Today we’re continuing on the Cicerone Certified Beer Server series and taking a look at Glassware used for beer. You might remember this post I made earlier on glassware. While useful, the information in this post is related directly to the Certified Beer Server test, so there’s definitely new information here. I do recommend reviewing the older post, however, since it gives detailed information on what beer matches what glass.
Without any more introduction, let’s check it out.
1. Select appropriate glassware
The first step is selecting the right glass for your beer. Every style of beer has a glass that is perfect for it. There are three key points when talking about selecting the correct glass.
- Size – The size of the glass is the first indicator. It wouldn’t be wise to place a 10% barleywine in a dimpled mug that holds 24 ounces, the same as placing a hefeweizen into a snifter. Whatever size you use, make sure to provide room for 1-inch head along with the liquid.
- Shape – The shape of the glass is very important. Some beers work better with a shape glass that holds aroma in, while others do best with a shape that aids in head retention. For example, a goblet is great for a Belgian strong dark ale or a tripel due to their ability to maintain a solid head. A snifter is best used for Barleywines, Scotch ales, and imperial stouts due to it’s ability to capture and enhance volatiles. Taste, aroma, and overall presentation are all reasons to use the correctly shaped glass.
- Brand – Many breweries produce special glassware to match up with their beers. These not only have a matching logo, but many have been designed to perfectly match up with their own unique beers. Whenever possible, use the correct branded glass with a beer. Above this reason, it’s a matter of advertising and overall presentation in a bar setting, which breweries are big fans of. It also lets others know what your customer is drinking.
2. Use Beer-Clean Glassware
When serving a beer, one of the most important steps is using a clean glass, and not only a clean glass, but a beer-clean glass. Using a clean glass is crucial to protect the qualities of the beer being poured into it. A beer-clean glass can be achieved by following a few simple steps. These must be done every time, for every glass.
A. Glass Cleaning Procedure
Use this 6-step procedure when cleaning every glass.
- Empty It – First, starting with a used glass, pour the remaining contents into an empty drain. This helps keep your wash water as clean as possible.
- Scrub It – Once the glass is empty, wash it in a sink filled with warm water and a low-foaming soap. Use a nylon brush or a mechanical brush washer to thoroughly scrub the inside of the glass while submerged.
- Rinse It – When the scrubbing is complete, rinse the glass in a sink with fresh, clean water that is continuously flowing. This removes the soapy residue from the previous step. For best results, submerge the glass with the heel end in first, and remove it with the heel end out first. This promises proper rinsing.
- Sanitize It – After this rinse is complete, rinse the glass in a sink containing a sanitizer mixture and warm water. Use the same heel in, heel out method from the last step.
- Dry It – Once the glass is fully rinsed, let it air-dry on a drying rack that allows air to circulate. Never use a towel to dry a glass, and don’t store glasses on a flat surface, as this inhibits drying.
- Before serving a beer, rinse the glass with clean, cold water to prepare it for a fresh beer.
B. Checking Glass For Beer-Clean.
You should spot-check your glassware to make sure the cleaning procedure is being done correctly and that all glassware is beer-clean. Use these steps to check glassware for beer-clean status. In the picture to the right, the correct glass is on the left, the incorrect is on the right.
Without using any beer, first dunk a glass completely in clean water, heel first, and empty the glass. Notice how the water drains off of the glass’s surface. It should shed off the glass surface evenly and not drip. When a beer glass is truly clean, it will dry crystal-clear since there is nothing in the glass to leave marks.
The salt test is the second way to test a glass for beer-clean status. Dunk the glass into clean water with the heel first. Empty the glass, and sprinkle salt inside the glass. You should notice the salt clinging evenly inside the glass. If there is an area that has residue, the salt will not adhere. If there are any spots where salt did not stick to, the glass is not fully clean.
The third technique for testing if a glass is beer-clean is called the lacing test. Fill a glass with beer. A good, solid foam head should form and last a reasonable amount of time. Also, notice that the foam should adhere to the inside of a glass in a series of rings inside the glass as sips are taken. If the foam adheres in a random pattern or not at all, it is not beer-clean.
C. Preparation To Serve
When preparing the glass to serve a beer, once it is beer-clean, the next important item to consider is glass temperature. The best option here is room temperature. A glass can be slightly chilled, but this should never be necessary. It is never recommended to use a frozen or frosted glass. These cause too much foaming, and chill the beer past it’s optimal drinking temperature. Both of these cause a less than optimal drinking experience, as well as cause waste for the bar due to over-foaming.
As mentioned above, a glass should be rinsed in clean, cold water before filling. This give one last rinse to the glass to make sure it is beer-clean, since you can test the water sheeting before filling it. This also prepares the glass for the perfect amount of foam head, as it keeps over-foaming to a minimum.
That’s it! This wraps up the next section on the Cicerone Certified Beer Server exam. Make sure to read through this more than once if you are indeed studying for the exam.
Until next time,