Showing posts with label glassware. Show all posts
Showing posts with label glassware. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Glassware Stories

I don't really have an extensive branded glassware collection, and even less of an unbranded collection, though I am sure Mrs Velkyal would beg to differ and then regale you with stories of my obsessive care for said glasses. In some ways she is right, I am somewhat overly attached to my glasses, but each one has a back story, a link to a beery event or to the generosity of brewers or some such moment of nostalgia which makes me fond of them. I don't have any chalice style glasses for Belgian style ales as that would be largely pointless because I rarely drink Belgian beer, beyond the Trappists that is. Here then is the full, branded collection.

A motley bunch to be sure, a few Czechs, a couple of Brits, a German and an American.

The glass that features very regularly on Fuggled is of course my half pint, actually it is one of two glasses, and I think I most fussy about what gets done with this pair. When I lived in Prague, I wrote a couple of reviews of Lovibond's excellent beers that I had bought in the UK a while back, and the owner of the brewery, Jeff, very graciously sent me a couple of glasses, which I think are the most beautiful in my mini collection. When we moved over to the States, I was worried that these glasses wouldn't survive the journey, so I was very relieved when it came to unpacking boxes and there they were, good as new.

Chodovar is a family brewery in Western Bohemia that I have liked ever since I tried their Skální Le?ák at PK, first in the bottle and then on tap. This glass though I picked up in a pub on the other side of Prague, simply by asking how much I could pay them for it, and they said "take it", so I took it. The glass itself is pretty much like the vast majority of half litre beer glasses you get in the Czech Republic, and fits perfectly in the hand for swilling glass after glass of amber nectar.

I bought this hefty mug at the Slunce v Skle event hosted by Purkmistr back in 2008, on the day I had the pleasure of meeting, and getting royally rat arsed with Pivní Filosof for the first time. I also bought a delicate little goblet glass which I did all my beer tasting with that day, and which again survived the trip from Prague to Charlottesville, only for me to break it by missing the cupboard shelf by half an inch. Purkmistr also make a lovely weizen glass that I would love to get my hands on - so my Czech readers, get me a new goblet and a weizen glass, post them to the US (address will be provided by email) and I will send you the money to cover said purchases.

Beck's reminding you of a renowned craft brew pub in Dublin just sounds wrong, but it does. When Mrs Velkyal and I went to Ireland for my birthday back in 2008 we arranged to meet up with The Beer Nut and Barry, of Bitten Bullet fame, in the Bull and Castle. We drank plenty, had a good feed, and the manager was trying to get rid of these Beck's Vier glasses, so Mrs Velkyal said she wanted one, and I claimed it would never survive the flight back to Prague, I was wrong, as you can see. One thing I didn't realise with this glass is the laser etched bottom which extends the life of the head, something I still think is intrinsically wrong, hence I refuse to purchase a Sam Adams glass, despite it looking so fabulous.

The glass was a give away to celebrate their first anniversary back in November, and a nice glass it is too, though I think I will have to buy one of their goblets at some point in the future, just because they look so nice. My glass is another which is very close to my zythophilic heart, and again shows the generosity of the brewing world. You can't buy Everard's lovely ales in the US, which is damned shame in my world because I would love a pint or six of Tiger almost every Friday, but I enjoyed it in Oxford when I was last there, and had the pleasure of showing one of their brewers around several of Prague's best brewpubs a while back. The glass is another celebratory souvenir, but this time for the company's 160th anniversary, and Everard's were good enough to send one over to the US for me - such lovely people, who make such lovely beer!

I am hoping that I am not the only person who attaches memories to my glassware, in fact I am sure we all do it, hence the sepia tinged picture above, with the unbranded glasses chucked in for good measure. Of course, one should never look back too much, so I have a growing list of brewery glasses I want, but that would be telling!

Old Friends: Joseph's Brau PLZNR

I have to admit that there really are not that many things that I miss as a result of this pandemic. I am sure that comes as something of a ...