A wide mouth, a sculptured body and an invitation to lose yourself in an overpowering experience – Are we talking about getting physical here? Yes indeed, when it comes to drinking great beer out of a majestic beer goblet or chalice. This is the moment for re-enacting medieval scenes of glory and heroism. Think of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Cup your hands around an epic, long stemmed goblet or its cousin, the hunkier beer chalice, raise it to the heavens in homage to the beer you are about to sup. And you can become Arthur (or Andrea, Abigail, Al or whoever) with your Friends of the Living Room Table. Read on for how to set about it!
Goblets and Chalices for Treating Your Beer like Royalty
The basic characteristic of these beer glasses is their large bowl shape and their stems. That means they are suited to heavier beers to be sipped and savored. The wide surface area at the top encourages the heady aromas of strong Belgian ales, German Bocks and Imperial IPAs to rise from the beer below. You can then delicately poke your nose into the top of the glass (but not into the beer) and get full olfactory satisfaction first, before proceeding to gustative gratification through drinking.
Variations on this theme include the thickness of the walls of the glass (chalices are heavier and thicker), and their decoration. Rims may be silver or gold; pick the color that matches your crown, or failing that, your favorite beer. Some are etched on the inside of the glass to create nucleation points for CO2 (that’s “eternal fountains of effervescence” in King Arthur’s language). A stream of bubbles then rises continuously to the top of the beer, where it helps maintain the beer’s head.
The Chimay Chalice Glass
You know this beer chalice is the chalice for drinking world-famous Chimay beer, because it says “Chimay” in big letters on the side. However, Belgians have big hearts and won’t take it amiss if you use your Chimay Chalice for drinking other “big beers” of quality. Belgian Dubbels, Tripels and Quadrupels, as well as Berliner Weissbier and Imperial Stouts are all possibilities. Just make sure all beers kneel down in reverence before entering the straight walls of this hallowed chalice (OK, just kidding).
Rochefort Trappist Glass Chalice
An authentic Trappist beer must be brewed within a Trappist monastery and supervised by the monastic community. Think of “Champagne” for example, where only real champagnes from the Champagne region of France have the right to use the name. It’s the same with “Trappist” beers. Rochefort Trappist beer (like Chimay above and Orval below) is one of the few beers in the world that can use the appellation “Trappist”. Remember this while you listen to Gregorian chants, sip your beer and admire the fine gold stenciling of the “Trappistes Rochefort” name on this attractive, slightly convex chalice.
Saint Bernardus Beer Chalice Glass
The Saint Bernardus Chalice glass accentuates the convexity already present in the Rochefort Chalice (above). The spherical shape slows the release of the beer’s aroma. The sphere is the shape that has the least surface area for a given volume. But is it a real Saint Bernardus glass, sanctioned and approved by the historic Belgian brewery of the same name? Yes indeed, because it bears the official seal as well as the Saint Bernardus name.
Dogfish Head Goblet Glass
Yo, Dogfish Brewery and beer goblets, keepin’ it real! This goblet glass has its origins in Delaware, US. It has the Dogfish logo front and center, a 12 ounce pour line inscribed at the back (no short measures here!) and “Dogfish Head Craft Brewery” on the base. There’s also a tiny DFH logo etched by laser (Arthur, think of ‘laser’ as a ‘sword of light that doth write symbols of magick’) for nucleation.
Orval Belgian Silver Rimmed Beer Chalice
The Orval Chalice is closer to its compatriot the Chimay Chalice in shape. While starting with a convex bowl lower down, it has straighter walls than the Rochefort or Saint Bernardus. It is shallower than the Chimay glass, and provides greater top surface area for a given quantity of beer. Go for the Orval beer chalice for those really heavy beers (like Orval) that need lots of topside room to express their aromas and to build a good head.
Kasteel Belgian Beer Chalice
This superior beer glass has not only the name of the Kasteel brewery stenciled on it, but also a picture of the brewery itself. With your Trappist ale, you now have everything you need to travel back in time to an era when dragons were fought, damsels were rescued and swords were plucked out of stones (Go, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Go!). With its hefty base, convex body and flared opening, look forward to yet another great ‘big beer’ experience.
With their innate beauty and centuries-old design, it’s clear that beer goblets also help to create a total beer-drinking experience. And, beyond even these historical associations, some users relate how such goblet and chalice-shaped vessels were part of a rite of passage in childhood. A child who successfully carried his or her goblet filled with iced tea (no beer for children!) to the adult’s table without spillage earned the right to sit with them. And today, with your own regal range of such beer glassware, you’ll really know that you’ve grown up.