Show me your Pewter Tankard!

During a recent visit to Galveston, I came across this beautiful piece of beer drinkware, a pewter tankard. I found it at a pretty legit antique store in the downtown area and purchased it in good condition for ~$5 (similar ones seem to be going for around~$10 on ebay)! As pictured, it’s a pretty basic design, modern pewter walls along with a glass bottom. I thought this was odd at first, but upon doing a bit of research, I discovered a large history and mythology surrounding this feature. Supposedly, the glass bottom provided a window to see through while taking a sip to avoid an unseen malicious attack in a bar or pub. Whether this is true (or not more likely), it’s a rather convenient feature for color and clarity observation.

When I got back to Austin, I gave it a good cleaning and couldn’t help but giving it a spin. Digging around in my fridge, I found a Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale (one of my favorite British brown ales) and gave it a good pour into the tankard. One of the things I discovered is that pouring into a pewter tankard generates a massive, pillow-y head compared to the same beer in a standard English nonic glass. I suspect that the material (pewter vs. glass) has a bit to do with it as well as its narrowing opening, funneling the head. The beer tasted more or less the same as in glass, although touching lips to pewter is slightly odd at first. Overall, while I likely won’t use it for everyday beer consumption, but it’s a pretty piece of beer gear of which I’m very happy!

Do you have a pewter tankard, and do you drink beer from it? Cheers and happy brewing!

2 thoughts on “Show me your Pewter Tankard!

  1. I love pewter tankards, but was interested to hear your thoughts about temperature affecting the metallic taste. I’ ve never noticed a metallic taste at all, but then I do generally drink beer at room temperature (or just a bit below). Research needed on my part too!

    I did want to warn you and your readers to be careful to drink (regularly) only from modern pewter. Antique pewter can contain lead, which can slowly dissolve in beer and isn’t good for you at all. Modern pewter is lead free and you don’t need to worry about it at all.

    • Sorry for the delayed reply. I’ve updated the post recently. I’ve used this tankard on and off over the years and haven’t been able to replicate the metallic taste first observed, which means makes me think that this off-flavor originated from the beer not the tankard. Also since this comment, I found various markings on the bottom of the tankard, and with a bit of research to the manufacture, found that it is made of modern pewter (without the lead). Thanks for reading; cheers!

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