Last week, glassware maker Spiegelau unveiled a new type of beer glass, designed specifically for IPAs and created in conjunction with Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada, large yet crafty breweries based in Delaware and Northern California.
There are plenty of local bars that remain diligent about serving fragrant Belgian-style beers in tulip-shaped glasses, or complex, powerful imperial stouts in a snifter. But a glass designed for the Northwest’s signature beer? This is something new.
The glass is designed to keep the head frothy and encourage the drinker to take in the hoppy aromas. Spiegelau says the ridges help aerate the beer, but it looks kind of like a goofy handle.
I asked Ian Roberts, owner of The Pine Box and Seattle Beer Week organizer, and Robyn Schumacher, a certified cicerone and keeper of the beer program at Marination Ma Kai, for their preliminary take on the glass, though neither of them have experienced one in person.
The Beer Bar Owner: Nay
I haven't physically seen the IPA glass but I do think it's a crock of shit. I do respect both of those breweries and understand that, like wine, different glasses are appropriate for different beers. IPAs are very much a traditional West Coast beer in my mind and I believe the pint glass still does the job it's meant to. The new glass is a gimmick like Sam Adams's "perfect beer glass" with its "turbulator." —Ian Roberts
The Cicerone: Maybe Yea?
I have to admit, I'm intrigued. I, for one, take a lot of pride in the American IPA style as I think it represents the U.S. craft beer industry (especially in the Northwest) really well...bold, flavorful, and hop-forward. Some might see the glass as a marketing trick, but if it does what it says it does, accentuate the aroma and flavor of an IPA, then I'm happy to keep a few in my glassware arsenal. At home, I do most of my beer tasting in wine glasses because I like the wide opening and thin glass. The new IPA glass clearly takes some inspiration from that design. All in all, even if you serve me a tasty IPA in a red Solo cup, I'm a happy girl. —Robyn Schumacher
You can decide for yourself in May, when these glasses hit the market. Two for $25, if you're into it.