Since the old days, beer has always been considered a ‘manly’ drink. And with so many beer styles available on the market, never did anyone expect the relatively recent release of glitter beer. With ingredients described as “love and sparkles,” most people do not know what to expect until you look into your first glass of glitter beer.
Although glitter beer hasn’t won any prizes at the annual Great American Beer Festival, it did capture the audience’s attention and started gaining some popularity. It is different when you pour glitter beer at a beer festival or anywhere as people go nuts at the sight of the sparkly beer. People actually take time to appreciate glitter beer, spreading the word, taking selfies, rather than just chugging their pint, and moving on to the next one as people usually do.
Visuals in beer crafting
Although this is not the first time, brewers have understood the importance of visuals in crafting their beers. Take pilsner in the mid-19th century, for instance, as it gained popularity primarily due to its appearance.
Brewers have been experimenting with malt colors and “head gains” to make their beer more visually acceptable. It is the same with glitter beer, but sparklier.
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How is glitter beer made?
Here is all that you need to know before gulping down your first glitter beer drink.
Now, how did someone come up with glitter beer? Did he or she randomly find a box of arts and crafts glitter and decided to make beer sparkle? Thankfully, glitter beer uses “edible glitter” and not the usual type we use for arts and crafts. “Edible glitter” is further divided into two categories which are “edible” to describe glitter made solely from food products; and “non-toxic”, which simply just means they are not edible, but also will not harm you if you ingest it.
According to a “non-toxic” glitter manufacturer, their glitter “gives subtle color with a high sheen metallic-like finish. Contains two or more of the following: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Carmine, Mica. Not water soluble”.
Edible VS Non-toxic glitter
Understandably, the US Food and Drug Administration cannot stand behind this and warns that if a label simply claims it is “non-toxic” or for decorative purposes only, and does not come with an ingredients list, the product should not be used directly on foods. It’s why you need to look at whether the drink is FDA-approved before you buy one.
However, glitter beer brewers argue that the mica or oxides are from food-based substrates and not plastic. They also argue that the amount of glitter used in beers or other food products are considerably low, and there has been no research to show that anyone has actually gotten sick from ingesting ‘non-toxic’ glitter.
Amount of glitter matters
The finest glitter or “dust” is what is used in glitter beer, and it comes in various degree of coarseness, and experimenting brewers are beginning to realize that the amount of glitter makes the difference. So, do brewers dump glitter into the tank?
In fact, it is a huge challenge for glitter brewers that the glitter eventually ends up in unwanted places that are hard to clean and might eventually spoil the machinery. Instead, glitter is added meticulously to reach the right concentration and to prevent glitter from getting to unwanted places.
Glitter does not affect the taste of the beer. The dust particles are way too fine for our taste palates to detect the flavor. Therefore, the type of beer or ‘base’ has to be good enough to stand on its own. According to several glitter beer brewers, you need to have a strong beer base that you will build your glitter on. And after that, it is all in finding the right balance.
Glitter beer does not just stimulate your taste buds, but also your visuals, which is what makes it so unique in the first place. If you have never seen how glitter beer looks like, try imagining it, but make it ten times better. The tiny sparkles move with the currents in the beer as you swirl the glass, creating an impressive show of metallic sheen. Coming in various different bold, metallic sheen colors such as red, green, gold, etc., your mind tends to assume the taste of the beer according to what you see. But when you drink it, it tastes just like your usual favorite beer.
Barriers in large production of glitter beer
Nonetheless, several barriers hinder glitter beer production.
Firstly, glitter is expensive. It can cost between $300 to $900 just to make a small batch of glitter beer. This is because these glitters can now only be bought in small amounts online. And until brewers can find a cheaper source, glitter beer production is just not sustainable.
Secondly, the tiny particles of glitter tend to linger and get into places they should not. Unless a brewery has equipment solely to brew glitter beer, it would be hard to keep them from contaminating their non-glitter batches of beer. And a third challenge, keeping the glitter from settling.
Sometimes, the glitter might settle until the particles cannot be seen, taking away the glitter in glitter beer. To keep them from settling, the kegs need to be shaken a little, stirring up the glitter now and again. However, brewers are already experimenting with techniques to enhance floating.
Should you go for Glitter Beer?
You can, if you are looking to experiment. However, we wouldn’t recommend making it a daily affair.
As of now, glitter beer is still in its experimental phase, as brewers still have some important things to consider before releasing them on a commercial scale. So you won’t be finding it in your monthly beer subscription anytime soon either.
Nevertheless, the future of glitter beer does seem bright, as no one can resist to stop and awe at the sight of a sparkly beer.