Yes its true, I am. “My name is Phil and I’m a pedantic glassoholic”, there I’ve said it, I’ve come out, now the world can see me for the miserable sod I truly can be, where beer and beer glasses are concerned. (Some of you will not be surprised, I don’t hide it well)
I’m not ashamed, I’m proud of it. I love my beer and I firmly believe it should be treated with a degree of respect and reverence if brewed to the same exacting standards.
There’s no snobbery in that either, you wouldn’t dream of buying a decent bottle of wine and swilling it from the bottle (unless of course its wrapped in brown paper and you are covered in flies), nor would you grab a bottle of 15-year-old single malt whisky from ‘the special shelf’ and take a slug, leaving your stale saliva dripping down the inside of the bottle..
How many times have you seen the shell suited faithful, wander down the high street swigging from a can of Tennents Super or Special Brew and thought, bloody piss-head? Why does it make it any different because your bottle is an imported super hoppy IPA, or an expensive barrel aged Imperial Stout?
When my good friend Nate, author of Booze, Beats and Bites wrote his “Drinkin’ From The Bottle” post a few days ago, we had a bit of light-hearted banter about it across Twitter and the like. I still think the bottle part is utter bollocks (sorry Nate), but I understand the sentiment was more about just enjoying beer because you want it, and want to drink it without any distractions of mentally pulling it apart, but really, was the glassware cupboard THAT far away?
Don’t get me wrong we’ve all done it when needs must. The inevitable Becks or Stella at a Christmas party, an ice-cold bottle of Bud dripping with condensation whilst enjoying a BBQ, or perhaps a bomber of Punk IPA at a mates because all he has is a chipped tea mug. Then of course, for the infamous “train beer”, sometimes it just has to be done. There will always be exceptions.
You equally may think I too am talking utter bollocks and after all you could well be right, who am I to tell you how to drink YOUR beer, it’s your decision at the end of the day.
What annoys me most though, is the thought that this is all trying to make necking from the bottle a bit “trendy”, the next big thing, for fresher beer bottle is better and all that, it’s just not.
Apart from inevitable the CO2 bloat and accompanying belch-fest, bottles are often dirty unhygienic things on the outside. You have no idea where they have been stored since they left the brewery, stale beer spillage, dust, bacteria, fly shit, rat piss could all lie hidden on that shiny looking bottle in the hidden world of the microbe, how many hands have mauled it too in it’s life in transit. That aside, drinking from the bottle adds nothing apart from the convenience a few seconds saved from grabbing and washing a glass.
For the doubters I say this, go to Belgium and order a bottled beer from the menu in any half decent bar (pretty much most of them).
Watch the bar person grab your bottle and open it…
Watch as they carefully select usually the matching breweries glassware, wipe and or refresh it…
Watch some more as the beer is poured with precision leaving just the last few centimetres in the bottom of the bottle and the glass is carefully set down with the branding set towards you on one of the two beer mats set down in front of you in readiness.
Finally, watch as the bottle is set down on the other empty mat, the label again turned towards your place at the table or bar, it’s your beer, you chose it and the server wants you to enjoy it to the full and as the brewer intended.
Watch all this and tell me that you are not impressed..
For years we’ve lagged behind here in the UK on that front but things are changing and definitely for the better, best use it or lose it and end up with little choice than to keep on chugging..
As a semi-Belgian I couldn’t agree more 🙂 Good beers should have a glass. However, I also agree that at a hot summer barbecue you can drink a Jupiler or any other pils directly from the bottle 🙂
It’s amazing though how much the correct glassware can affect the taste! It makes me cringe when I see people drinking Duvel from the bottle. Mixing the yeasty cloudy stuff with the gorgeous beer and not let the bubbles spiral up in that beautiful tulip glass is a CRIME 😉
I hear you!!! I think I may have even reached a new level on this subject … while on an away day trip with football instead of the previous bottle necking I bought some plastic pint glasses from the pound store bringing your story and Nate’s train beer story together in a happy union! If i am going to buy a beer that I enjoy and like (and most likely pay more) then I don’t want to ruin it by constantly swigging at it!
So much about drinking beer is in the aroma. The nose. You are not going to get a lot from the bottle. You simply need to find the most appropriate glassware for the beers style and use that.
Anyone who has worked in Environmental Health and found dried rats piss on bottle necks would never dream of drinking from the bottle!
Are you trying to get on Gavin’s (@misterfrosty) good side? This will do it. Great article Phil. I even pour my canned beer into glasses (imagine the stuff that collects in the ridges on the top of the can).
Recently in Belgium, I was very impressed once I noticed that they always turn the bottle label and the glass label to face you. It pleases me. I think that as they are serving something special, it’s right to take pride.