Monday, March 19, 2012

You Need Glasses Mate

Friday was a day off, as I mentioned in my post that day. It was also the day that Whole Foods did a half price special on growler fills. Not wanting to get stuck in a queue I decided to get along early to fill a couple of my growlers with delights for the weekend, thus is was that I walked out with a couple of litres of Victory Prima Pils and Potter's Craft Cider. The Pils was bascially the best beer available, pretty much everything was "Belgian" or a beer with added "flavour" like apricot or cocoa, and Mrs Velkyal likes cider so I figured I's get her a treat, old romantic that I am.

I didn't originally have any special plans for the Pils, but whilst wandering around the shops yesterday I decided to do a taste comparison that I have been meaning to do for a while now, 1 beer, 6 glasses. From my cupboard I pulled an American pint glass, a nonic, a classic Chodovar Czech beer glass, a Chimay chalice, a snifter and my Lovibonds fluted half pint.


For some reason, people make a big song and dance about glassware, that certain types of glass are better for various beer styles, that beer should be served in the correctly branded glass and so on an so forth. Admittedly I am something of a glassware philistine, the only thing I object to is a frosted glass, it just shouldn't be done. Anyway, with an open mind and Mrs Velkyal saying that she thought the main difference would be in the aroma stakes, I spent a couple of hours emptying the growler into the various glasses in the pictures below and taking notes.







From a visual perspective the only variant in the 6 glasses was that the chalice didn't hold the head very well, the other 5 had nice rocky heads which lingered for the duration of drinking, but in the chalice it dissipated quickly.

As Mrs Velkyal had expected, the different glasses had an impact on the intensity of the aroma of the beer. In each glass, other again than the chalice, I could smell varying degrees of graininess, lemony citrus and grass, though it was most noticeable in the Lovibond's half pint and the Chodovar glasses. In terms of taste, there was hardly any noticeable difference between the glasses.

Purely on the basis of this experiment then, I would say that a slightly fluted glass, as both the Lovibond's and Chodovar glasses are is best suited to a German style pilsner, though I have to admit that in the context of drinking in a pub, I don't think the additional aroma would really be all that much of a big deal, and that is an important thing for me. When I am in the pub, playing pool, talking with friends and having a drink, I really don't care about identifying every trace of aroma, swirling my beer in a glass like some wine snob and pontificating on about traces of burnt gimp suit and strawberry, or whatever Jilly Goulden's latest taste sensation is.

Perhaps though a subtle, clean, crisp lager is the wrong beer for this kind of experiment? So I will re-hash it sometime with a nice stout, or maybe even an IPA such as the 100% Fuggle hopped one from St George Brewing. As it stands though I am still not convinced that different styles of glass make that much of a difference to the experience of drinking a beer, though as a marketing and brand tool they are superb.

4 comments:

  1. 100% Fuggles. I want one. I'd probably serve it in a nonic so as to be able to grip it firmly.

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  2. I have made ESB with only fuggles. I love the power of the single hop.

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  3. I have some really nice beer glasses but its rare that I dust them off, even if am tasting (what I expect to be) a really spectacular beer.

    To that end, I suspect I am impressed only by the increased brilliance of glasswork, and that taste considerations have passed me by.

    One point about the pics though - the beers dispensed do all seem to have massive heeds (vernacular, not typo). I think I'd have chilled said beer first and poured it cold, then let it warm up a tad.. (only a little with pils mind, am not mental)

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  4. wee beefy,

    the beer in question had been in the fridge for 48 hours before pouring and returned to the fridge between pourings.

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