Move To Craft Beer Requires A New Approach To Glassware

Tabletop design from H. Weiss Company
Tabletop design from H. Weiss Company

I know this may come as a shock but I absolutely hate beer! I’ll admit I like to eat and I know there are a ton of amazing combinations that like beer and wings, beer and chili, beer and a burger. Things that are warm and cozy. Not to mention all of the amazing things you can cook with beer, but I digress.

Liz Weiss
Liz Weiss

I am going to take you through the different decisions an operator needs to know about beer, how to serve it, how to serve what you eat beer with, beer flights, and pairings. If you’ve been living under a rock you probably haven’t noticed that craft beer has taken over the food service industry. This craft beer movement has opened a door for new culinary opportunities. Restaurants and Bars are now focusing on what you eat with beer. Pairing a meal with a craft beer can be as complex as a sommelier finding you the right wine with your meal.

weiss_beerThe best answer I can give you is how to serve what you eat with your beer-whether it is an oval bowl with chili with a bread stick leaning out the side. Or a serving dish filled with stew, with the accouterments properly displayed. Sometimes it is the different way to serve the sides, like using a condiment caddy (Cal-Mil) with glass jars for individuals, or different height caddies on buffets. The possibilities are endless but if I know one thing its that lots of sides make everyone’s taste buds happy.

Beer can be crisp and light and go well with a cold soup in the warmer fall days. When a single bowl can hold soup with a large enough garnish that it makes it a meal. Fall colors bring out the colors on the trees and the bright white of porcelain china. Winter has richer colors like off white, Steelite and Lenox.

Now lets get into the beer itself. First of all, no mugs, its something of the past and we need to move on. Pub glasses, plain and simple are the cups for beer, sorry mugs. You can do a lot with a pub glass, you can etch it on the bottom and help develop the head, or put a logo on as a form of advertising. If you want a worthwhile product that’s a give-away that will help promote your brand, some factories have promos for free cresting or etching. It’s a unique and subtle way to get your name out there, plus its different then your average bevnap.

Crescent Duck 2016 Top

Now in all truth and honesty there are suppose to be different glasses for different beers. Not only does the glass signify the different type of beer being served, it also provides an aesthetic difference on the table. There are flutes that go good with lagers and more flavorful beers or a chalice for your IPA’s and ales. You can look at it the way that you look at mix and match dishes.

Unfortunately cheese doesn’t go with beer the way it goes with wine, in fact it doesn’t really go at all. In fact you might have to consider dealing with universal pairings when a customer orders a beer flight. Pairings can look like this, if the beer is clean and crisp compliment with some grainy but light on the palate like a creamy risotto. Fruity and Spicy should be paired with seafood like mussels. Hoppy and bitter would be paired with birds and grains. Beer used to be simple to pair with pretzels or wings. It is a new age for beer, so lets get with the times.

Liz Weiss is the President and co-owner of Armonk, NY based H. Weiss Co. She is known nationally as one of the nation’s foremost authorities on tabletop design. The Michigan State graduate is also actively involved with WPO-Women’s Presidents Organization. Comments may be sent to