Have you ever opened a beer, poured it into the glass, and then watched as the foam slowly dissipated?
You're probably going to keep your beer in the fridge before you pour it into your glass.
This is for a number of reasons:
- Keeping it cold will keep it fresher and make sure that the taste remains as good as possible.
- Keeping it fresh will protect you from getting sick from any bacteria or other contaminants that might be in there.
- Keeping your beers safe helps them to last longer.
The inner walls of a glass transfer heat from the beer to your hand.
You might have noticed that your beer is much colder when you drink from a glass than from a metal or plastic cup. That’s because the walls of the glass are better at insulating your hand from heat than those other materials.
The reason for this has to do with the properties of these different materials: Glass is an excellent insulator, meaning it resists transferring energy through its surface. This makes sense—if you've ever been to a museum or art gallery and seen something displayed in front of a window on a hot day, it's obvious how good glass can keep things cool! In contrast, water is not so great at being an insulator (which explains why we put our drinks on ice). Air isn't very good either—but fortunately for us as drinkers, air doesn't come into contact with our drinks' containers as much as foam and paper do!
Glass is lighter than you think.
You might think that glass is a heavy material, but you'd be wrong. Glass is actually one of the lightest materials you can find in nature. It does get heavier when it's been made into a beer glass and filled with beer—but not by much! So don't worry about having to carry your beer around with two hands if you're using a thin glass. You'll be able to grip it easily with one hand (or maybe even just your fingertips).
A fancy glass will probably have a narrower "waist" on it.
A fancy beer glass is going to have a narrower waist than a regular beer glass. The reason this helps keep your beer cold is because the narrower waist means less surface area, and less surface area means less heat transfer. Less heat transfer also means cooler beer. As an example of this phenomenon, take a look at your favorite tulip-shaped wine glass. It likely has a very narrow waist (the part between the top of the bulb and the bottom of the bowl) because it's designed to retain heat in its narrow base while keeping liquid cool in its bulbous upper half.
It's all about surface area.
So why isn't a thin beer glass the best material for cooling your beverage? The answer has to do with surface area, which is basically the amount of space that something takes up. When it comes to temperature, the more surface area you have, the more heat can be transferred from one object or body to another. That's why, if you're baking in an oven and want your cake batter to bake evenly across its surface, you should spread it out on a large baking sheet rather than put it in a small bowl.
Similarly in this case: If you pour beer into a shallow container—say, a tall skinny mug—you'll lose some of your drink before even taking a sip because there's not enough room for all of it at once (the same principle applies if we're talking about pouring water into something like an ice cube tray). On top of that factor: A thicker glass won't transfer as much heat through its walls due to their extra thickness (and therefore height).
In general, a thinner glass will keep your beer cooler, longer.
But what does that mean?
Well, the way I see it, when you pour yourself a nice cold pint of beer and set it down on the table next to you, there are four ways that heat can escape:
- The glass transfers some of its heat to your hand and fingers.
- The air transfers some of its heat into your hand as well as evaporating more moisture from inside the glass itself (this process is called "condensation").
- The table transfers some of its heat into your leg or lap area if it's hot out and there's no fan blowing in front of you (or if you're sitting near an open window). And finally:
- The floor transfers some of its heat through conduction into people who are wearing flip-flops or sandals like me!
If you're just looking to chill your beer as fast as possible, then go ahead and use a thicker glass. But if you're trying to keep that ice cold feeling in your mouth longer than usual, then we recommend getting yourself some thinner glasses.