Beer is meant to be enjoyed on many levels. Don’t keep it bottled up and hidden away from sight. Do your beer justice by pouring it into a glass so you can gaze at its beauty. It’s more than just something to drink; it’s truly something to look at! Beer is beautiful, a work of art that requires all of your senses. So, open your eyes and start seeing beer.
On Crafty Beer Girls, we’ve explored the many facets of beer seeking to fully appreciate this godly fluid that brings so much joy to the world. Aroma, flavor, and mouthfeel all play important roles in our enjoyment of the beverage, but what about the visual experience? It’s probably the last thing we’re thinking about when it comes to cracking a beer, but our eyes give our brains a lot of input and weigh in on what we’re about consume whether we’re aware of it or not. A beautifully presented plate of food is much more appetizing than a mess of slop, no matter how delicious. Make sure you have good lighting while viewing your glass of beer. You’ll be surprised by what there is to notice!
The color of the beer depends on the type of malt used. During the malting process, barley is soaked in water, allowed to sprout, then dried and finished in a kiln. The longer and hotter the malt is kilned, the darker it becomes. Because the kilning process also greatly affects the flavor of the beer, its color will tell you a lot about how it will taste. The color of beer can range from a pale straw to black with shades of deep gold, amber, ruby, and brown in between. Beer can also get color from fruit or other additives. Hold your glass up to the afternoon sun and watch the colors pop. You may even notice an additional hue or tint as light illuminates your beer-filled glass.
A bright, clear, luminosity has long been a sign of a well-made beer. It takes skill and diligence for a brewer to achieve an impeccably clear beer. Even then, if beer is mishandled or allowed to age well past its prime, it may take on a bit of haze. Some unfiltered styles, like hefeweizen, witbier and Berliner weisse, are meant to have a cloudy or pearlescent characteristic, but there should never be “snowflakes” or particles floating around in your beer. A cold beer may have a little chill haze, but this doesn’t affect the flavor and should disappear as it warms. If the beer is dark in color, in may be difficult to determine the clarity, but if you hold it up to a good light source, you’ll probably still be able to see some light shining through.
The sudsy sparkling nature of beer is what really sets it apart from other beverages. Its distinctive protein configuration gives the beer body and a healthy amount of foam that will hopefully hang around through the duration of the drinking experience. That foam retention is usually a characteristic of a well-made beer (and a “beer clean” glass). Add to that a good amount of carbonation or CO², and you’ve got a bubbly, even creamy beverage that will certainly put a smile on your face. For this reason, it’s doubly important that you don’t drink from the bottle. Pouring the beer into a glass will allow the carbonation to release and activate a good long-lasting foamy head. That means you won’t want to be all prissy about your pour. If your goal is to pour the beer with as little foam as possible, you’re doing it wrong. Get fizzy with it! Notice the quality of the foam, its color, the size of the bubbles, and the lacy textures it leaves behind in your glass as you drink it down. It’s a beautiful thing!
Now that you know what a visual treat your beer can be, I hope you find yourself checking it out all the time. Go ahead and stare! I promise the beer will reward you with a little added pleasure and a deeper appreciation for it. Your love for beer need not be blind, for every beer has beauty, but not everyone sees it.