The shape of your beer glass affects your grip, of course. But it also affects the way that the bubbles in the liquid behave. And now it turns out that beer glass shape can even influence how fast you down your alcoholic beverage.
To see how glass shape affected drinking speed, 160 self-described social drinkers watched a nature documentary while they consumed refreshments from glasses with either straight edges or curved ones. The glasses with curved edges were larger at the top than the bottom, so they held a greater volume in the top half. And researchers found that when drinking beer from these glasses, subjects finished 60 percent faster than drinkers who used straight-sided glasses.
The researchers surmise that while drinking alcohol, people pace themselves based on when they reach the halfway point of a glass. (When participants drank soda instead of beer, the shape of the glass had no significant effect on drinking speed.) But drinkers failed to accurately estimate the halfway point on curved-edge drinking glasses, and so they slurped up a greater quantity of alcohol faster.
In support of the halfway-point theory, participants who only received half a glass of lager seemed immune to the effect of the glass’s shape, presumably because they did not rely on the glass’s halfway point to judge how much alcohol they had consumed. Or maybe they just wanted to nurse their tiny beers for as long as possible.