As scientific research conducted at the University of Oxford has concluded that curved glasses ensure that ale tastes both fruitier and more intense, every serious ale drinker may soon be insisting their favourite drink is served in a very particular shaped glass.
53 volunteers were each given a sample of the same ale in two different glasses; one with completely straight sides and another which was curved at the top. They were each asked to rate the flavour of each ale and the results, which have been published in the Food Quality and Preference journal were somewhat surprising. Despite each ale being exactly the same, the volunteers stated that the ale served in the rounded glass was fruitier and significantly more flavourful.
How Rounded Glasses Enhance the Ale Experience
While it is not clear precisely why this is the case, researchers think it has something to do with our natural association of fruity flavours with round shapes. Also, beers with strong flavours already tend to be served in extremely curved glasses, so it seems that thought processes and connections made by our brains appear to affect our perceptions of taste. Rounded glasses can also significantly enhance the aroma of drinks, which also has a significant impact on how we ultimately perceive flavour.
Experimental psychologist Professor Charles Spence advises that all ale drinkers specifically seeking those fruity notes during their drinking experience use curved glasses at every opportunity. Establishments serving ale should therefore carefully consider whether their selection of glassware compliments their ales and, in turn, ensure their commercial warewashers such as those that can be seen here https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/bar-supplies/commercial-warewashers, leave those all-important glasses sparklingly clean for every customer’s tasting experience.
There has been a lot of research conducted into glassware’s impact on the flavour of various wines, but very little has been done into the impact on other drinks. Although Professor Spence discusses the impact of cultural associations, he also goes on to suggest that researchers think that by experimenting with more complexly shaped glasses, particular elements of more complicated beers could be emphasised and diminished. For example, Hoegaarden glasses have extremely angular lines, which could have the ability to emphasise more acidic flavours. This is exciting news for every ale fan, as the potential for an exceptionally personalised tasting experience is perhaps just on the horizon.