The History of the Beer Glass

beer glass

beer glass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is well known that beer has been with mankind for a long time. As beer itself changed, expanded, and improved, so did the way in which we actually got the beer to our mouths. The earlier vessels man used for drinking included earthenware, pottery, carved out wood, and even sewn-together pieces of leather. As time went on, man saw small improvements in the quality of their beer glasses. Early Europeans living during the time of the Bubonic plague saw the creation of beer steins, which had an enclosed top on the steins to keep flies from landing in the brew and getting the person sick.

The development of glass may have been the most important aspect of the way beer glasses are made today. As beer glasses became more and more popular, consumers could actually see what they were drinking and demanded a lighter and more appealing look as well as taste. This led to the filtration of beers; people no longer wanted the coarse chunks that were often found in the earlier beers of the breweries. With this new, more aesthetically pleasing wave of beer glasses, it seemed like beer steins were on the way out.

The development of glassware continued and produced a variety of beer glasses for all kinds of different beers. The most popular in the United States is the 16-ounce pint glass. It was originally used to fit the top of a Martini shaker, but bartenders soon found that as the brew flowed out of the beer taps the pint glass was the perfect vessel because it allowed for some of the carbonation to be released and allowed the aroma of the beer to be more pronounced. It is also favored for its storage capabilities; pint glasses can be stacked on top of each other and stored easily upright on shelves, quickly making them a favorite with the bartenders who ended up having to wash out each glass.

A drive to get people to buy their brand of beer by earlier breweries led to some unique and groundbreaking moves on the marketing and promotional front. Early breweries were often prohibited to give away beer or other rewards to their customers, but found that giving away beer glasses was a great way to reward customers and also to advertise for themselves. This led to the breweries producing beer glasses that were works of art unto themselves. The first were ornate and expensive; they would often have gold or silver embossed on the sides. Eventually, artists for the breweries began doing detailed etchings on the sides of the glasses or steins and even developed a method of firing enamel paint onto the beer glasses. These enameled glasses remain some of the most rare beer collectibles, even though they were made more recently than the others. Today, some of the beer collectibles and signs are worth thousands of dollars and sought out worldwide by eager collectors. Have you looked up in the top of Grandpa’s old drawer lately?

Discovering Microbrews


Image via Wikipedia

Brewed on every continent around the world and enjoyed in every nation, beer can quench every type of thirst and go down as easily as spring water to thick, heady concoctions that resemble that of the thickest oatmeal.

Just as the gourmet blends have conquered a large portion of the coffee business, handcrafted brews continue to keep a firm hold on the most serious of beer drinkers.  There are hundreds of thousands of brews out there, which are sure to please everyone.

When it comes to the gourmet types of microbrews, there are some things to keep in mind.  If you are new to microbrews and gourmet types, you’ll find the tips below to be very beneficial.

Start light

When you go to a pub or just out to drink, you should start off light with a basic lager, pilsner, or wheat beer.  After that, you can work your way towards the full flavored beers, such as porters and Oktoberfest beers.  These can be very potent, especially for those who don’t really drink that much.

Starting light is also good for your overall tolerance, as drinking light will prepare you for the more potent drinks.  This way, you can enjoy plenty of microbrews without having to worry about stopping too early.

The ideal way to try new types of beer is to pay a visit to a local brewpub.  Many of these small brewery/restaurants will offer samplers, which feature small glasses with four to five of their most popular beers.

This way, you can experience a variety of beer tastes without having to spend a lot of money. Once you have tried a couple of the beers, you’ll know what to order.

Dark beers
If you are a casual beer drinker or can handle your alcohol tolerance, you shouldn’t be afraid in the least to try dark beers.  The dark color doesn’t mean that the beer is heavier or contains more calories, it simply means that the malt in the beer is roasted longer or roasted to a  darker color than others.

Small business
Small businesses and small businessmen are yet another reason to get into microbrewed beer other than the taste.  Local microbrew producers brew their beers in small batches, so you’ll be helping to keep the business afloat, rather than supporting the large giants of the industry.

When you know that your money is going to help the little people, you’ll normally find the brew to go down much smoother.  Small microbreweries need all the help they can get to continue brewing, which is reason enough to support them.  You’ll get a great beer for your money – and you’ll be supporting those that actually need your help.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Alaskan Brewing Company

Alaskan Brewing Company

Image by supafly via Flickr

The Alaskan Brewing Company is the oldest operatingbrewery in Alaska, with their amber beer being their most popular brand.  They produce two other brands as well, pale ale and Alaskan Frontier Amber.  If you enjoy fresh amber beer,  Alaskan brewing is what you want.

As you may already know, brewing beer in Alaska is very hard to do.  The coastal community of Juneau doesn’t have road connections to the lower 48 states, so everything arrives and leaves by water or air,with weather always having the final say.

In 1986, the Alaskan brewing company became the 67th brewery to operate in the United States and the only one to operate in Alaska.  Since that time, the brewery has received more than 30 major medals and awards, including the best beer in the nation award during the 1988 Great American Beer Festival.

The popularity of their beers has led to a great deal of effort to keep up with the demand from consumers.  They also hold the unofficial record for the production on a 10 barrel brewing system, which produces an amazing 42 batches a week.
The Alaskan Brewery offers several different stylesof brew as well, which are listed below:

1.  Amber – This is the company’s flagship  beer, based on a turn of the century recipe that was used to quench the thirst of the miners during the Gold Rush era.  It provides a smooth, malty, rich taste that goes well with meals – or friends.

2.  Pale – Pale is fresh, crisp, and inviting.  Alaskan Pale is great with crab, pawns, and salads.  The floral aroma of the hops is derived from dry hopping the tanks during the entire fermentation process.

3.  Stout – The oatmeal style beer of stout doesn’t have the harshness of other stouts.  Great with chocolate and hearty meals,  stout is also ideal to enjoy while walking in the snow.

4.  ESB – If you like hops, the infusion of hops in this  will amaze your nose while the refreshing cascade will provide a wonderful crispness to both the flavor and the finish.  This beer is great with spicy food, wild game, and other wintery food.

5.  Smoked porter – Very exclusive, Alaskan smoked porter has a world class reputation for its excellence.  Brewed in the fall, this beer is ideal for storing in the cellar for later enjoyment.

6.  Winter ale – This tender brew of spruce trees has been used for brewing in Alaska since the late 1700s.

What’s in My Beer?

Föroya Bjór, Faroe Islands: Water, malt and hop

Image via Wikipedia

The main ingredients found in beer are water, malted barley, hops, and yeast.  There are other ingredients such as flavoring, sugar, and other ingredients that are commonly used.  Starches are used as well, as they convert in the mashing process to easily fermentable sugars that will help to increase the alcohol content of beer while adding body and flavor.

Seeing as how beer is mainly composed of water, the source of water and its characteristics have a very important effect on the character of the beer.  A lot of beer styles were influenced by the characteristics of water in the region.  Although the effect of minerals in brewing water is complex, hard water is more suited to dark styles, while  soft water is more suited to light styles.

Among malts, barley is the most widely used due to its high amylase content, and a digestive enzyme that facilitates the breakdown of starch into  sugars.  Depending on what can be cultivated locally, other malts and unmalted grains can be used, such as wheat, rice, oats, and rye.

Malt is obtained by soaking grain in water, allowing it to germinate, then drying the germinated grain in a kiln.  By malting the grain, enzymes will eventually convert the starches in the grain into fermentable sugars.

Since the seventeenth century, hops have been commonly used as a bittering agent in beer.  Hops help to contribute a bitterness that will balance the sweetness of the malts.  They also contribute aromas which range from citrus to herbal.

Hops also provide an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer’s yeast over the less desirable microorganisms.  The bitterness in beer is normally measured on the International Bitterness Units scale.

Yeast is a microorganism that’s responsible for fermentation.  Specific strains of yeast are chosen depending on the type of beer produced, as the two main strains are ale yeast and lager yeast, with other variations available as well.

Yeast helps to metabolise the sugars that are extracted from the grains, and produces alcohol and carbon dioxide as a result.  Before the functions of yeast were understood, all fermentations were done using wild or airborne yeasts.

Clarifying agent
A lot of brewers prefer to add one or more clarifying agents to beer that aren’t required to be published as ingredients.  Examples include Isinglas finings, which are obtained from swim bladders of fish and Irish moss, which is a type of red alga.

Since these ingredients can be obtained from animals,  those who are concerned with either the use or consumption of animal products should obtain detailed information from the brewer.

The Strongest and Strangest Beers

Infographics are all the rage on the Web these days. You know, those charts that show ideas and statistics in pictures? We found this one today that not only tells you what the strongest beers are, but also the ingredients of the strangest ones. Who puts bananas in beer? Some of the ingredients might make you sick.

Alcohol Poisoning
Via: Term Life Insurance

TapHunter – Search for Craft Beers on Tap

american craft beer week
Image by sciascia via Flickr

TapHunter lets you search for your favorite craft beer on tap in San Diego, Philadelphia, Seattle, Vancouver, and the Denver/Boulder area.  The listings cover breweries, brew pubs, and bars, and they are continuously updating these lists. If you are searching for your favorite craft beer, I highly recommend this site.

Search for Craft Beers on Tap – San Diego – Tap Hunter.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Inspired Beers: The Lost Abbey

Lost Abbey Judgement Day
Image by Bernt Rostad via Flickr

The Lost Abbey is a brewery in San Marcos, California, and has one of the most interesting websites that I’ve seen in a long time. Their tagline is:  Inspired Beers for Saints and Sinners alike. The beers are modeled after the Trappist and Monastic beers, and include Lost and Found Abbey Ale, Devotion, and Judgment Day.  In addition, they have a line of seasonal beers and non–denominational ales. Click on the link, “Our Crusade” to find out more about the brewers themselves.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Beer Festivals

London's GBBF beer festival
Image via Wikipedia

The Beer Festivals website is one of the best and most up-to-date calendars of  worldwide beer celebrations. From the UK to Japan to the US, all the links in the calendar are click-enabled. Here is the June 2010 event listing.

Enhanced by Zemanta

He’Brew – The Chosen Beer

Shmaltz Brewing Company Logo
Image via Wikipedia

I knew about the Chosen People, but a Chosen Beer? Schmaltz Brewing Company (yes, that is their real name) has an entire line of  He’Brew Chosen Beers.  The beers have great names: Jewbelation – Bar Mitzvah; R.I.P.A. on Rye; Genesis Ale; and Messiah Bold.  There is a an online store where you can buy  shirts and other swag, and a list of where you can buy the beer. L’Chaim!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Beer TV?

20090225 Beer Taps
Image by Tuaussi via Flickr

Only in America! Beer Tap TV has a number of shows devoted exclusively to beer, all on streaming video. They have guides, forums, and a blog as well.  There is a calendar of upcoming events as well.

Enhanced by Zemanta