Two of the larger, and frankly among the best, craft brewers in the U.S. have worked in unison with German glass manufacturer Spiegelau to create a special glass specifically made for I.P.A., or India Pale Ale, style beers. Chico, Calif. based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. joined Milton, Del. based Dogfish Head Brewing on this project.
The team got together over several occasions and worked through hundreds of design and tasting workshops. They ultimately came up with a design narrow and tapered on the bottom with the inside laser etched to enhance carbonation and head retention. The top is bowl shaped to enhance those big hop aromas with wave like ridges to aerate the beer. The walls are also thin and wide, in classic Spiegelau fashion, to maintain temperature. The selection, during a blind taste test, was unanimous.
Dogfish Head pulled distribution out of Tennessee due to our high beer taxes. Refer to my recent post for more information on that issue. But they are known for the great I.P.A.’s such as the 60 Minute, and also the bigger 90 Minute and 120 Minute. The number in the name refers to amount of time hops are continuously added to the boil, or brewing process. The longer, the bigger. The 120 is a monster at 18 percent a.b.v. Sam Calagione, owner and founder, says “I’ve been a long time believer in the importance of using quality glassware to enhance the enjoyment of quality craft beer.”
Sierra Nevada is basically known as the brewery that introduced America to craft beer. While not the first by far, it certainly became the biggest and most widely distributed through the ‘80s and ‘90s. Their flagship Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is likely to be the first I.P.A. enjoyed by many a craft beer enthusiast today. Ken Grossman, founder/owner, says “the shape of the glass has a lot to do with how it brings aroma to your nose. While many have become accustomed to the taste of their Pale Ale as the standard, they make outstanding, bigger pale ales such as Torpedo, Celebration, and Ruthless Rye I.P.A.
Spiegelau is a maker of fine glassware and traces it’s roots to 1521. They have access to an incredibly pure source of raw quartz silica in Spiegelau, Germany. Their highly refined processing makes a glass that is 75 percent smoother, under a microscope of course, than a typical, standard pint glass. The imperfections, and microscopic roughness, of a typical pint glass actually trap flavor and aroma characteristics of a quality craft beer.
The glasses are available online, but if you want a chance to actually taste what a remarkable difference a quality glass makes in the taste of beer, stop by our local Yazoo Taproom. They serve all their beer in Spiegelau glasses, Wednesday through Friday. They use the typical pint glasses on Saturday due to crowd size.
They had a tasting comparison event last March during Nashville Craft Beer Week. A representative was there from Spiegelau where four different beers were sampled side by side in the different glasses. The taste difference was amazing!
See you at the pub. Cheers!