Despite the fact that my palate for exceptional beer has exponentially grown over the past few years (long gone are the days of slamming Natty and the Beast at parties), I still find myself pouring my beers into chilled pint glasses and mugs, naturally assuming that this was the most apropos way to consume craft beer goodness. It wasn’t until I had a brief hour session with some exceptionally engineered beer glasses with Matt Rutkowski, Vice President of Spiegelau Glassworks, that I have come to the very strong conclusion that I’ve been drinking beer all wrong.
For a long, long time now.
Matt held a short seminar at the Craft Brewers Conference on how to appropriately consume beer, because in the eyes of Spiegelau, the glass you use makes a world of difference. A part of the seminar was introducing Spiegelau, Dogfish Head Brewery, and the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co’s latest labor of love: a set of glasses engineered and designed specifically to unlock the true taste of a beer. The glasses were divided into five separate classes of beer: a glass for wheat beer, a glass for a tall pilsner, a glass for lager, a glass for IPA’s, and a beer tulip for the ports and stouts fans.
I picked up a wealth of knowledge from the beer tasting and discussion, but here are the few main takeaways I walked away with:
- Everybody doesn’t give glass enough credit – The design, shape, and ingredients that go into crafting the glass you drink beer out of is almost as important as the beer itself since it has an overwhelmingly high influence on how you drink the beer.
- The thicker the glass, the more it will rob you of your beer experience – I’ve always guzzled beer under the assumption that the thicker and colder the glass, the better my beer must taste. This is a rather unfortunate misconception that most people have. In fact, the thicker the glass the quicker the beer will go flat and warm since the glass will try to reach a temperature equilibrium quickly with it surroundings, meaning the glass will go cold but your beer will go warm. This also means your beer will go flat much quicker too.
- Pint glasses are probably some of the worst glasses to drink out of, only beaten by glass mugs – Pint glasses are cheap, effective ways for bars to serve beer, but they are incredibly porous and have a knack of containing contaminants that disrupt your beer experience and causes your beer to lose CO2 quickly
So I suppose I might as well cut to the chase: I had a chance to try some of the Spiegelau beer glasses (we even used a typical bar pint glass as reference with each beer sample), and I can safely say that I will stay as far away from pints and mugs from now on when I drink my beer.
The real stand-out glass was the IPA (which also looked the funkiest of them all), and it simply blew my mind away. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted the exact same IPA out of two different glasses with such heavy contrast as I did with the Spiegelau glass. I mean, literally, I poured the same bottle of beer into a pint glass and into the Spiegelau, and the differences in taste were unreal.
Again, I have to clear the air and say that I’m not your typical fanboy that quickly jumps on a bandwagon just because somebody is giving me something for free (timeshare salesmen HATE me), but I have to give it to Spiegelau, Sierra Nevada, and Dogfish Head for creating some exceptionally well designed glasses.
Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the glasses don’t go on sale for retail until May, but at least you’ll have something to look forward to when it comes to blasting back some fantastic craft brewed summer ales.
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