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Serving the perfect pint – Glassware

Over the festive season, our resident brewer spent a lot of his holiday trying different beers at different venues. He noticed a number of people (family, friends and pub staff) couldn’t serve a pint of beer correctly. This lead us to write a series of weekly mashes that will talk about ‘serving the perfect pint’.

Our first series will address the importance of glassware. We all know, as soon as the beer hits the glass it’s colour, aroma and taste is altered. Each pint of beer becomes its own experience.


Beer glassware can play a critical factor in just about every sensory aspect of enjoying beer. From the obvious aesthetic enhancement, all the way to foam retention and temperature control. Glassware can completely transform a drinking experience.

There are many different styles of beer, each of which has recommended glassware based on the history and the alcohol content of that beer style. A useful resource for this is the style guide. However, if in doubt use a footed Belgian – style tulip. Glassware should be served beer-clean, free of damage and at the appropriate temperature; they should be served chilled to room temperature but never frozen.

By pouring beer into a clean beer glass it forms a proper head and creates a residual lacing as the beer is consumed.

After cleaning, you can test your glasses for beer-clean status using three different techniques: sheeting, the salt test, and lacing. Let’s review each method:

1. Sheeting Test – Dip the glass in water. If the glass is clean, water evenly coats the glass when lifted out of the water. If the glass still has an invisible film, water will break up into droplets on the inside surface.

2. Salt Test – Salt sprinkled on the interior of a wet glass will adhere evenly to the clean surface, but will not adhere to the parts that still contain a greasy film. Poorly cleaned glasses show an uneven distribution of salt.

3. Lacing Test – Fill the glass with beer. If the glass is clean, the foam will adhere to the inside of the glass in parallel rings after each sip, forming a lacing pattern. If not properly cleaned, the foam will adhere to a random pattern, or may not adhere at all.

See part 2 of serving the perfect pint in the next article!