Just Say “No!” to Frosted Glassware

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze

Iced to meet you.

I like to think that beer culture has come a long way in the past few decades: high-quality beer is being made by passionate brewers for passionate drinkers; folks actually give a darn what’s in their glass. But have you given enough thought about the glass itself? I’d like to take a moment to discuss with you a scourge of the craft  beer world: the frosted glass.

The frosted glass seems innocent enough, after all, haven’t we been trained for years that beer is best icy cold? Why wouldn’t you want your glass to be frosty too? It’s like a tag-team in your mouth! Well-intentioned bar and restaurant owners, used to serving only light lagers, have been all too happy to oblige this fantasy, chasing the dream of “coldest beer in town.” We craft drinkers should know better though: nuanced, well-crafted beers only begin to open up once they’ve warmed a bit; there’s a lot going on in that beer, but the cold will hide it.

So what exactly are the dangers of a frosted glass?

  1. Excessive foaming. This means wasted beer and messes. Spilled beer *is* worth crying over!
  2. Numbing of the tongue and dampening of flavors from too-cold beer and/or glass. Think about taking off your gloves on a cold day, do you want your tongue like that?
  3. Melting frost will water down and dilute the flavor of the beer.
  4. The frost on the glass can contain whatever gross flavors are floating around in the freezer. Do *you* want to lick the inside of your freezer?

But what can you do if you’re offered a frosted glass? Here are my suggestions:

  1. Accept it as-is, maybe you like your beer and glasses super cold. That is okay–a crisp, ice-cold beer on a hot day can be delightful! But I challenge you to try expanding your beer experience by drinking warmer beer.
  2. Suck it down like a champ and make a note for next time. A good tactic if you don’t want to cause a scene.
  3. Wait for the beer to warm up on its own. (If you can stand to wait that long)
  4. Kindly refuse the beer and request it to be served in a non-chilled glass. You are paying for a premium product, it is not unreasonable to have expectations that it be treated as such!
  5. Inform the management that some beers are not best served in a frosted glass and they might consider asking the customer their preference. If you are not a jerk about it I think this can lead to a happy ending for everyone!

So now you know the dangers of frosted glassware and what you can do if it happens to you. The best thing you can do is ask ahead of time if you are not sure and request a room-temperature glass. I hope you’ll take the lesson to heart and just say “no!”

[vimeo 55453884]

About Derek Springer

Derek is a contributor to Bierkast, a homebrewer, and a general beer-enthusiast. Beer snobbery especially bums him out and he thinks there is a time and place for any beer. Otherwise, he enjoys making and drinking uncommon styles and sampling as many beers as possible. Follow him @derekspringer or his homebrewing exploits @FiveBlades.

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