My wife will be quick to tell you, I’m very particular about the cleanliness of my glassware, and you should be too! The cleanliness of beer glassware affects more than just appearance; it can contribute to off flavors as well as pose potential health issues. Beer clean glassware can be hard to control in a bar setting, especially at a venue that doesn’t specialize in craft beer, but maintaining beer clean glassware at home is an incredibly simple and fulfilling procedure!
Glassware Cleanliness Test
Before you begin cleaning your glasses to beer clean status, why not check how clean they currently are? Grab a pint you might pour one of your favorite beers into and rinse the inside of the pint out with cold water, draining the small pool left at the base. Hold the pint at a 45° angle and, starting at the lip, sprinkle table salt inside of the glass while rotating the pint. Wherever the salt sticks to the pint, it’s beer clean. Where the salt bounces off the wet surface to the bottom, it’s dirty.
Also, you can immediately tell whether your glass is beer clean when you pour beer into it. Examine the beer in the glass and look for carbonation bubbles, if carbonation bubbles are stuck to the side of the glass and not rising up, it’s because CO2 gas which leaves the beer will attach to any foreign object whether it be soap residue, towel lint, etc.
If you’re concerned beer isn’t leaving lace on the glass like it should, it’s a solid indicator that your glass isn’t beer clean, which brings us to the steps necessary to achieve beer clean glassware:
The most important part of maintaining beer clean glassware is the washing process. Your precious glassware should never be washed with the rest of the dishes whether it be in the sink or with a dishwasher. The water in the sink is loaded with floating food particles, grease, etc. Do you want that in your drinking vessel? Didn’t think so. A dishwasher will always leave soap residue on the glass and can potentially break more fragile glassware.
To wash beer glasses, I purchase a regular sponge that’s not pre-soaked with anti-microbial junk. This sponge, for the remainder of it’s few-month existence is solely used for cleaning beer glasses. Not for cleaning the counter, other dishes, not even mugs or water glasses. Just beer glasses. A bottle brush may be used, especially for those hard-to-reach, skinny weizen glasses and the like, but I prefer the good old-fashioned sponge.
I’ve experienced less-than-desired results if the sink is filled with soap and water so I prefer to keep the faucet running with lukewarm to average temp tap water; something comfortable to keep your hands in, but nothot water.
Drizzle the sponge with some dish soap and wet your hands and the glass. Thoroughly wash the inside and outside of the glass, then rinse it clean, draining all the soap reside from the inside. When it looks clean rinse it again. Then rinse it again. This will assure that there’s no soap reside left in your glass and, if your glass has one, that it’s nucleation point is clean and free of debris.
**Glassware can be delicate and obviously sharp if broken. Even though I wash dozens of glasses on a weekly basis I manage to accidentally drop one even now and again. I’ve even hand one break in my hands, cutting me so please be gentle and take extra care when cleaning glasses!**
When you’ve washed your glasses, drying them is equally important. Never dry your glasses by hand,; drying glassware with a dish towel or paper towel will leave undesirable fibers in the glass. The ideal way to dry glasses is to let them air dry on a metal or rubber mat, allowing air to get inside. This might work for bars but at home, I rest them upside down on a clean dish towel with no adverse consequences.
Simply, a cabinet will work perfectly, minimizing dust contact on your glasses. Store your glasses upside down if possible, further preventing the collection of dust. Mine rest in a cabinet on perforated non-skid rubber mat.
Now that your glasses are beer clean and stored, there are only two easy steps remaining. The most fun part; select the beer you’re going to enjoy! Using proper glassware is the next step, which I explore further in Glassware Styles ver. 1 and Glassware Styles ver. 2. When you’ve got your beer in one hand and your glass in the other getting ready to pour, you’ve already gone to far. Take that glass and rinse it out with cold water. This insures that you’re starting out with the cleanest possible slate, washing out any possible dust or soap scum that may have slipped passed you in the washing process.
At craft beer bars where beer clean glassware is a priority, you’ll see the bartender take your glass, upside down, and press it onto a perforated metal plate, which sprays the inside with a blast of cold water before he or she pours your beer!
The last step in maintaining your beer clean glassware collection is an incredibly simple one that makes the rest of the process even easier! After you’ve finished your delicious craft beer, rinse the traces of beer and foam lacing from the glass. It might take a few quick rinses and swirls, but when you clean it out after you’ve enjoyed a pint, it becomes that much easier to clean when you start the process all over again.
Bar Setting Glassware
When you’re not in control of the glassware you’re given and it’s dirty, there are a few options available to you. 1) Suck it up. 2) Request a new beer in a clean glass. This might piss of the bartender, but it’s you’re right. 3) Leave. Drink at an establishment that knows better. If they can’t maintain proper glassware cleanliness, it’s hard to trust proper draught line cleanliness is maintained when it’s a much more tedious task.
I’ve outlined in detail what seems like a painstaking and bothersome task when letting the dishwasher do the work for you can easily replace those wet hands, but don’t fall victim to societies’ imposed laziness.
A beer clean glass doesn’t take much time to achieve especially when a routine is developed, and it generates a wonderful satisfaction when you know you’re doing the beer and brewer the best possible justice. Additionally, also doesn’t hurt to have an incredibly sexy looking pint of craft beer in front of you, caked in wispy lacing!