I used to work at a bar and grill that specialized in their craft beer selections. I learned a lot during my time as a server – but one thing I truly learned is that the customer is not always right. We were adamantly taught that we were not to serve customers a beer in a frosted glass. At first, I did not understand why that was an issue. If someone wanted a frosted glass, what’s the big deal? I understood and respected that we did not have storage for frosted glassware, but most of us used the “frost fast” hack to appease those people who absolutely had to have their glassware chilled. Basically, you fill a glass cup up with ice, then overfill it with soda water, and let it stand for a couple minutes – the glass is essentially frosted at that point…enough to appease the customer.
While I don’t see a frosted glass as much of an issue when consuming a Miller Lite or Michelob Ultra, I now understand the issues with serving craft beers in such glassware. If a frosted glass is truly your personal preference – then I’d say use one no matter what. Just understand that your craft beer will not taste the exact way that it should.
So, what exactly does a frosted glass do to your beer? First, it’s important to define what I specifically mean by “frosted glass.” This term refers to glassware that has been stored in a freezer. Glassware that is slightly chilled (possibly by using my “frost fast” method) is not the end of the world. But, regardless, a room temperature glass is your best bet. When you store a glass in the freezer, ice crystals develop around it. When the beer is poured into said glassware, these ice crystals mix with the beer and alter its taste. It’s basically like the beer is getting watered down. Also, the extreme cold hides some of the flavors in the beer by numbing your taste buds. In addition to all of that bad stuff, the aroma of the beer can be blocked by extreme cold temperatures and, if you ever held your nose to eat that nasty food your mom forced down your throat, as a child, you know that taste & smell are highly associated senses.
This science applies to the temperature at which your beer is stored as well. Obviously no one is drinking a room temperature beer – that just sounds gross. But, you should consider storing your beer at a slightly higher temperature than you may keep your groceries. If a beer fridge is not a possibility, just leave your beer out on the counter for a couple minutes before pouring. Allow yourself to get the full flavor and aroma experience out of those yummy microbrews. After all, you probably paid a pretty penny for that beer, so why not make the most of it?!