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Pilsner glass, by Ritzenhoff, with art-decorated theme

Seems drinking beer out of a can or bottle is becoming practically medieval.

But wait a minute… didn’t all those medieval taverns in Europe serve beer in a mug?

Yes, Americans are being influenced by long-standing European trends to pour beer into a glass or mug. But not just any vessel will do… the right glass is starting to matter, at least to some. The thinking goes that the shape of  the glass enhances specific aromas or characteristics of the beer, just like specific stemware shapes enhance specific varieties of grapes. 

A number of glassware companies got on board with this trend about 2 years ago. But the news here is that sales are

Mikasa's Brewmasters Collection, a set of four glasses for Pilsner, Wheat, Stout and Ale beers. Sales from 2008 to 2009 more than tripled.

brisk and growing, even in a slow economy… including multi-packs that include up to four different types of beer glasses. For those of you with a hard-to-buy-for male in your life or a bridal gift dilemma in your future, beer glasses may be just the thing. 

So how did this happen, some beer drinkers might be asking. And why?

More people entertaining at home. Seems no one can afford to eat out and save for retirement.

Pressure on beer drinkers by newly educated wine drinkers to belly up, or come to the party, so to speak, with a little more sophistication. Savvy wine folks are clearly embarrassed setting their carefully-selected wine glass down next to a beer can.

A microbrewery trend, including a host of independent American brewers making their own beers and an infusion of European beers and Belgian ales.

Some seriously savvy marketing by European beer makers, including giving away specifically shaped glassware with their logos on them, along with how-to-pour information on the back of the bottle.

Pilsner glass, Crate and Barrel

Beer education sites such as www.beeradvocates.com and www.beertaptv.com, and beer-centric magazines such as Cheers.

If you’re not up for spending the money on… or allocating an entire shelf to a complete varietal collection of beer glasses, opt for a Pilsner glass. It’s the top seller and a good all-round choice.

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