A MARKETING GIMIC OR DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
Belgian beer is renowned for its glassware. Every beer has its own glass believe it or not, carefully selected by the individual brewer. As the title suggests, you might be forgiven for thinking that it is all just a marketing ploy. Different glass shapes are however essential in bringing out the specific characteristics and aromas of each beer. And presentation of course is everything. Who doesn’t love a cold beer poured expertly into a beautiful glass? Here at The Beer Club Asia you can start your very own collection.
The shape of the glass also affects the formation and retention of the foam on the head of the beer. The tulip glass has a round body before narrowing and opening up again. This kind of glass is perfect for beers with a voluminous head of foam like the famous Duvel.
Then there’s the chalice type glasses, these are usually heavy, thick-walled and have a wide opening. Perfect for enjoying a Belgian Tripel. Think Maredsous as a good example. The chalice types also feature a wide mouth perfect for taking deep sips and are designed to maximize head. Sometimes, and just for a classy sophisticated touch, they will even be rimmed in gold. Think Westmalle.
And what about the special details? Affligem for instance, is a beer served with a twist because you get two glasses: a large, flared tulip glass and a little yeast glass. Be careful when pouring the beer and save the last centimetre or so of the bottle for the shot glass, capturing the yeast residue that sinks to the bottom during fermentation. The idea is to first try the beer without the yeast residue. Afterwards add the yeast shot to the beer and see how it changes the flavor in the next sip.
METHOD YOU CAN TRY AT HOME?
1. Essential to keep the bottles upright prior to opening.
2. Carefully pour the bottle into the large glass. Make sure your pour is steady and smooth.
3. Keep about 1 cm in the bottle.
4. Roll the bottle between your hands or gently swirl the bottle to release the yeast residue from the bottom.
5. Pour the yeast into the small glass.
6. First taste the beer in the large glass. Add the contents of the yeast glass and try again.
IS IT BETTER WITH OR WITHOUT THE YEAST?
This is down to personal preference. The beer without the yeast is a little bitter. When the residue is added, the taste will be less bitter and somewhat rounder.