I have to say, I am a little bit guilty of this myself. Get home from a long day of work, a hot summer’s day and been out in the garden all day, or perhaps just wanting a quick beer. You grab a glass out of the cupboard, cracking open a cold beer, and drink. Then all of a sudden you think, “I want to take a picture to upload to Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Untapped*”, and then someone comments about the state of the glass.
- “That glass is disgusting”
- “Wash that glass next time!”
- “Oi, do you even know how to wash a glass?!”
Now we’ve all probably given a glass a quick rinse around before pouring a beer in there, just to make sure it’s “clean”. We’ve all probably got our glasses stored in a cupboard with doors, or maybe store the glasses upside down perhaps to stop stuff from getting inside. However, there’s a reason why bars use jets of water to give the glass a wash.
It was only on “Beer Clean Glass Day” – yes, I kid you not, people are trying to make this a thing – that I decided to look into it. Besides it being a ridiculous reason to “celebrate”, it means that you do get to drink beer – like we need a reason to drink beer, right?
Why should you have a clean glass? Well first of all, presentation. Would you eat your food off a dirty plate? The students among you may sniff and say it doesn’t matter, but how about in a restaurant? I for one wouldn’t be happy with getting a plate that hadn’t been cleaned properly.
Secondly, and this sounds like a stretch to some people, but to others that can detect it, flavour. If a a glass is not clean, the rough edges that appear on a microscopic level, give particles the chance to cling onto – with CO₂ being the main victim. CO₂ is supposed to be released when a beer is poured, creating a head and also reducing some of the carbonation in a beer. When CO₂ stays in the glass it may lessen the amount of foamy head, wreak havoc on the mouthfeel and flavors, and generally leave you with a subpar drinking experience.
So how can you know if you have a clean glass or not – besides seeing if there are lip-stick marks or sediment on the side of the glass?
Well the obvious one is looking at the side of the glass and noticing any bubbles. If there is an area of the glass with lots of bubbles clumped up, that part of the glass has not been washed properly.
Secondly, as you’re drinking the beer, the head, if you’re been given one, should cling to the side of the glass in parallel lines around the edge of the glass. It might not be obvious at first, but the bubbles from the head will cling to the side of the glass as the beer goes down.
However, it all starts at home. Washing a glass may seem a frivolous thing to write about, but if you’re interested in beer photography, it is perhaps the easiest thing to do. Some sites will have you go out and buy special cleaning soap to wash those glasses, but you can do it yourself as long as you follow these steps.
- For starters, cleaning beer glasses begins with clean wash water.
- If you plan to wash your beer glasses at the same time that you wash other dishes, be sure to wash your beer glasses first.
- Some brewers think that it is necessary to use special detergents for beer glasses. Ordinary dish soap / washing-up liquid will work just as well as long as you follow the first two steps.
- The next item you need to properly clean your glasses is a clean sponge or dishcloth. Don’t use the same sponge or cloth that you use for plates or pans. These items are too frequently overlooked and a grimy cleaning implement can quickly add oils to your clean dishwater and beer glass.
- When cleaning the glass, pay special attention to the rim of the glass since this is where food fats and lipstick accumulate.
- Finally, thoroughly rinse the glass with warm water and allow the glass to air dry.
It seems like such a simple thing now, doesn’t it? It’s easy enough to get into the pattern. And if you do then go and store the glasses, give them a quick rinse before pouring a beer in there. Your beer and taste-buds will thank you for it.
*delete where applicable