glassware

Why you should drink craft beer from a glass

craft beer pouring in to a glass

Imagine this - It’s a hot day. You’re thirsty. You crack open a bottle of your favourite craft beer. The satisfying whoosh as the cap releases. The refreshing cool of the droplets glistening on the outside of the bottle. You bring it to your lips, tilt the bottle, and….

Wait, stop right there.

If you want to get the most out of your craft beer, please, please, please, don’t drink it straight out of the bottle. If you take the time to pour your beer into a glass, and to pour it properly, you’ll maximise your beer drinking experience.

Why? Well, the taste of a beer is only part of the enjoyment. We drink with all our senses. First our eyes, our noses, then our tastebuds. Even our ears come into play.

By pouring your craft beer into a glass first of all you’ll be able to appreciate the colour and clarity of the beer. Brewers have put a lot of thought into these aspects of a beer. It allows you to ask yourself questions – is this true to style, or is it not what you were anticipating. Is the colour what you were expecting?  Excellent examples of some beer styles are particularly recognised for being pristine and clear e.g. a pilsner, others are deliberately hazy e.g. an East Coast IPA. Either way you’ll want to get the full appreciation.

craft beer glass

By taking time to look closely you’ll also get some clues as to how the beer might taste. The texture and thickness of the head suggest how creamy the beer might be. The amount and vigour of visible bubbles will hint at the level of carbonation.

Turns out the bubbles are super important. The tiny bubbles are all releasing little puffs of delicious aromas from the hops and malts. Essential to the whole experience of tasting. The act of pouring also breaks up some of the carbon dioxide in the beer making it easier on your tummy. Yep, that’s right. If you drink straight out of the bottle the carbon dioxide will be released in your stomach. The result is that bloated feeling you can sometimes experience.

And last, but not least, just like your mother told you, it’s just good manners to use a glass!

IPA secrets...uncovered!

IPA. India Pale Ale. It’s the favourite style on every craft beer lover’s list. Ever wondered more about exactly what an IPA is? Or, are you already one of the style’s devoted followers?

We’ve put together a list of fascinating facts about this ever-changing style with its characteristic bitterness, fascinating flavour possibilities, and awesome aromas.

hops for craft beer

1.     With an IPA its all about the hops. These magic green bullets are responsible for the making IPAs bitter and refreshing, produce the distinctive range of citrusy aromas, and make for interesting, and seemingly endless, fruity, flavour combinations.

2.     There is some dispute, and many stories, about how and why the IPA was invented. Indeed the development of the style reads like an international geography lesson – IPAs originated in England, for shipping to India, then to be reinvented and perfected on the West Coast of America.

The most popular theory is that when English brewers tried shipping their pale ales to troops stationed in India the beers did not survive the long, hot, and refrigeration-free trip. What the brewers needed was a preservative. So brewers added more hops. The beers not only lasted the journey, but tasted amazing as well.

3.     The almost cult-like obsession with IPAs makes it the most popular selling style of craft beer in the US at around eight per cent of sales. In New Zealand IPAs are the favourite of both professional judges, and drinkers alike. IPAs consistently win the top awards in craft beer competitions, and head up the lists of most highly-rated beers on forums such as Untappd and RateBeer.

4.     The IPA is so popular there is even a day dedicated to the style! The first Thursday in August is IPA day. Mark it in your calendar.

5.     IPAs are best served at between 10 and 13 degrees Celsius. Achieve this by leaving a bottle out of the fridge for a few minutes before consuming. If you can that is!

And don’t forget to serve in a specially designed IPA glass. Yep, you read that correctly. A team of beer and glass-making experts have teamed up to create a glass that enhances the aromas of IPA styled beers, complete with a wider opening so the drinker can “nose” the beer easily.

6.     This is the style brewers most like to experiment with. Complex and varied taste profiles are possible by mixing up the ingredients, and working that interplay between malt and hops. Brewers have also been known to add all sorts of additional ingredients to IPAs – everything from grapefruit and spices, to lychees and jalapenos!

IPA craft beer in a glass

7.     But mostly brewers, and beer lovers alike, like to experiment with hops. In fact, a whole new beer style was invented out of the quest for hoppier, stronger, more bitter, higher alcohol, and more aromatic IPAs. Pushing the boundaries has brought us the imperial, or double, IPA. High in hops, taste, and alcohol this style is not for the faint-hearted. If you are new to craft beer, it might take a while for your taste buds to deeply appreciate a truly bracing double IPA.

8.    That’s, right – the taste of an IPA is an acquired one. Bitterness is not a taste that we are hard-wired to like. From childhood we all love the taste of sweet, but you need to learn to like bitter. You need to give your taste buds time to recalibrate that bitter does not always equal bad.

9.      Kiwi brewers like experimenting with New Zealand grown hops, as well as the more traditional varieties from the Yakima region of America. So is this a new style – the NZPA? I’ll leave that up to you...

10.  IPAs work well when paired with strong, spicy foods. It is the classic for enjoying with a curry. Be warned though as the bitterness of hops tend to accentuate the chilli-ness of, well, chillies. You can also use the bitterness of an IPA to balance rich foods. Think bar snacks, fries, and burgers.

Four steps to the perfect pour

Craft Beer Glasses

1.     The glass. Always start with a clean glass. Wash it in warm soapy water, then make sure you rinse thoroughly to remove any traces of detergent. A room temperature glass is best. Too hot and the beer can go flat; too cold and ice crystals form and make the beer foam up. Either way you risk making the beer taste bland. After all the hard work your brewers have gone to to create layers of subtle flavours you want to make sure you can enjoy every aspect.

Craft Beer Pour

2.     The initial pour. Hold your glass at about a 45 degree angle. Then pour the beer down the side of the glass aiming at the point halfway between the bottom of the glass the the rim.

3.     The tilt. When the glass is about half full tilt the glass upright. Keep pouring into the middle of the glass. This part is very important to create a good head on the beer. Depending on the style of beer you are aiming for a head of 2-4 cm. Find out more about why head (or foam as the Americans say) is good.

craft beer glasses in hands

4.  The drink.

Time to enjoy!

Cheers!