Why the Shape Of Your Beer Glass Matters

published Sep 7, 2012
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

We know the shape of wine glasses matters, but does the shape really matter for beer glasses? Yes, it does, but not only for the reason you think.

Much like wine, the aroma, color, and taste of beer is affected as soon as it hits a glass. (That’s why, at a bar, you’ll often be served beer in brand-specific glasses.) But there’s another reason the glass shape matters. According to researchers at the University of Bristol, the shape of a beer glass can help regulate how quickly people drink.

The Economist reports that the study in question had 160 undergraduates (80 women and 80 men) drink beer out of a straight glass, out of a beer flute (which has sides that curve outward towards the rim), or drink lemonade from one of those two glasses. The researchers were interested in how quickly the beverages would be consumed. They found that a full straight glass of beer was finished in 11 minutes, while “a full flute, by contrast, was down the hatch in seven,” the same amount of time it took to drink a full glass of lemonade, regardless of the type of glass it was in.

So why is it that people end up drinking beer more quickly when they drink out of a curved flute rather than a straight glass?

[The] hypothesis is that a beer drinker, wishing to pace himself through an evening, is monitoring the volume remaining in the glass, probably with reference to the halfway mark… A curved-sided glass, though, makes exercising such judgment hard… Most volunteers thought the halfway mark in the flute was lower than its true value, and if a volunteer had drunk from such a glass originally, the degree of misestimation correlated with how fast he had drunk.

Interesting! Have you ever noticed that the pace at which you drink beer changes depending on the type of glass you’re using?

Read More: Shape Up | The Economist

(Image: Emma Christensen)