This week I will be discussing a glass that has become ubiquitous with pubs, bars and restaurants, the pint glass. There are several names (Nonic, shaker and tumbler) and slight shape differences but they are basically the same glass. Pint glasses are the gold standard of beer glasses for home and commercial use with good reason. They are cheap and can be replaced easily. They are easy to clean and store because of their no-nonsense shapes and. These glasses are sturdy and can take a beating before they break. Most importantly to many beer drinkers, they provide a historical standard for individual beer consumption. With exception of the historical measurement (which isn’t even accurate these days) these glasses have little to do with enhancing the overall drinking experience and more to do with convenience to the establishment’s owner.
Pint glasses are hardly the BEST glass for any beer. True, they fit in the hand nicely and their wide openings facilitate easy drinking, however, the wide openings do nothing to condense the foamy head. A thick and dense head on a beer works as a filter allowing a gradual release of aromatics. The relatively large surface area at the top of pint glass encourages a thin head which allows the aromatics to escape quickly and easily.
Because of their size, only low to mid strength beers should be served in a pint glass. Beers with higher alcohol levels should be consumed in moderation and in smaller serving sizes.