Monday, February 11, 2013

Glass Blast

If you haven't figured it out already, I'm not a purist by any stretch of the definition. There's a thing to be said about diminishing returns. If there's a drop of beer left in the cup when you go to fill it with a different beer? So what? The solution is dilution. It wont make a difference. I'm not saying mix beers half and half, but a drop won't throw of a pint of beer.

In some ways, it's the same with glasses. Most of my glasses are the standard "pint" glass. There's really nothing special about the traditional pint glass. It's meant to serve a pint of beer, and that's about it. I don't usually make it a point to pull a special glass for a certain kind of beer.

It does have it's merits however. Good glassware is key to fully appreciating a beer. Some glasses present aroma, some allow for the release of carbonation, others for delivering mass quantities to its owner. I came across this article in the LA Times this week. They've come up with a brand new glass for India Pale Ales, the beer which is currently making waves in the nation. The local hipster would tell you they liked it before it became popular. Feel free to punch him in his dumb looking glasses and hang him from his trendy scarf.

Let's go over a few glasses, shall we?

Your Pint Glass is your standard beer delivery device. Every bar has them. If you haven't held one, I doubt you've ever had a beer from the tap. There's nothing special to see here really, open top lets out aroma, thick sides prevent your hands from warming the glass too quick.

This is the Pilsner Glass. Typically taller, but will contain a little less beer. Used for Pilsner, the tall glass accentuates the color, clarity, and carbonation of the beer, while the wider top will maintain a good head. A new trend as of late features laser etching (nucleation site) at the bottom of the glass for a place for bubbles to start forming. It creates a nice effect for these typically high carbonated beers.

A Snifter is probably the most fun glass to pronounce. It also has a hint of a snobby background. Typically used by British rich folk to drink Brandy (stored in a globe) while planning the next battle strategy. Really though, the snifter has its applications with your typically high gravity and thick beers like Barleywines and Imperial anythings. The wide bowl with narrow top traps the aromatics, gives you plenty of room for swirling (releasing more aroma). On top of that, when you hold it in the palm of your hand, the warmth of your hand causes the release even more aroma. 

Welcome the new IPA Glass! Thanks to the help of some of the leading hop heads like Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head) and Ken Grossman (Sierra Nevada), the company Spiegelau has delivered this new glassware. The ridges in the sides are meant to aerate the beer, making it release extra aroma. The slender shape amplifies the aroma into a hop smokestack. The wide opening also lends to shoving your nose into the glass for, once again, more aroma. Even the material the glass is made out of is meant to sustain a good head and carbonation.

DAS BOOT (Actually 'The Boat' in German). Probably the most unique and most likely to make someone scratch their head. The boot is a peculiar thing, and the history of it has a few interpretations. The one I like the most is a German general promised his troops he would drink beer from his boot if they were successful. The general kept his promise by getting a glass maker to make a glass boot and drink from that. I've heard these boots being anywhere from a half liter up to 3 liters. What other purpose can this have other than to promote drinking mass quantities of beer??? DRINK UP!!

Have a favorite glass you'd like to talk about? Let us know! Post below!

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