taste a craft beer before making a commitment to purchasing a full glass. Some bars and restaurants offer a limited amount of tastes for free, while others charge a small tasting fee. Whichever route you decide to go, serving tastes in classy tasting glasses rather than paper cups will increase the chances of making a sale.
Contact a company like Louis Wohl & Sons Inc for more information on purchasing beer glassware for your restaurant.