Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So which is it?

Had a bit of a flashback the other day as I was blogging along. Last year I posted a bit called ‘Beer Myths’ (18/05/07) where we discussed washing your beer glasses and we looked at an issue that seems to refuse to die. Should you wash beer glasses using detergent? I stumbled across this post on a now long neglected blog;

“I was round my parents house the other day and my father and I where enjoying some of his home brew straight from the keg when my mother decided our glasses needed washing. I was rather annoyed to see that she was washing them with soap, as I have always been told that soap is the devil of beer glasses.

Soap can leave a film on the glass (even if you cannot see it) and can distort the flavor of the beer as well as reducing the head. I think we have all been in a bar or restaurant somewhere were the beer has virtually no head and looks filmy around the edges, this of course would be the place washing the glasses in soap. This includes all popular detergents and washing up liquids, don’t listen to anyone who tells you that some forms of soap are good for beer glasses - they are not.”

I happened upon this post and I realised that some myths just refuse to die. I’m not having a go at the author as, firstly, his site seems untouched for more than a year so it may not be corrected and secondly, it’s just an opinion. We all know about them. But, for the record, here is my opinion.

Hops, that most amazingly versatile little bud which gives our beer bitterness, flavour, aroma and preservative, is an oily substance in beer. As such it can leave an oily film on the empty glass, particularly once it dries. It will attract dirt and dust and stay there. This will not just wash off with water and will affect the next beer poured into it. Detergent, and there are plenty of commercial and industry specific types as well as domestic versions, is needed to remove this deposit from the glass and as long as the detergent is removed by proper rinsing the glass is then ‘beer clean’.

“The best method that I use for cleaning my beer glasses is simply and natural… water. After you finish using your glass simply rinse it out well in warm water making sure it is completely clean, it is best to rinse out immediately after drinking as this will reduce things sticking to the glass. Now just let sit and dry, or get a clean (must be clean) towel and dry off your glass. If you keep to this simple method you should always have a nice clean beer glass with no ‘extras’ in it.”

Yeah, water is OK and warm is better, but, after twenty years in the caper – and I’ve washed a few beer glasses – I’ll go for the detergent every time. Water just won’t get it. And if you like to drink with chicks (and who among us doesn’t?) take extra care as lipstick is a beer glass killer. And even worse? Smoke. Nicotine oils are an absolute head killer when it comes to beer. And smokes themselves have been a pain to bar staff everywhere for years!

Put as simply as I can, here it is; at home, rinse your glass as soon as you can after downing the last of your chosen brew. Cold tap water is fine. When you next do the dishes (by hand in the sink, not in the evil dishwasher, you know, cos of Global Warming {WOOOOOO!!! We’re all going to DIIIEEEEE!!} OK?), wash your glass first, before any dishes that might have last nights gravy stains and those unidentifiable bits left on the kids plates and use a bottle brush or cleanish wipe of some sort. Then rinse it in first warm then cool water until the water ‘sheets’ off the sides of the inside of the glass. Set aside and dry with a clean towel. Simple. If you are in a commercial bar, wait till tray is full, put tray in glasswasher, press ‘GO’ button and continue serving beers to punters.

So, make sure your glass is clean and your beer will have every chance of tasting just the way the brewer intended. Water and elbow grease will make it clean – of a sort – but detergent, rinsing and drying properly will make it beer clean.

“And keep you eye out on your mom!”

No, apologise to her; she was on the right track!

Prof. Pilsner


Anonymous said...

any truth to the beer myth that the Stein was invented as an alternative method of avoiding the "you don't know how to clean a beer glass" argument?

Beer Blokes said...

My research indicates that this may indeed be the case. I have found some history involving an Albert Stein who is credited with the invention of the stein. Apparently he hated clening beer glasses so much that he set about developing a vessel which would not show any marks and came up with the basic shape. Annoyed that Mrs Stein kept using it he added a decorative lid to hide the lipstick marks as well. A lazy bastard, he became famous in later years when he teamed up with fellow lazy bastard, Trevor Keg. The rest, as they say, is history.

And yes, I have checked my sources and have no reason to doubt their voracity.

And yes, I have checked that I can use the word 'voracity' on a beer blog.

Prof. Pilser

Anonymous said...

Oh thank God. Finally someone on my side: the side of hygiene and science.

Dr. Lager can read this and weep.

(With voracity. or veracity. or belief in the veracity of Global Warming...woooh!)

Beer Blokes said...

Hmmm. teacher, are you, Filager? It is vEracity, isn't i? Is vOracity the way in which fat people in McDonalds eat their McFat Snacks?!

I've known Dr Lager for forty years and the ONLY thing I know about him is that he don't change nuthin' he don't wanna change!

Lastly, is there any way we can tach kids at an early age to properly clean beer glasses and treat beer and its elements with respect? Would save a lot of grief and tax dollars down the track!