It’s just not fair — every grape varietal and wine style under the sun has its own specific glass, but beer –no matter what the style– typically just gets sloshed unceremoniously into a standard pint glass. It’s a shame, really, because the right glass can have amazing effects on the flavor of a beer. Specific shapes can deliver the brew to different parts of your palate and accentuate flavors and aromas, but for some reason, specialized glassware for beer isn’t nearly as common (or diverse) as it is for wine. Thankfully, however, that’s slowly beginning to change.
Thanks largely to the craft beer revolution of the past decade, people are approaching beer in a different way, and glassmakers like Spiegelau are starting to experiment with new shapes, sizes, and configurations of drinkware for different varieties of beer. About a year ago, the company released a glass designed specifically for American “hop-forward” IPAs, and now –after months and months of careful testing– it’s back with a similar vessel for stouts.
Designed through a painstaking 9-month collaboration between Left Hand Brewing of Longmont, Colorado, and Rogue Ales of Newport, Oregon; the glass is crafted to accentuate the roasty malts, creamy mouthfeel, and chocolately, coffee-like notes in stouts.
The amount of research that went into the glass is absolutely mind-boggling. Spiegelau doesn’t mess around. Following the success of the IPA glass (which sold much better than expected), Spiegelau’s approached Eric Wallace, co-founder of Left Hand, and Brett Joyce, president of Rogue — two breweries that are defined by their multi-award-winning stouts.
After an initial group workshop in which the brewing teams from both Left Hand and Rogue tasted a huge range of stouts in 12 different existing Spiegelau glasses, the design team put together a matrix to record each group’s impressions of what worked and what didn’t. Armed with a this data, the Spiegelau delegation went back to Germany and made some prototypes, and then returned for a second round of testing.
Eventually the teams narrowed the range of glasses down to six different prototypes, and during the final round of independent taste tests, both breweries chose the same glass: Prototype C. With a sigh of relief, Spiegelau fired up a lake of molten glass, and put the world’s first stout-specific glass into production. We haven’t had a chance to try it for ourselves just yet, but judging by how impressed we were with the IPA glass, we’re fairly certain this glass will be aweseome.
You can pick up a pair of the glasses for about 25 bucks here.