Beer: Bottle vs. Glass

When I originally came up with this blog post idea, I really thought I was on to something. Let me back up: I’m (relatively) new to beer. Prior to 2010, I turned my nose up at the thought of drinking such swill, mule piss (as it were). But then I stumbled upon Killian’s Irish Red beer and my foot was in the brewery door. The problem was: I only liked Killian’s draught, not out of the bottle, but why?

For me, I thought the beer tasted different out of the bottle vs. from the tap. I didn’t like it’s flavor, I blamed the bottle. Little did I realize, I was more correct than I realized. Now that I’ve expanded (slightly) my palate for beer, here’s what I’ve discovered…

  1. Beer Bottles Taste Bad. Whatever process the glass goes through to be made and formed into the bottle leaves a terrible aftertaste. I’m sure the factories where the bottles are manufactured aren’t the cleanest of places, and for fear of looking like Niles Crane and wiping down my beer bottle before consumption, I just prefer to drink from a glass. I don’t want to taste dirty bottle when I’m drinking my Sam Adams.
  2. Nose Gets Greater Aroma. The other reason I now realize my bottle vs. draught beer was different was because I wasn’t able to detect all the nuanced aromas and flavors that a glass provides. Your taste buds need help from your nose and a glass provides that opportunity. As a matter of fact, if you think about it, you’re depriving yourself of the opportunities afforded to you when you’ve got your schnoz within the glass. Don’t be afraid to stick your nose into the glass and take in the rich aroma your beer has to offer. You’ll actually start to detect flavors before the ale even touches your taste buds.
  3. Seeing Is Believing. I like to see my beer. I like to hold it up to the light and determine its SRM based on how dark/light it is.
  4. No Room For Sludge. Face it, beer comes with sediment. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but it does allow for some particles to infest the beer and I don’t want to have to floss after I drink.
  5. The Flavor Profile Changes. Not only do I believe that the nose helps to detect certain flavors, I think that as your consume the beer, the profile changes during said consumption. Not like a cigar, per se, but subtle nuances of change due to exposure to the air, the temperature and the like.
  6. No Head In Bottle. Now, for me, this is less an issue as it is for other people, but there’s not an opportunity to for there to develop any beer head when in a bottle. There are some people who like to drink the head that forms on the top of a glass of beer when it comes from the tap. If you enjoy the slightly different taste that beer holds when it’s in foam-form, this is not an option when consumed from the bottle.

Now, I do have to provide one cautionary note: You speed up the warmth of the beer when you pour it into a room temperature glass. Some folks like to freeze their beer glasses, others don’t. This is purely personal preference. But do realize that with more surface space, your beer will warm faster than if you left it in a bottle.

If, however, you’re like me, there’s rarely an opportunity for the beer to warm up before it’s polished off and a new brew is served!

3 thoughts on “Beer: Bottle vs. Glass

  1. Sean Blair Reply

    It really depend for me if the drinking establishment I am in at the moment has a good selection of taps. At home, I’m happy of drinking my personal favorite straight from the bottle.

    • Jason Gillikin Reply

      What *is* your personal favorite? I’ve been partial to Belgian ales lately … but it might be because I live within walking distance of Brewery Vivant, which specializes in them.

      • Sean Blair Reply

        When I’m at home, I drink Red Stripe. It’s what I like. I don’t get fancy when I’m hanging with friends and family. I drink my Stripe, I sip my whiskey, and I smoke my stogie. And I’m happy.

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