Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Culture Bière Glasses

Paris is, unquestionably, a wine town. Yes, the City of Lights has its beer bars (Au Trappiste is recommended) and even a good beer shop or two (La Cave à Bulles = excellent), but let's not kid ourselves – in Paris, as in just about all of France, they love their grape juice and it shows.

So it's nice to find a house of beer worship located right smack in the middle of the Champs Elysées: Culture Bière, a swanky, upscale suds joint/restaurant run by and featuring some of the lesser known brands of Heineken International. (That last detail might chafe the anticorporate, grassroots-oriented beer purists among us, and perhaps not unreasonably so, but let's acknowledge that such a sleek, well-designed and expensively located joint could only have been made possible thanks to deep pockets like Heineken's.)

The Culture Bière glasses, like the restaurant where they are put in service, are well-made and attractive. Two are seen here – there is also at least one additional design, a squatter version of the glass in the right-hand side of this photo.

These two glasses are elegantly shaped, with thick round stems atop solid circular feet. As you can see, the taller of the two glasses widens slightly toward the top, while the other tapers a bit. Both feature an etched version of the Culture Bière logo. (Elsewhere, the vertical lines are of progressively darker colors, to represent diversity among beer hues.)

Slender and attractive, these glasses are fine fits for lighter beers like Pilsner or, as in this example, Blonde Ale. For beers that offer up much more in the aroma department, I usually try to reach for something whose design is more conducive to swirling, gathering smells, and all that.

No, France may not be known as can't-miss destination for beer devotees, but hats off to Culture Bière for taking on no small challenge in bringing sincere beer evangelism to all those oenophiles in Paris, and for whipping up some sharp-looking glasses while they're at it.

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