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A Plea to Bars

6 February 2012

Last week, my wife and I met in Center City before heading to the Flyers disappointing shootout loss to the Jets.  We wanted to grab a quick drink and maybe a bite to eat before heading to the Wells Fargo Center to try to get a head-start on the long lines and overpriced swill they generally have at the stadium.  We stopped at the nearest bar that we thought wouldn’t be too happy hour crowded, Table 31 at the Comcast Center.  Things started off well: we grabbed a seat, my wife ordered a wine and salad, and I ordered a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, a classic I was looking forward to revisiting.  But then it happened.

The beer came out in a frosted glass.

This doesn’t happen often, so I generally don’t think to ask for a regular glass with my beer—I assume a place knows what they’re doing and will give me my beer in a room-temperature glass.  And most places I frequent—those being craft beer-centric bars who know a fair bit about the service they are providing—would never even think of serving beer in a frosted glass.

The reasons to shun this practice are twofold.  For one, the colder your beer is, the more it numbs your taste buds so you don’t get as much of the flavor as you can.  This, incidentally, is why some of the mass-produced crap in the world requires two levels of cold-sensing on the bottle and for their beer to be “as cold as the Rockies” before you should drink it—so you don’t taste it.  While ice-cold beer may be refreshing after mowing the lawn, if you want to taste any of it, it should be served at the proper temperature (which is not “super cold”).

The second reason is just as heinous as not being able to taste your beer: frosted glasses water it down.  The frost—or, in some even worse cases, full-on ice—has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is water vapor condensate frozen to your glass.  When the beer warms up this frozen water, it does the same thing as ice cubs floating in your soda—it melts.  And we all know the last few sips of soda are thin and not very tasty, because it’s mostly water from the melted ice cubes at that point.  This doesn’t happen on as drastic a scale with beer, but it happens.  Not to mention it happens on the outside of your glass as well and makes your hands wet, slippery, and prone to dropping glasses.

If I order a beer, and you bring it to me watered down and overly cold, it would be tantamount to me ordering a filet and receiving it well done and covered in A-1.  You’re not only killing the taste, you’re not respecting the product.  So, have a little respect—for the beer, for the consumer, for the guy who puts his heart and soul into making a quality beer—and stop frosting, cooling, or icing your glasses.  Or at least ask me before you start ruining my beer.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 7 February 2012 8:47 am

    You are only being served frosty glasses at my house from now on.

    Seriously, good post. A point not often considered. Prost!

    • Ryan permalink
      8 February 2012 5:42 am

      Thanks, Bean! But if you do serve me a frosty glass, I will find a way to ‘accidentally’ drop it.

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