...Or Lower Grips For Stability and Accessibility?

Josh Augustine, August 12, 2014

If you keep the beer safe and keep the beer moving, you won’t need to worry about it getting too warm. At least, that was my initial reaction to observing BeerGraphs Editor-In-Chief Eno Sarris’ choice to hold his beer glasses toward the top, away from the beer as much as possible. “But you’re not a big, dumb, clumsy idiot, viable at any moment to drop a thing that is being held so precariously?” I thought to myself. “What is that even like?” was my followup internal speculation.

I decided, perhaps partly as a sort of counterpoint, but moreso as a simple expansion of beer-grip sample size, to observe myself drinking beer, as objectively as I possibly could. It was difficult to not simply grab glasses in ways that my preconceptions suggested that I do anyway and observe away, but I did my best to catch myself in situations where I would mindlessly grab my drink in a way that is natural to me.

Pint glass grip:


Snifter grip:


Tulip grip:


First, notice the almost complete lack of platoon splits between the left and the right hand. The most stark handedness difference is with the tulip glass, where the ring finger and pinky are both on the same side of the stem with the left hand.

It’s clear that I favor a low-on-the-glass grip. For the rounded glasses, such as the snifter and tulip, I tend to arrange my fingers in an almost circular pattern around the most bulbous part of the glass, gripping with the upper third of my fingers. This, in my experience, allows for secure and stable glass control. And then with the bottle (see header image) and standard pint, the pinky finger is hooked underneath the base of the vessel, while force is applied in as many directions as possible using the midsection of the remaining fingers. Not only does this positioning keep said vessel securely in my grip, it also allows an easy transition to the sipping motion, with virtually no repositioning of the hands necessary.

But what about the temperature? A close look reveals that I don’t actually appear to completely eschew temperature maintenance. The high fingertip application on the globe and tulip glasses results in there being a gap between the glass and the palm, so the total contact surface remains relatively small. This effect is less pronounced with the bottle and the pint glass, but there’s still evidence that the surface area of contact is far less than the entire palm.

So which methodology is better? Is there such a thing as one being better than the other? If you’re getting the beer to your gullet and enjoying the process of doing so, isn’t that the part that really matters? You paid for the beer, after all, drink it however you like! But in the interest of dragging out this gag just a bit longer, stay tuned for a touch of what might loosely be defined as “science.”

Josh Augustine mentions baseball, beer, sandwiches, and general whimsy on Twitter, and pretty much sticks to just beer on untappd.