The pint glass, the glass that most bars will serve you a beer in. But it is for their benefit, not yours. They usually are made of thick glass so that they don’t break easily, and their shape makes them good for stacking. But they don’t do much to keep your beer cold, or enhance the aroma when you drink. We all probably have a couple novelty pint glasses that we’ve picked up over time, and it is better to drink your beer out of that as opposed to straight from the bottle.
Before I knew about the concept of proper glassware, the pint glass was my glassware of choice. About 6 years ago I got a new tulip glass from The Bruery in Placentia, CA and since then, that has been my go to glass. The shape of the glass helped with the aroma and the glass itself was much thinner. I felt like a little bit of a beer snob when I’d make a point to drink out of this glass when I was at home, but I could tell that this gave a much better beer drinking experience than a pint glass did. For some beers, this is the best glass to use, but most of the beers that I drink are big hoppy IPAs, and out in the craft beer world there was a better choice of glaswware for me to be using.
It wasn’t until Valentine’s Day two years ago that I truly learned about the benefits of proper glassware when it comes to hop forward IPAs. My wife got me a set of Spiegelau IPA glasses. Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head teamed up to work on the perfect glass for an IPA and this was the result. I chose a Lagunitas Sucks Double IPA to try out the glasses. The aroma was much stronger due to the smaller opening of the glass. This smaller opening is the perfect size to get a good sip and keep all of the aromatic characters in the glass ready for you to take in with each sip. The glass is really thin, and this would usually make me fear breaking it, but the Bruery glass that I usually use is also pretty thin so I am used to washing it carefully.
The shape of the glass not only helps with the aroma, but the ridges on the bottom and the way the glass narrows towards the middle helps to aerate the beer and keep it carbonated when you are drinking. You will notice this when you are halfway though the beer and there is a good amount of head on the beer after each sip. There is also a tiny etching in the bottom of the glass that helps produce bubbles as the beer hits the surface.
I did do a side by side test with the IPA glass and the Tulip glass. I used 12oz cans of Golden Road Brewing’s Point the Way IPA. I did notice that the aroma was stronger with the IPA glass, and it did stay carbonated longer. I didn’t notice much difference in the temperature of the beer over time, but as I stated earlier, both of these glasses have thin walls so that is probably the reason. I didn’t even compare the IPA glass against a pint glass because I already have come to the conclusion that the tulip glass is a superior glass, so that is why I thought the tulip glass was a better benchmark to test against.
You can get a Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head logoed glass from each brewery, or you can order a set of 6 plain ones through Amazon for just under $60. I have two at home, and that is enough for myself, but the bigger set would be nice to have when friends are over enjoying IPAs. I believe that if you enjoy IPAs you will notice a difference in your beer if you use these glasses.