Sunday, May 18, 2014

Spiegelau IPA Glass and Stout Glass, Does It Really Make a Difference?

Like me, you may have recently seen an article about some newly designed beer glasses by the German glass makers Spiegelau. Alternately, if you frequent a site like Untappd, you may have started seeing pictures of IPA's and stouts in some radically different looking beer glasses. It is my understanding they were designed in conjunction with several American craft brewers, and you can buy the glasses on the Sierra Nevada, Left Hand Brewing, and Rogue websites, among others.  So of course, the questions arises, do these fancy new glasses really make a difference? I was going to put off trying them, but at only $9.00 each on the brewery sties (more expensive elsewhere), I just couldn't wait. They are designed to increase aroma, head retention and flavor delivery by nuances to the shape of the glass.  

I tried the IPA glass first, and then the stout glass and did each one head to head against my regular tulip for the IPA and against my regular nonic type stout glass. So, do they work?  The answer is absolutely yes, they do heighten and improve the experience of the beer. 

IPA glass – The aromas and taste are magnified, sharper, clearer, and much brighter. The head retention is much better in the special glass. The mouthfeel retains the carbonation about the same, but the head retention makes the beer out of the special glass fuller, smoother and rounder in addition to the carbonation. There is more lacing in the special glass as well. The difference seems small at first, but if you go back and forth from glass to glass, the difference gets stronger and more noticeable as you go through the beers.  The special glass retains the initial intensity of the beer throughout, it does not fade.  

Stout glass - The special stout glass has all of the same effects. It magnifies everything, clarifies everything, the aroma and taste are both brighter, cleaner, bolder, more intense. Again, better head retention, the head “refills” itself after each drink, and the beer drinks more creamy and smooth out of the special glass. This glass is also surprisingly light, it still surprises me each time I pick it up when it is empty.

Well designed, well done, these really do make a difference!

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