Why clean glassware is so important

I have something to ask of you: please, whenever you pour a beer, use a clean glass.

This is about as fundamental as it gets. You wouldn’t eat off dirty plates. You wouldn’t let a filthy fork anywhere near your mouth. Without a clean glass your beer will be spoiled before it’s even touched your lips.

If your glass isn’t ‘beer clean‘ then the quality of your beer will suffer. It will have less carbonation, it will lose its head more quickly and it will give you less of its aroma and flavour as a result.

It may even pick up some unpleasant odours and tastes that have business being in your beer or your mouth.

Being beer clean is about more than banishing superficial dirt. I’m not just talking about lipstick smears and fingerprints. (Although those are bad enough.) I also mean glasses that have been washed or stored without care.

Soap, fat or grease-based residues can leave a clear film on the glass. If you pour beer into a glass in this condition, bubbles from the beer will stick to the residue. If there are bubbles clinging to the inside of your glass, that’s a dead giveaway that it isn’t beer clean.

The best way to keep your glassware in good condition at home is to reserve it for beer and nothing else. Wash it by hand, using a bottle brush to scrub the inside properly if it’s too long to do by hand, using the hottest water you can stand. Rinse it well and let it air dry somewhere that is well drained. If you use a cloth make sure it’s lint free.

When you rinse your glass, if the water forms a sheet on the side of the glass then you’ve done your job properly. If it forms droplets and clings to the sides, you still have some residue to take care of.

There is a long chain of people responsible for getting your beer to you. Farmers, maltsters, brewers, distributors… they all care about the quality of your beer.

They all take pains to ensure it reaches you in the best condition possible. If they’ve put the effort in, so should you. Have some respect for your beer.

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