This piece originally appeared on VinePair.
As anti-snobs, we’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no need to purchase ultra-specific glassware in order to enjoy a drink. For instance, as long as you have a good set of wine glasses, you don’t have to buy Bordeaux glasses and white wine glasses (though if you want to, go for it!). However, there is a certain science to glassware that makes some booze vessels preferable to others. The famed pint glass, however, is not one of these.
You’ve probably drank beer from a pint glass before. In case you’re unfamiliar, it’s a long, tall, straight glass. Many a bar will serve up your beer in a pint glass. That’s what beer is supposed to be served in, right? Well, maybe not. The pint glass is actually a shaker pint, often used in conjunction with a metal shaker to create cocktails. However, the shaker pint isn’t great for beer. Here’s why.
When you pour beer into a shaker pint, the large surface area of the glass makes the head (a.k.a beer foam) disappear quicker. Contrary to what you might think, beer foam is actually a good thing. Moreover, because there’s no stem on a shaker pint, your hands will grip the glass directly and you’ll end up warming up your beer. So why have shaker pints been used to serve beer for so long?
Zach Mack, owner of NYC’s craft beer bar and store Alphabet City Beer Co., says use of the shaker pint as a beer glass was a result of happenstance. Shakers have always been around at bars for obvious reasons, and they’re convenient to store and hardy. At some point, they began to have dual usage as equipment and beer vessels. So there you have it: as is the case with so many traditions, serving beer in a shaker pint started for unremarkable reasons.
So what should you serve your beer in? As is the case for wine, there are different glasses for different types of beer. While you can certainly explore these choices, if you don’t want to go out and buy a new set of glassware you can easily pour your beer into a wine glass. It has a good gripping stem to keep your hand away from the goblet, and a nice open mouth to let you enjoy the pleasant beer smells. If you’re really feeling your pint shaker, have no fear, it still has some use (besides shaking cocktails). Let’s say your beer has an intense smell that you’d rather do without (or do with less of). The pint shaker can take the beer funk from extreme to mild, leaving you with a tasty but tamed pint.