When you drink from your handmade beer glasses, it should be the best experience it can be. A big part of that is cleanliness. A properly sanitized custom blown glass drinkware provides the perfect vessel for a carbonated beverage — particularly a refreshing IPA, pilsner, or stout.
Dirty drinkware can be off-putting on its own. Smudges and grime give the impression of an unsanitary environment. But it can also impact the flavor and presentation of your beverage in ways you may not even expect.
To achieve the ideal level of sanitation, the best option is to wash your bar glassware so that it is beer clean. It removes anything that might ruin your beer-drinking session. If you’re curious about why this process is important and how to do it, we’ve broken that down for you right here.
Why Do You Need Beer Clean Glassware?
Beer drinkers go to a lot of trouble to fill their pint glasses with the best possible liquid. From hunting down unique and rare options on the market to purchasing fine, handmade drinkware glass to serve it in, they are setting the stage for an ideal drinking experience. Even the pour has to be perfect, tipping the glass 45 degrees to gently stir the CO2 to life. The slightest imperfection in the glass can ruin all of that hard work.
A hint of dust or residue can act as a barrier to those CO2 bubbles as they try to rise to the top. This impacts the head that should be forming in your glass. So not only are you sacrificing a beautiful, fluffy cap to your beer, this hinders the full impact of the beer’s aroma from releasing properly. Without that aroma, the flavor loses its power. Plus it just doesn’t look as appetizing.
What’s Beer Clean Mean?
When a glass is sanitized to the level of beer clean, it’s free of all impurities. Once it reaches that state of cleanliness, it’s ready to hold a perfect pint of beer. That means that the glass allows your pint to reach its full potential.
When you pour beer into a beer clean glass, it immediately starts releasing CO2. Those bubbles of carbon dioxide won’t cling to the side of the glass as they would in an improperly cleaned glass. Instead, they rise all the way to the top, fostering a foam cap that releases the beer’s aromas. When you sip the beer, you’re sure to taste its full flavor thanks to a well-developed head.
How to Beer Clean Your Glassware
Now that you know the why and the what, you’re probably asking, well, how? Great question.
First, we recommend reserving certain glassware for beer — and beer alone. If you know which glasses you’ll always use for an ale or lager, you can better recognize when you need to roll up your sleeves and fully sanitize your drinkware. It also saves you from contaminating beer glasses with a residue from milk or other beverages that aren’t friendly to handblown glass.
Now that you’ve selected beer glasses, wash them apart from the rest of your dishes. We say this for two reasons: washing glass with your regular dishes could cross contaminate them with remnants from other dirty dishes; regular dish soap that you typically use on your other glasses could damage your beer glasses and leave behind film.
In fact, you can make your own cleanser for your beer glasses. Mix two parts water with one part baking soda (with maybe a half part of salt) together until it makes a paste. Now apply it to the inside of your beer glasses, covering every inch. If you can’t reach all the way inside the glass, use a brush or even a thin cake spatula. Once fully covered, bring the brush back to really scrub away all that dirt and residue.
Flush the glass with filtered water to avoid transferring any more impurities from unfiltered or hard water. Then air dry the glass upside down. Never use a towel to try it because it will leave behind bits of material.
How Do You Know It’s Beer Clean?
Whether you’re drinking from your own glass or one at a bar or a friend’s house, there are a few easy ways to recognize if a glass is beer clean. If you can get your hands on the empty glass and some salt, you can shake a few crystals inside. If the salt sticks to the sides, the glass has reached that beer clean threshold. But make sure you rinse the glass before pouring a beer.
Another way to test the glass pre-beer is to dip it in water. If the water is evenly distributed across the glass, it’s clean. However if you notice that the water is breaking into droplets that collect on different parts of the glass, it hasn’t been properly cleaned.
But if you’re not able to perform either test because you can’t get to the glass beforehand — or it’s just rude to do that at your friend’s house, you can look for these signs: CO2 bubbles cling to the sides in patches and parallel rings of foam — or lacing — appear at the top of your glass as you drink.
Bottom line: Always aim to put your beer in the best possible glass you can. A clean, Legendary custom beer glass hand blown in Portland, Ore. will work perfectly.