From the Food Editor: Choosing the right glass for the beer and the setting

Posted9/25/2012 6:00 AM
  • The right glass brings out the best in beer.

    The right glass brings out the best in beer. Courtesy of Spiegelau

  • This reusable Red Party Cup is great for fall tailgating.

    This reusable Red Party Cup is great for fall tailgating. Courtesy of Trudeau

Don't hoist a stein with your friends just yet. You put some time into finding the right Oktoberfest brew for the occasion, now make sure you have the perfect glass for enjoying that beer.

Like wine, beer tastes better when served from the right glass, says beer sommelier Matt Rutkowski, who happens to be the USA vice president for Spiegelau glassware.

Beers served in the wrong glasses do not fully release their sometimes delicate aromas, he says, and can taste bland and uninteresting. The wrong glass also can destroy the spritzy character of beer and let the foamy head go flat too soon.

So what's the right glass for the season's best brews? If a German-style pilsner is your favored quaff, opt for a tall classic pilsner shape (second from left). The shape enhances the color and stable head of this style. Pale lagers, British ales and hoppy India pale ales are better suited to the squattier lager glass.

If you're quenching your thirst with a Bavarian wheat beer, pick the tall, curvaceous wheat beer glass (far left) with a wide mouth that's good for showcasing lambics as well. Rutkowski recommends a tulip-shaped glass for bold beers like strong bocks, stouts and Belgian Trappist beers.

You can find Spiegelau beer connoisseur glasses at kitchenware stores and online retailers. A set of four costs about $40.

Clinking with plastic: Sometimes the setting demands something less refined than fine glassware. Like when you're tailgating before a football game or enjoying a family picnic. Those are the times when people break out a sleeve of iconic red Solo cups (or their generic equivalent).

While these cups certainly are convenient for instances like these, it has always bugged me that so many people toss these recyclable plastic cups in the trash. A Woodridge-based company responded with its Red Party Cup, a Solo look-alike made of heavier BPA-free plastic that's dishwasher safe. Instead of throwing it in the closest garbage can or recycling bin, you can use it again and again and again and again.

The 16-ounce cups are from Trudeau Corporation, a global supplier of kitchenware and tabletop accessories, and made right in St. Charles.

The Red Party Cup is sturdy and chip resistant, thanks to its double-wall insulation. It can be used for hot and cold beverages.

The Red Party Cup is available in stores nationwide as a single cup ($5.99), a four-pack ($19.99) or six-pack ($29.99). You can also find it online at Join the party at

Taking action to fight hunger: The Northern Illinois Food Bank has a series of events planned through the end of the week to mark Hunger Action Month. As the food bank reports, one in eight people in our community faces hunger.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, "Cooking with Your Kids," a cooking demonstration, will be held at the food bank's West suburban Center, 273 Dearborn Court, Geneva. On Saturday from 9 to 11:30 a.m., K-Hits Radio will be on site for a volunteer celebration.

In addition, you can take part in the organization's "Dine Out for Hunger" campaign by eating at California Pizza Kitchen (Warrenville, Deer Park, Oak Brook, Geneva), CityGate Grille (Naperville), Nancy's Pizza (Naperville, Bolingbrook), Penn Station (Lombard) and Sugar Toad (Naperville) through the end of the month.

You can also donate food and funds at all area Jewel-Osco stores through the end of the month or donate to the Santa's Village online food drive at Details on all Hunger Action Month events is at Details at

Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at Be her friend at or follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @PankeysPlate.

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