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This year's Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is being held on October 2-4 in Denver, Colorado, and features an array of sponsors including Glass Is Life as one of the Premier Supporters. So who are Glass Is Life?

The use of Glass in the Craft Beer industry

This post brought to you by Glass Is Life. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Beer Infinity.

This year’s Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is being held on October 2-4 in Denver, Colorado, and features an array of sponsors including Glass Is Life as one of the Premier Supporters.

So who are Glass Is Life? Well they are a group of people committed to the promotion of glass in our lives. As Craft Beer enthusiasts we regularly encounter the use of glass whilst indulging in our passion whether it is used for drinking glasses, bottled beers, or take-out growlers.

The benefits of using glass for drinking glasses include:

  • Being tasteless and inert so it does not impart any flavors to either the beer itself or your lips.
  • You can appreciate the clarity and color of the beer as well as see the carbonation if drinking from a clear glass.
  • Head retention is not affected providing the glass has been properly cleaned. The clarity of the glass can help with the verification that the glass has been thoroughly cleaned.
  • Pre-cooling or freezing glasses can help Pilsners and Lagers stay cool longer in hot climates but if too cold this can initially supress some of the flavors and aromas.

Using glass bottles or growlers for packaging has the following advantages:

  • The benefit of being tasteless and inert also applies here with the packaging not imparting any flavors into the beer.
  • Providing brown glass is used then ultra violet light penetration is reduced and helps avoid the degredation of the hops which can lead to off-flavors known as ‘skunking’ of the beer.
  • Bottles help preserve the freshness of beer providing appropriate refrigeration is used.
  • Glass does not degrade within the lifetime of one or multiple beers.
  • Once carbonated or bottle conditioned and then capped with either a twist-lock or crown cap the CO2 is retained within the beer.
  • Glass forms an oxygen barrier which if allowed to reach the beer can impact the flavor as well as the shelf-life.
  • Both types of vessels can be reused or recycled.

Glasses, bottles and growlers are made from one of the most abundant substances on the planet, namely sand, with the addition of limestone and soda ash. This makes the material environmentally friendly to use.

I personally am really fond of Belgian beers and my all-time favorite is Westvleteren 12 which is a Trappiste beer that is a Belgian Dark Strong Ale by style and has an ABV of around 10.5%. As is the case with many Belgian beers they are highly carbonated and often bottle conditioned which means a strong bottle needs to be used to contain the pressure. Also with this being a beer that is strong in alcohol and can benefit from ageing the bottle used by the Westvleteren brewery is also a dark brown to minimize light penetration.

So the next time you are drinking your favorite glass of craft beer, or opening a bottle or growler of your go-to IPA, Pale Ale, Pilsner or Stout take a moment to think about how it reached you from a packaging or serving perspective… Cheers!

For further information on Glass Is Life check out these links:

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