Beer Banter

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A Guide to Proper Beer Glassware: Goblet

A Guide to Proper Beer Glassware: Goblet

One of the most standout glasses in the beer drinking world is the goblet glass. There isn't a single glass to my knowledge that makes the drinker feel like Arthurian (or maybe Lannisterian?) royalty. It seems to instantly create a posh atmosphere just by being placed on the table.

Despite its modern “high-class” connotations, the goblet existed since approximately the the fourth century BC. It literally means a drinking vessel with no handles and a stem, and the earliest goblets were made of clay and wood. The goblet earned much of its important airs due largely to its association with religious practice and myth, such as the Holy Grail. 

The word has since evolved to mean the gilded or glass stemmed vessel that is bowl shaped with a rim that tapers slightly down to a stem, but it has retained its cultural significance and is still used in religious ceremonies to this day.

Largely due to their origins, goblets and chalices are the true models of the beer glass world. They vary greatly in style other than their basic form. They range from short or long stemmed, thick (goblet proper) or thin walled (chalice), and often have textured walls.

The glass itself looks like a work of art, with the styles again ranging from simple and elegant to intricate and delicate. Even the simplest, most utilitarian version of the goblet glass looks far fancier than its pub glass counterpart. It is absolutely gorgeous glassware that seems to demand an air of posh pretension when used.

Goblets are designed largely for beer presentation as the textured walls create a nucleation point so CO2 can steadily put on a show as it rises to the top and maintains a head. The glasses are usually less than 12 ounces, which encourage sips and more savoring of the beer. The wider mouth also adds surface area to release the aromas of the usually aromatic beer drunk from a goblet.

Thus, they also lend themselves to “fancy” darker, high alcohol, sipping beers, such as dark ales, strong lagers, Belgians and Belgian Dubbels. 

Take, for example, Ommegang's Abbey Ale. The Abbey Ale is incredibly aromatic and much of the experience would be lost if one were to drink it from the bottle or a narrow-rimmed glass. Further, the Abbey Ale is predominantly a sipping beer. It boasts an 8 percent alcohol content and complex flavor consisting of rich malty notes, spices, and, depending on whether it was aged well, fig or caramel notes.

It makes perfect sense: an ale as complex, rich and high quality as the Abbey Ale demands a glass that matches its high-class flavor profile. And the goblet is the perfect choice.

Before I start slipping further into pretension and before it sounds like I'm talking about wine rather than beer, I want to ask all of you what you think of the goblet glass. How often do you drink from one, have you ever drunk from one, and will you be planning to try a Belgian Dubbel in one? I'd love to know!

Stephen Pendergast
Stephen Pendergast

Steve Pendergast is a beer and food enthusiast. After going to school in Albany, he's split his time between drinking beer and writing about it. He's always searching for a new craft beer to try, and loves finding the local brewpub to immerse himself in the unique taste that each town develops. When he's not writing or reading, you can be sure to find him sitting by a campfire with a bottle of Green Blaze in hand or hiking whatever mountains are close at hand.

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