This is a post about beer. Beer! (say it loudly). Beer (in hushed reverence). “Beer” (like someone just asked you what you wanted at the varnished edge of the bar). OK, now that I have your full attention, here’s a snippet of history. Pretend this is pub trivia…
Once upon a time, King Ludwig of Germany married Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen and all the citizens of Munich were invited. There was horse racing, a full choir, greasy fair food, and of course, beer—barrels and barrels and barrels of it. But the festivities didn’t end in 1810. Far from it. In fact, this year at noon sharp on the 22nd of September (after a riotous food-centric parade, naturally), the lord mayor will break open the first keg. With a frothy round and a lusty cry of "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!")—Oktoberfest will be on.
There, not so bad right? OK, now brace yourselves because this is zuper important. Like, set-down-your-mug important. See, it turns out some of us—not naming any names—are drinking our beer from the wrong glass (OK, it’s me). I mean sometimes I’ve even sipped (whispers) directly from the bottle. And it’s time to stop because I’m really missing out. So before you don your lederhosen and spit-shine your stein, let’s top you off with a finger or two and take a brew vessel field trip. Your guide? Luigi Bormioli, the Italian makers of craft glasses so carefully and lovingly designed that they’ve hired an actual beer scientist to approve of each model.
Every piece gets a different shape to allow for simultaneous smelling and tasting, much like a snifter. The glass isn’t your run-of-the-mill stuff either. Even after 4,000 washes it’ll look as sparkly as Cinderella’s slipper. Now look at the bottom: every single model contains tiny etchings that act like little launch pads, sending troops of bubbles to the foamy head. But why don’t we meet the glasses themselves:
Porter: The tall to the dark and handsome of your Stout. This glass boasts a sky-high chimney so you can get deep whiffs of the coffee, chocolate, and toasty malt situation going on inside. Much like a pint glass, the wide rim and thick build give you a full-bodied (and aromatic) swig.
Pilsner: You’d say this one is the casual, no-nonsense type, but its simple straight-up shape knows how to put that amber brew on full display. It also keeps a creamy head of foam on its shoulders so those rather shy citrus flavors get to shine.
Wheat: A wide-set upper build allows fresh air to warm the beer so you can get deep tingly breaths of clove (oh, and all that frothy goodness too). Wait, and what about that deep grain-y, golden-hazed wheatfield scent? This one’s also quite down to earth.
Saison: This back-to-the-future type (see the edgy getup?) has seasonal flair (see the wide top made to show off Oktoberfest flavors?) Since your blackberry or new hops beer is likely to have a skosh more alcohol which can get in the way of aromas, the indentation helps scents stay at the surface.
IPA: The thin build on this one encourages the less-bubbly types to be more effervescent. See that extra-narrow base? It’ll help keep the carbonation party going. It also likes dancing with citrus and hops.
Cider: OK, OK, we know cider isn't a traditional Oktoberfest-goer but it got its own glass too. The curvaceous build allows for for all that sweetness to make a bow (and you'll likely find yourself saying things about vanilla and ginger scents thanks to the spacious bowl).
You’re probably craving a jumbo pretzel with spicy mustard at this point so don’t let us keep you. Just remember the next time someone asks you why your beer stays so perfectly bubble-laden nonchalantly answer, “oh, it’s the FCS—you know, the foam control system?” because that’s what’s happening inside every handcrafted, brew-approved, festival-ready [Luigi Bormioli] glass. Fröhliches Oktoberfest!
What are your most toast-worthy beer drinking tips? Share in the comments below!