The Importance of Glassware; AKA The Science of Taste

| September 15th, 2012 | No comments

Glassware is one of the most under appreciated aspects of enjoying craft beer. That truth is however, that glassware is probably one of the most important factors in whether a beer can be found enjoyable or not.

First, it is important to understand how vital aroma is to contributing to flavor perception. The human tongue is only capable of discerning five different tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami). But if these are the only tastes that we can detect, how is it that we can perceive the difference between one beer to the next? Our sense of smell, on the other hand, can detect between 4,000 and 10,000 different odor molecules! Our perception of flavor is in part determined by what our tongue tastes, but also the smells that our nasal passage detects.

If you want to truly taste a beer to the fullest, inhale through your nose as you are drinking, hold your breath as you taste it in your mouth, and breath out your nose after you swallow. By drinking beer this way, you are taking in the aroma and smell of the beer as you are drinking and after you swallow, you are allowing the aroma to travel back though your nasal passage so you can get a good sense of it’s aftertaste.

So, now that you know how important your sense of smell is, why does glassware matter? You want something that is going to allow you the best possible experience of being able to smell and take in the aroma of you beer. How well do you think you can smell your beer by drinking out of the bottle?

Aside from contributing to aroma perception, proper glassware also depends on the style of beer you are drinking. The above image is taken from This link is a great resource for learning and understanding what glassware best compliments which style of beer. I highly recommend checking it out.