Unless you are lucky enough to live in West Yorkshire where the tulip glass reigns supreme, when you buy a standard British pint of bitter, you are likely to be served it in a nonic* glass. This 1960's invention elbowed the more traditional dimple glass aside, just as the dimple glass had in its turn pushed out the 12 sided handled glass you see in the old "Beer is Best" adverts from the 1930s. The nonic is now around forty years old, is dated and it shows.
Does the glass from which we drink our beer matter? I reckon so. So do the Belgians and the Germans who always serve beer in the appropriated branded glass according to style and custom. We Brits on the other hand think nothing it seems of serving a pint of cask beer in a cider glass or even a lager glass. So what? It's only a pint of beer is the attitude. Quite a few local brewers have however started to use branded glassware of different shapes. My local brewer Lees, has its unique "grip glass" - love it or hate it - and others have their own glassware, usually straight sided or tulip. But more often than not, you will be served beer in a scraped and worn nonic. It is a sign of "Don't Care".
Another brewer to design its own beer glass is Samuel Adams in the USA. The Ultimate Beer Glass is interesting too and is pictured left. Click on the image to see the reasoning behind it. It shows to me that those who care about beer, care about glassware.
So come on pubs, get rid of this out of date glass, pester your suppliers for decent glassware and ensure your staff serve the beer in the right one. It does make a difference.
*The term nonic is short for "no nicks" as the rims of glasses don't touch in storage, shelves or glasswashers, they don't get "nicks" on the rim.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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