When I started down this Stout road, my preferred glass of choice was a frosted pint glass. I liked my beer cold because that’s what I always was told and frankly, that always how it was served. The colder the better and having a frosted glass was even better.
Fast forward to the present and I know so much more….and so does everyone else. Stouts should be savored and sipped at around 50-55 degrees F. – unless the brewer specifically calls out something different (one example are Nitro Stouts, which are recommended to be served cold (40 degrees)). Unfortunately, most bars and restaurants serve their beer cold no matter the style, so many Stout lovers order two beers at a time, warming the first one up by cupping their hands around the glass and allowing the second to warm naturally. Colder temps hide some of the wonderful flavors that Stouts can have and having the different flavors emerge as the Stout warms is a wonderful thing to experience. One of the areas that is getting more attention is the actual type of glassware to aid in bringing out the aroma and flavors of a given style of beer. Rogue and Left Hand Brewing actually collaborated with Spiegelau to develop a Stout glass which enables the optimal release of flavors, the ability to warm the Stout through human hand warmth and thin glass walls, and a wide opening for the aromas to escape.
Another trend is for breweries to release branded glassware to enhance their marketing reach as well as to match the glass style to optimize the taste experience. Many brewers sell Tulip glasses or Teku glasses for Stouts. Many also are selling limited edition glassware for special Stout releases…..and many are buying them! There are trading forums on Facebook, Reddit, Beer Advocate, and elsewhere dedicated to trading and selling glassware!! As you can tell from some of my Instagram or Twitter posts (@stoutwhisperer for both), I’m a novice Stout glassware guy. I’ve bought some, I’ve traded for some, I’ve been given some. Some limited, some widely available. Below are some examples of my glassware along with their partner beverage! My rule, as silly as it may be, is that only the named Stout can be poured into a branded glass – that is, only Founder’s KBS can go into a KBS glass, Goose Island Bourbon County can only go into a Bourbon County glass, etc.
I’ve even become the proud owner of a pair of Stoutwhisperer Stout glasses thanks to Mrs. Stoutwhisperer. They have become my go to Stout glasses and you’ll see them in many of my Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest pictures. Many other posters like to show off their glassware as well – you can usually tell when they use #properglassware as a tag.
Collecting Stout glassware is a fun and relatively inexpensive partner hobby to collecting, tasting, reviewing, and writing about Stouts!
Now that you have some nice Stout glasses, you need to make sure you care for them and keep them clean. They are usually very fragile, as their walls are intentionally thin so your hands can warm the liquid which as noted above, brings the flavors and aromas out and greatly enhances the taste of your Stout! I highly recommend hand washing and air drying them. It’s also important to insure they are clean, otherwise you’ll see the dreaded air bubbles sticking to the side of the glass – see the examples below. Bubbles stick to the side of the glass when there are small particles on the glass….which means it’s a dirty glass! There is nothing worse than posting a picture online and have a poster point out your dirty glass! I speak from experience….
To insure a clean glass, I get some hot water, add a drop of Dawn dishwashing liquid in the glass, and use a bottle/glass washer to clean the glass an hour or so before using it. That’s also when I usually take my Stout of choice out of the cooler or fridge so it can start to warm up. If you are out and about, good bars and restaurants usually have a water spray near the taps so they can give their glasses a quick upside down spray to insure a nice clean and cool glass and to insure the best tasting experience for their beers.
To sum up – keep your glass clean, your Stouts at 50-55 (unless specifically called out by the brewer), use a Stout appropriate glass, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to have a great tasting experience and have a much better journey down Stout Street!
Until next time – Cheers!