Herald on Sunday - - LET’S EAT -

What’s the best beer glass? “A clean one,” says Michael Don­ald­son. The man who sank a few gazil­lion beers in the writ­ing of

(the up­dated edi­tion of his 2012 Kiwi beer his­tory — $39.99 from Ed­ify — has just been re­leased) has a few thoughts on the per­fect drink­ing ves­sel.

He says the stan­dard Shaker or Nonic pint glass used at most pubs will do the job but his favourite is tulip­shaped be­cause of the way it holds aroma.

Smell is a ma­jor fac­tor in taste, so drink­ing straight from the bot­tle is not rec­om­mended — you won’t get the full hit of a hoppy or strong yeast­driven Bel­gian beer. (There is a new trend to­wards cans with lids that can be com­pletely ripped off. Don­ald­son rec­om­mends try­ing Be­he­moth’s Lid Rip­per).

In the bad old days of beer, it came in han­dles at­tached to thick-walled glasses that held a bev­er­age served freez­ing cold to dis­guise its flavour (or lack thereof).

“I pre­fer no han­dle,” says Don­ald­son. “I like thin­ner glass, and the warmth of the hands on the glass helps change the flavour as the beer warms.”

While mass-mar­ket light lagers are usu­ally served at be­tween 2-4C, Don­ald­son says some very dark beers are best at around 10-12C.

Beer, like wine, re­leases flavours as it is ex­posed to air and slowly warms but it doesn’t need as long to breathe.

“The very act of ag­i­tated pour into a glass to form a frothy head is enough of a breath­ing ex­er­cise.”

And when you’re done? Wash that glass in hot, soapy wa­ter be­fore you tackle the plates and pots. Rinse and then leave to air dry — us­ing a cloth can in­tro­duce lint, grease or an odour that might af­fect the flavour of your next drink.

Pic­ture / 123RF

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