Monday, April 21, 2008

The New Belgium Glass

If I had to name, right now, the most versatile beer glass I've encountered, it would have to be this reliable friend of mine from New Belgium Brewing Company.

Designed by Germany's Rastal (check out this page for more of their designs), this 0.4-liter bundle of joy enjoys a regular place in this blogger's rotation, because it's just so dang flexible.

Its height and width are in perfect proportions -- not as squat as a snifter, not as lean as the tulip pint, or the Dogfish Head glass, say. The bottom of the bowl continues almost seamlessly into a lovely stem atop a wide, flat base.

By virtue of its design, this glass gathers aromas and head efficiently inside the mouth, and its volume is ample enough to allow a strong swirl, not to mention a generous serving.

As you can see, the New Belgium Glass bears the bicycle logo of Fat Tire, New Belgium's flagship beer and biggest seller. That particular beer, an amber ale with a toasty, biscuity nose, wouldn't be a bad choice for this glass, of course, but she can handle beers that pack a little more wallop in the aroma (and flavor) department.

Certainly, plenty of beer styles have their own unique glasses, many of which look little like the New Belgium glass. Still, few beers would be ill-served by this vessel's design. As an everyday, go-to glass, I like it for Pale Ales, IPAs, Porters... really, the list can be quite comprehensive. This glass can even stand up to some higher-gravity styles. How about Bock or Saison? Double IPA? The stronger you get, of course, the more you may want to reach for something along the lines of a snifter, but lacking that ... well, you almost can't go wrong with this here beauty.

Update: Perhaps taking a cue from the Boston Beer Co., who not long ago began touting the drinking benefits of their new Sam Adams glass, New Belgium is now making a case for their own fine glass as the beer-lover's best friend. You'll note the similarities between BBC's and NB's respective arguments for their glasses. On top of the attributes I've already gushed about above, New Belgium's case appears bolstered by improvements they've made to the glass: a beaded rim, interior etching for carbonation release, and sturdier construction (this is good news – I've broken one of the old ones, myself). I have to give props to Colorado beer blogger Chipper Dave at Fermentedly Challenged, where I caught a whiff of this item.


Andy said...

Finding this post makes me so happy! I love this glass! Though, in fact, my elation is bittersweet: I used to have two of these glasses (found haphazardly and purchased instantly at a local grocery store), but one has since met an untimely (and purely accidental) demise. Of course one good beer glass is better than no good beer glass, but one does like to share a good brew, no? Do you happen to know where this particular beer glass can be found and purchased? I had no luck from the Rastal site.

Beerman said...

Andy, I feel your pain. I once had two of these, as well. And then this happened: I have a magnetized drip tray on my kegerator. One night (after a few beers) I decided (stupidly) to see if the drip tray could support a (full) New Belgium glass. Well, surprise, it couldn't. So dumb.

At one time, these glasses were available for sale on the New Belgium Web site. It looks now as if you can get the same shape, but with a slightly design, here.

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