Why you should serve Pilsner in a Champagne flute this Christmas

Sales of sparkling wine are set to reach dizzying heights in supermarkets as the UK clinks glasses to toast the festive season.

But those who prefer beer to Champagne or Prosecco shouldn’t feel left out. Beer fans should consider serving light lager-style beers such as Pilsner in a Champagne flute instead of a pint glass, according to Ed Hughes, the head beer sommelier at UK beer giant Sharp’s.

Rather than a traditional pint glass, Hughes said that the beer is perfect for finer glassware because of its capacity to carry lighter flavour notes compared to most beers.

“It allows the floral notes to really shine,” he said, adding that he believes much of the luxury we associate with Champagne and fine wines comes from the presentation itself.

“People naturally associate flutes with a sense of occasion,” said Hughes.

“If you just shift the presentation of a Pilsner slightly by serving it in smaller servings, it encourages the drinker to sip it slowly and really appreciate a more complex flavour profile.”

Hughes told the drinks business earlier this month that, while beer deserves its place at the table of Michelin-grade restaurants, part of the reason why it hasn’t garnered the same respect is its presentation.

“Beer has begun to move up in the ranks,” he said. “Obviously I would love to see more beers in Michelin-starred restaurants, and I think how we see it served is quite important.”

The suggestion comes as the UK beer giant has begun forging ties with drinks producers in a bid to raise the drinks profile in the luxury sector.

In 2016, Sharp’s partnered with Cornish sparkling wine maker Camel Valley to brew a Pilsner with light, floral notes specifically designed to be served in a flute, as well as also producing a hop-infused craft-style gin.

Three types of hops were used to create the gin – Crystal, Cascade and Pilot – which were distilled along with the original blend of botanicals for gin-maker Tarquin’s Cornish Gi in ‘Tamara’, Southwestern Distillery’s flame-fired copper still.

The beer sommelier added that cross-collaboration in the drinks industry is set to be one of the key trends to hit the UK beer market in 2018.

Collaboration between spirit-makers and brewers was also highlighted by retailer Waitrose as a major trend next year in its annual Food and Drinks report.

“We’re already seeing people like Glenfiddich and Jameson working with IPA casks,” he said. “Craft breweries regularly collaborate with each other, and it will be interesting to see how this spirit carries into more mainstream producers next year.”

Earlier this month, whiskey distiller Jameson began selling a new hybrid whiskey finished in IPA barrels, following a successful trial period in Ireland.

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