Endless Beers: What Difference Does a Glass Make?

stoutglassIPA Glass

Hopefully most of our readers have finally bought in to the #drinkcraftbeer movement. Really, it’s not even a movement, but common sense. Why would anyone pay to drink something that tastes like (a) nothing, (b) pee, or (c) crap? You wouldn’t. So the next step in becoming an all-out beer snob is to drink beer from a GLASS, not the bottle or can. I originally thought the whole experience of picking glassware depending on the kind of beer was a gimmick. However, after testing various Spiegelau glasses out, I’ve changed my tune.

First of all, the main reason behind drinking your suds from a glass rather than the bottle or can is to get the aroma of the beer and to allow it to properly carbonate. The aroma will indeed change the taste of the beer – typically heightening your senses as you indulge in a cold one. Typically, I’ll just pour it into a pint glass no matter what kind of beer, and enjoy. But there are different and innovative ways to drink our beer now. Here are two taste tests (I know…my work is difficult) of the latest innovative beer glass collaborations.

The Glasses:

In collaboration with Left Hand Brewing Company, and Rogue Brewing Company, Spiegelau designed the “World’s First Stout Glass.” I’ve been used to drinking my stouts out of their tulip glass (which has been quite tasty and done the trick), but this glass allegedly gives a better taste the the trusted tulip glass. This specific glass is supposed to highlight the sweet, roasted malt profiles of stouts. In addition to the stout glass, Spiegelau collaborated with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada to create a glass that features the aromas of hops and the frothy head of a good IPA.  As Spiegelau puts it, the intent is to accentuate the flavor profiles of a “hop forward” IPA.

The Test: 

Rather than beginning by putting the intended beers in the intended glass, I did the opposite. With a friend/witness to confirm the tastes and validate the results. I started off with a Rogue Chocolate Stout in the IPA glass. The flavor profile of a stout was there, but nothing specific stood out. I did think that a tulip glass may have done the brew more justice  – I didn’t get as much of the chocolate malt flavor that I enjoy from the beer – the carbonation almost took over. Next, I had a Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA in the stout glass. Nothing special – typical IPA. I didn’t get any highlighted tastes or aromas out of it. That is not to say it was not still delicious.

Next, I put the chocolate stout into the stout glass. I noticed a difference in the head right away. It was not as fluffy, light and carbonated as it was in the IPA glass. I also did notice a slight difference in the flavor profile. I got the chocolate malts and roasted flavors that make the Rogue Chocolate Stout so good. Friend confirmed this. The biggest difference, however, is in the IPA glass. The IPA glass really accentuated the hoppy aromas that you look for in any IPA. Further, the head was delightfully light, contributing to a crisp, clean flavor appreciated in most IPAs. The floral aroma helped bring out the actual flavor profiles of the hops, rather than giving a basic bitterness that we all associate with hops.

The Verdict:

In all honesty – you could drink these beers from either of the glasses and you would still enjoy them. However, there is a clear difference in taste between the two glasses.  The IPA glass makes the most difference, as it truly highlights the flavors that us hopheads enjoy. Meanwhile, the stout glass also allows us to taste more of the malty undertones that make stouts so delicious. My only complaint – the thin bottom of both of these glasses makes me worry about holding it and warming the beer from the bottom up. Solution – hold it where it begins to get wider. Try these out, and at the least, start drinking your craft beer from a GLASS!

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