If you saw my recent piece about beer glassware, then you’ll remember that “beer clean” is a technical term for glassware that undergoes a proper washing with the right detergent at the right temperatures. It makes for a beer that not only looks great, but tastes great too.
So, perfect! Now you know exactly how a bar should clean your beer glass (and know if they didn’t). But some of you asked: since I don’t have the requisite three tub sink or a high heat dishwasher specifically used for beer glasses, how do I get the best beer clean glassware at my own home??
Great question! I’m ashamed to say that I’ve honestly never thought much about what I was doing to clean my beer glasses beyond air-drying. So, I took to Google. Unfortunately I found that there is not much advice out there for those of us who want perfect beer clean glassware at our home. Abita has some tips on their website, and certainly many of the same rules apply at home that do for a bar/restaurant. For example, air drying really is key, and should be done on a dishrack or somewhere that air will circulate. For quite some time now, we’ve washed all of our glasses by hand with regular old dish soap and a sponge, and let them air dry upside down. We mainly do this because we don’t want the logos to come off, but after doing some research I also learned that dishwasher detergent will ruin head/lacing on beer.
Don’t believe me? Below is a water glass we’ve had for at least five years that has gone through countless dishwashing rounds. This picture was taken immediately after being cleaned and dried in the dishwasher with regular old dishwasher detergent.
All that white residue will kill your beer.
Since our beer glasses never seemed really “beer clean” I started reading and experimenting with different techniques. I came up with my own ways to get near-perfect beer clean glassware at home without going to ridiculous extremes.
Here are my personal tips and tricks:
- Always hand wash your beer glasses.
- If possible, use a sudless detergent to clean them. A tiny bit of OxiClean will work wonders, and Realbeer.com even recommends using some baking soda if your glasses are in rough shape to start.
- It’s best to clean glasses immediately after use since they will be easier to clean. If you forget and end up with a glass full of dried beer residue, soak first in hot water to loosen it up.
- Use a dedicated scrub brush or sponge for all of your beer glasses. Do NOT use the same sponge you use for the rest of your food or you risk leaving trace amounts of oil and food that will hurt head retention, lacing and may leave a gross smell in your beer.
- Use filtered water if at all possible. It will help prevent hard water spots that will ruin head formation, retention, and lacing.
- Once scrubbed thoroughly, inside and out, rinse detergent off completely with very hot water.
- Dry glasses upside down on a rack where the glass can get plenty of air circulated around it.
- You can dry the outside of the glass with a CLEAN towel, but I don’t really think this is necessary. Never dry the inside, or tiny pieces of lint will likely stick. Unless you have a microfiber cloth, I would just air dry.
- If you want to use the glass you just cleaned to pour a beer into, rinse it with cold water and shake out the excess water. You’ll notice many better beer bars rinse out their glassware before use, and there are a few reasons they do this: the glass is warm and needs to be cooled down, they want to make sure any sanitizer is completely rinsed from the glass, and head retention and lacing can actually be improved by rinsing first.
Now sit back and enjoy your beautiful, “beer clean” pint in the comfort of your own home.