Should you be skeptical of the design of Spiegelau's new glass designed specifically for India pale ales, you may want to know that Ken Grossman was too.
The founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., who sat on a panel that chose the glass from about a dozen prototypes, admitted the glass looks "unusual."
"We sort of chuckled about it," Grossman said. "But we kept coming back to the fact that it really enhances the aroma."
And there you have the point of Spiegelau's IPA glass, which will be released May 1. Created in conjunction with Grossman and Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Brewery, the unlikely shape is designed to highlight not just an IPA's flavour, but its florid, piney, citrus-heavy aroma. When drinking an IPA, the relationship between aroma and flavour is important.
"Flavour is mainly aroma," Grossman said. "You drink what you smell."
While many beer glasses can be appropriate for an IPA -- classic American pint glasses need not apply -- Spiegelau's vice-president of sales in the U.S., Matt Rutkowski, believes he and his panel of craft beer all-stars have found the standard.
The shape of the glass, Rutkowski said, pours an ideal flow onto the palate for such flavourful beer: short of a gulp, but beyond a sip. Meanwhile, its oval-shaped bowl allows an IPA's pungency to coalesce in the nose, while the ridges along its stem agitate the beer with each drink, releasing added aroma and flavour.
The glass is also part of Rutkowski's agenda to demonize the American pint glass, which he compared to "drinking from a bucket" with its thick, straight sides and wide mouth.
The bottom of the Spiegelau glass truly re-energizes the beer, and keeps each sip fresh until the last.
However, the difference between the IPA glass and other quality glassware seemed slight.
Branded versions of Spiegelau's IPA glass are available for $9 though the Sierra Nevada (sierranevada.com) and Dogfish Head (dogfish.com) websites. On May 1, unbranded versions will be available in $25 two-packs from Spiegelau (spiegelauusa.com) and U.S.-based retailers including Bloomingdale's, Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel.
-- Chicago Tribune